Derek Boogaard scored two goals in 277 career games with the Minnesota Wild. And yet, he will go down as one of the most beloved players to have ever touched the Minnesota Wild organization. Perhaps it was because people in the State of Hockey saw a little bit of themselves in the man they called “Boogey.” Of course, most of us didn’t measure 6-foot-7, or weigh 265 pounds or possess the ability to win a fight against a lamb, let alone an NHL enforcer.
But it was the qualities that Boogaard possessed that we saw, or wanted to see in ourselves. He beat all odds to achieve his dream of becoming an NHL player. He cared about his friends, and about kids. He rushed to the defense of every player wearing the same color jersey. He made people feel good when they came into contact with him.
These were the reasons Boogaard’s jersey was a best-seller in the Hockey Lodge. These were the reasons Xcel Energy Center filled with “Booooooos” every time he hopped the boards. The most feared player the Wild has ever had is no doubt the most popular player the team has ever had.
When his family, friends and fans lost him this past May, we were all shocked and saddened. While the pain is still there, the time has come to celebrate Derek Boogaard and everything he meant to this team, and this state. When you watch the tribute video before the game and see his family on the ice, it’s more than okay to shed a tear. But take a close look at the photos in the video, and notice how happy the people with Derek were to be near him.
Although he’s no longer with us, we’ll never forget how he made us feel.
Wild vs. Flames will be broadcast locally in high definition on Fox Sports North with a start time at 5:00 PM. The game can be heard on KFAN 100.3 FM or online at Wild.com.
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Get to the arena and be in your seats long before the puck drops tonight. You will not want to miss the special ceremony dedicated to "Boogey."
The Flames are coming off a 2-0 shutout at the hands of Brian Elliott and the St. Louis Blues on Friday. It was the third time this season that the Flames have been blanked. Of course, Niklas Backstrom provided one of those bagels in a 41-save effort back on November 8.
Once again, the Wild was able to shut down Jarome Iginla, the top goal scorer all time against Minnesota with 31. Lately, that’s been a trend. In the last 20 meetings between the clubs, Iginla has scored just four goals and three of them came in one game on March 7, 2010.
While Friday’s game won’t go down as the best of the season for Devin Setoguchi, who was a minus-3, he did keep his offensive touch on display. Setoguchi scored in the first period, giving him three goals in the last five games, and four overall points in that span.
Head Coach Mike Yeo is giving his team the chance to watch the Boogaard tribute video before his team heads out on the ice. It will give the players a way to prepare themselves for what is sure to be a tear-jerking ceremony.
Still, the Wild’s emotions will be high at the start of this one. And that’s one thing the team is looking for anyway after a slow start to Friday’s 5-2 loss to Edmonton.
Wild players are professionals, but they’re also human, and several of them were very close to Boogaard. Cal Clutterbuck, Backstrom, Mikko Koivu, Josh Harding, Nick Schultz and Pierre-Marc Bouchard were all long-time teammates of the Wild tough guy. You can be sure they will be playing or watching this game with many thoughts of their former protector in their heads.
The lines are expected to remain intact from Friday’s game: