I have to be honest, until his tragic death Friday night, I had no idea how Minnesota fans felt about Derek Boogaard. We as Ranger fans didn't really know much about him, and let's be honest, his time in New York can probably best be described as "tumultuous", and I'm not sure that's even the right word.
Wild fans, and hockey fans in general have been unbelievably classy the last few days, from moments of silence before the games over the weekend, to tweets, to posts right here on this site. When hockey fans are at their best, they are the best in sports.
They held a memorial service yesterday at the Xcel Center in Minnesota for Derek, and Mike Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune has the story. For those of you that have been reading Mike's stuff the last few days, you can tell he was quite fond of Boogaard, and this has hit him hard. I've reached out to Mike to see if he wants to come on the radio show at some point and talk about it, and once he works out his schedule he said he will come on.
I'm sure by now you have heard Boogaard's family has generously decided to donate his brain to science.
By now I'm sure you also know that Derek had been receiving counseling in the NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse & Behavioral Health Program in the weeks prior to his death. I think it was irresponsible to release that information to the public at this point, before the autopsy is done and we know the true cause of death. All releasing that information did was lead to a weekend of speculation on the internet and that God-forsaken Twitter. But the New York Post would never let a little tact and compassion get in the way of a newspaper sale.
Tonight, Eddie and I are doing an episode of Blueshirt Banter Radio at 8:30 PM EST, and we will be joined by our friend Russ Cohen. Russ knew Boogaard well, and will be sharing his thoughts on a player and man that Ranger fans didn't really get to know until he passed away tragically.