Tragic news emerged last night that New York Rangers enforcer Derek Boogaard was found dead in his Minneapolis apartment. Just 28 years old, Boogaard spent most of his career with the Wild before signing with the Rangers. The cause of death has not yet been made available. "The Boogeyman" was one of the most feared fighters in the league, and even most teams with established enforcers (like the Flyers' Jody Shelley) had no answer for his combination of size (6'8, 257) and pugilism.
The 2010-2011 season was Boogaard's first with the Rangers, with three remaining on his contract. His season was cut short after he suffered a concussion in a December fight with Matt Carkner of the Ottawa Senators. He was unable to resume skating for three months, according to the New York Daily News.
With no word yet released on what caused Boogaard's death, it's obviously too early to know whether it had anything to do with his head injury. Whatever the cause, the news of Boogaard's passing is simply terrible. This is one of those times when the name on the back of the jersey is far more important than the crest on the front. Fans and franchises from every hockey town will mourn the loss of one of their own.
We only knew Boogaard when his gloves were strewn around the ice. Here's a very personal look at what it was like to know him much better.
Here's one last look at how tough it was to face this guy.
Win or lose, I was hoping to see a rematch at second base on January 2. Rest in peace.