Derek Boogaard died due to toxic mixture of alcohol, oxycodone


The hockey world mourned the death of New York Rangers enforcer Derek Boogaard last Friday, whose passing blindsided people because he was just 28 years old. There was some speculation that an extensive history of concussions factored into his death, but it appears that was not the case. Michael Russo reports that Boogaard died from a toxic mixture of alcohol and oxycodone. (Oxycodone is a narcotic substance often used as a pain-killer for moderate to severe symptoms.)

It’s a sad story, no doubt, but hopefully fans will remember Boogaard for his charitable efforts and sense of humor rather than the way he died.

If you’d like to read more about Boogaard, here’s a collection of PHT content on the feared fighter.

Update: Boogaard’s family released the following statement through the NHL Players Association.

“We would like to express our appreciation for the outpouring of love and support for our family during this difficult period as we grieve the loss of Derek – our son and brother.   We are deeply saddened by this unimaginable loss, but we are grateful for the expression of support that has given us strength as we go through this tragic time.

It is very comforting for our family to know that, while Derek’s life was far too short, he had a great impact on many people who he came into contact with.  We are proud that Derek was able to live his boyhood dream to play in the National Hockey League. We are even more proud of the fact that Derek was dedicated to making a difference in his adopted communities of Minnesota and New York City, through his countless hours of charitable work.

Earlier today, we received the results of Derek’s toxicology report at the time of his accidental death.  After repeated courageous attempts at rehabilitation and with the full support of the New York Rangers, the NHLPA, and the NHL, Derek had been showing tremendous improvement but was ultimately unable to beat this opponent.  While he played and lived with pain for many years, his passion for the game, his teammates, and his community work was unstoppable.

Our family would like to like to thank the New York Rangers, the Minnesota Wild, the National Hockey League Players’ Association, and the National Hockey League for supporting Derek’s continued efforts in his battle.

Derek will be greatly missed and will never be forgotten by his fans, friends, and teammates, and especially by us – his family. We respectfully ask for continued privacy as we grieve the loss of Derek.”

Lightning lament life as a .500 team

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The Tampa Bay Lightning have plenty of time to rise above mediocrity, yet it still must be deserving to finish at .500 for two straight months.

After last night’s 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders, that’s exactly where they find themselves:

Record at the end of October: 5-5-2

Record at the end of November: 11-11-3

As of this writing, the Lightning found themselves on the outside looking in at the playoff picture. It all stands as a pretty tough thing for the reigning Eastern Conference champs to swallow.

The uncomfortable-yet-vital question is: can the Lightning break out of this funk?

Looking at their schedule, it won’t be easy, at least not right away.

They crawl through California during a three-game road trip to start December, and they also face six of eight on the road from Dec. 2 – 18.

The Lightning soak up home dates to finish 2015 after that, but what damage will be done by then?

Frankly, the Bolts will need to dig deep to break this pattern. If nothing else, they’ve fought with their backs against the wall before.

Dubinsky won’t change, and he won’t go easy on Crosby


Sometimes a suspension will shame a player, or at least inspire him to change the way he plays.

That apparently won’t happen regarding Brandon Dubinsky‘s one-game timeout session for cross-checking Sidney Crosby.

Dubinsky told Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch that he won’t alter his style, whether it’s against Crosby or someone else.

“Nope,” Dubinsky said. “You know, I’ve played the same way my whole career and I’m not going to change. The next time I have an opportunity to play (Crosby), I’m going to play him hard.”

In case you’re wondering, that next opportunity comes on Dec. 21 in Pittsburgh, assuming that both players are healthy and not suspended.

One can understand Dubinsky’s perspective, although such honesty would be that much more interesting if there’s another incident with Crosby. His initial reaction to the hit was interestingly candid, admitting that his “stick rode up” on his adversary.

Would that stance – which, from a harsher view, might seem flippant to Dubinsky’s critics – open the door for a bigger future bit of a discipline?

Maybe, maybe not … but at least his comments aren’t as inflammatory as what John Tortorella said (at least on the record).

Bad news for Boedker: Coyotes won’t face Sens again in 2015-16


Sorry Mikkel Boedker, you won’t get to face the Ottawa Senators again this season.

OK, it could happen if the speedster is traded from the Arizona Coyotes. He could also face the Senators in the unlikely instance that the two teams fight it out in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.

Beyond those two possibilities, Saturday night was it, and Boedker must have been licking his chops much like an actual coyote.

For the second straight game, Boedker managed a hat trick against the Senators, helping Arizona beat Ottawa 4-3 last night. His third tally stood as the game-winner in a 4-3 victory.

You can watch all three goals in the video above.

It’s oddly fitting that Boedker has three goals this season … against teams not named the Ottawa Senators.

Hey, Tortorella called the Penguins whiners again

John Tortorella

Don’t forget, the Blue Jackets – Penguins rivalry isn’t just about the bitterness between Sidney Crosby and Brandon Dubinsky; John Tortorella can fuel the fire, too.

Torts must not have been happy about the one-game suspension that Dubinsky received for cross-checking Crosby, as he channeled his vintage self in essentially calling the Penguins a bunch of whiners.

You can see from this glorious Sportsnet video, Tortorella said: “Pittsburgh whines enough for the whole league.”

(He also said the Blue Jackets weren’t going to whine by … whining. Good stuff.)

As Puck Daddy notes, this isn’t the first time Torts claimed that the Penguins are whiners.

Both the Blue Jackets and Penguins lost their games on Saturday, but clearly some eyes and ears were still focused on their last confrontation.

In case you’re wondering, the two teams next face off in Pittsburgh on Dec. 21.