Derek Boogaard’s tragic death due to a drug overdose was one that shocked most fans. For his family, they demanded answers to find out how their son managed to run into so many problems with painkillers.
Derek’s father Len, a 30-year member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, as John Branch of the New York Times shares, found that his issues came from how easily he obtained drugs and how Boogaard’s long-term effects from prior abuse plagued him while in New York.
In a six-month stretch from October 2008 to April 2009, while playing 51 games, Boogaard received at least 25 prescriptions for the painkillers hydrocodone or oxycodone, a total of 622 pills, from 10 doctors — eight team doctors of the Wild, an oral surgeon in Minneapolis and a doctor for another NHL team.
Len Boogaard also notes that while with the Rangers, the team was told about Boogaard’s troubled past with narcotics but managed to prescribe hydrocodone for him to deal with pain stemming from dental work after getting re-injured in fights. Doctors also gave him numerous prescriptions for Ambien despite his addiction to sleeping pills in the past.
It’s an extensive and sad story to read and one that highlights how dangerous addiction can be, especially when it’s being enhanced by doctors trying to help someone get better.
The Los Angeles Kings and Mike Richards may be nearing a settlement in their dispute over Richards’ terminated contract, TSN’s Bob McKenzie is reporting.
You can read the report for all the details, but we’re sure curious about this part:
If a settlement is reached, there’s no word yet on what salary cap penalties the Kings would still face. There’s bound to be something, but not likely as onerous as the full value of Richards’ contract, which carries with it a cap hit of $5.75 million. If there’s a settlement, Richards would undoubtedly become a free agent though there’s no telling at this point what monies he would be entitled to from the Kings in a settlement.
The issue here is precedent, and what this case could set. The NHL and NHLPA can’t allow teams to escape onerous contracts through a back door, and many are adamant that that’s what the Kings were attempting to do in Richards’ case.
The NHL wants to take an educational approach — not a punitive one — to deter its players from using illicit drugs like cocaine.
“My interest is not to go around punishing people,” Bettman told Sportsnet today.
“My interest is getting players to understand the consequences of doing something that could jeopardize this great, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they’ve been given, to play in the NHL.”
While some players have expressed surprise at hearing that cocaine use is growing, the anecdotal evidence of substance abuse has been very much in the news, from Jarret Stoll‘s arrest to Mike Richards’ arrest to, more recently, Zack Kassian‘s placement in the NHL/NHLPA’s treatment program.
“We don’t have the unilateral right to do things here. We need the consent of the Players’ Association,” Bettman said. “It’s not about punishment. It’s about making sure we get it to stop.”
Related: Cocaine in the NHL: A concern, but not a crisis?