Derek Boogaard and the NHL’s cone of silence (5×8 – 5/13/13)

Boogaard family sues NHL, return of vinyl, the people on the street, more on the ice attacks, and another space odyssey.

I will be live-blogging today’s floor debate at the Minnesota Senate on the same-sex marriage bill. Please join us in this spot and offer your commentary and analysis.

Here’s the Monday Morning Rouser:


When the New York Times did its excellent expose on how former Minnesota Wild enforcer Derek Boogaard suffered severe head trauma and got addicted to painkillers, it cast light on the National Hockey League enforcer — why we gleefully cheer their fights on the ice, and why the teams in the league patch them up and send them back out.

At the time, the Minnesota Wild had nothing to say about their possible role in Boogard’s death.

That might have to change. Boogaard’s family is suing the league, the New York Times reports.

While this Boogaard lawsuit is broadly aimed at the N.H.L., it details the care that Boogaard received from specific team doctors of the Rangers and the Minnesota Wild, and the co-directors and a primary counselor of the league’s Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program, which oversaw Boogaard’s care after he entered rehabilitation while playing for the Wild in September 2009.

In July 2010, after five seasons with the Wild, Boogaard signed a four-year, $6.5 million contract with the Rangers. His last game was on Dec. 9, 2010, when Boogaard sustained a concussion — one of dozens, the family believes — during a fight in Ottawa.

The next April, after stumbling on the ice during a Rangers workout, Boogaard was sent to drug rehabilitation a second time. It was during that stint that he was granted two extended, unsupervised recesses. He died in his Minneapolis apartment on the first night of his second leave.

The lawsuit notes that Boogaard played in 277 N.H.L. games over six seasons and scored three goals. He fought at least 66 times on the ice and, according to the suit, “was provided copious amounts of prescription pain medications, sleeping pills, and painkiller injections by N.H.L. teams’ physicians, dentists, trainers and staff” to combat the injuries and pain he endured.

In just one season with the Wild, 2008-2009, a dozen doctors prescribed 1,021 pills, the lawsuit says.

Asked about the lawsuit, a Minnesota Wild spokesperson declined comment.


Take note, whippersnappers: For the fifth consecutive year, more vinyl record albums were sold than the year before. They’re back, baby!

The St. Cloud Times reports on a man who had a sale of vinyl on Saturday, and people lined up to shop.

“When CDs came along, I thought they were cool and everything, but they just didn’t feel like the real artifact,” Tom Dehler told the paper. “I think when MP3s came out, that really dominated. Obviously, iTunes has become the world’s biggest record … I think there’s a whole generation of people that are missing the cover art and the liner notes. (Things that) when you see them you think, ‘Wow, this is really cool.’ ”


alvin.jpg This is Alvin, a person on the streets in Canada with occasional run-ins with the police. So when he died recently, a police officer penned a eulogy.

Many other officers kept an eye on Alvin over the years and would usually end up giving him parts of their lunch, cigarettes, toques or mittens (which he would always lose), and usually whatever spare pocket change we had. I knew Alvin was continually counting his money as he would ask for some random denomination such as 63 cents. Funny enough, one day he asked my former partner Cst. Robbie Taylor for 63 cents and when Robbie reached in his pocket, he had exactly that amount and graciously gave it to Alvin.

Alvin was famous for losing his glasses. Quite often we would see him in the downtown area with no glasses on and he would usually tell me that he got into a fight. I knew better, knowing that he likely either just lost them or that they broke when he took a fall. I usually told him to come to the station and I would see if I could find him a new pair.

There are boxes of donated glasses at the station and whenever Alvin ‘lost’ his, I would go grab a few pairs, a newspaper and then do a reading test with him till he could find a pair that worked. If possible, I would set him up with an old pair of sunglasses as well. He was always pretty excited about those.

(h/t: Ali Lozoff)

Related: The trouble with Alvin


Those videos (available here) of the ice going ashore at Lake Mille Lacs were absolutely fascinating, but nowhere near as compelling as what was going on north of Minnesota. At Dauphin Lake in Manitoba, a similar condition destroyed homes. (h/t: Paul Weimer)

“You know you’ve got cement, concrete blocks, and steel and the ice goes through it like its just a toothpick,” a homeowners told the CBC. “It just shows the power. There is nothing you can do, you just get out of the way and just watch.”

Meanwhile, back up at Mille Lacs, yesterday’s satellite pass shows there’s still plenty of ice on the lake.



The world’s coolest astronaut — Cmdr. Chris Hadfield — returns to earth today. Before he left command of the space station, he created space’s first music video.

Bonus I: The controversy surrounding pink bats used in Major League Baseball yesterday shows the usual problem when big money meets the display of big-business charity.

Bonus II: Each year, Dorset, MN., pulls the name of its next mayor out of a hat. Meet the 4-year old mayor.


Same-sex couples who’ve been together for years will soon have the option of getting married if the Minnesota Senate, as expected, passes legislation today legalizing same-sex marriage and recognizing out-of-state marriages.

Today’s Question: How would your life change if same-sex marriage passes in Minnesota?


Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (Rebroadcast)

Second hour: Ken Burns, filmmaker. (Rebroadcast)

Third hour: As the Senate prepares to take up gay marriage, we’ll hear from local and national voices on the historic vote.

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): Living a Low-Carbon Life” a panel discussion from the Commonwealth Club.

Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) – TBA

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Grand plans to rescue Detroit’s industrial economy have come and gone. Now, some social entrepreneurs are thinking small. They’re filling an empty warehouse with start-up companies. And those businesses are filling with local employees. NPR reports on a small-scale comeback for Detroit.

  • Chuck

    Bonus I, pink MLB merchandise. Sad to say, such marketing shenanigans are so common these days that I never gave it a second thought that Louisville Slugger had an exclusive right to distribute Susan G. Komen pink bats with a logo. Thanks for linking to the story by outraged blogger Paul Lukas. It’s a needed reminder about how out of hand all this branding and copyrighting has become, and how ubiquitous. Conventional wisdom says to follow the money, and sadly, that is almost always the case.

  • TJSwift
  • Bob Collins

    I figure I’m pretty much responsible for *my* marriage and so far it’s been (almost) 31 years.

    For me, THIS is the institution of marriage and no one has adequately explained to me why what someone else thinks about other people’s marriages should matter to me.

    I mean, sure, it’s wonderful that some woman I never heard of thinks the institution of marriage shouldn’t exist.

    But, why should I care what she or anyone else thinks again?

  • TJSwift

    “..why should I care what she or anyone else thinks again?”

    Can’t say that way of thinking isn’t becoming “mainstream” these days, Bob. Fact is, it now applies to the core of that which used to define us as human beings.

    Kermit Gosnell & his ilk weren’t born soul-less shells, and neither were the women that did business with him.

    Who needs a mother and father when such a village eagerly awaits the task of raising our kids for us.

  • BJ

    Long before gay marriage was a major political issue what marriage and parenthood mean has changed. It has changed for thousands of years and will not stop here.

  • MN123

    My marriage of nearly 34 years will not speciically be effected by the marriage equality bill. But my friends, family members and co-workers who have up until now not been able to have the benefits and support of marriage will now be able to join my husband and I in being married.

    There is a camaraderie amongst married couples. There is the support of other couples as children are being raised, grandchildren are added to the family, and the other joys and pain of life as a married couple/family. I look forward to many upcoming marriages within our circle of family and friends. Expanding the love and support of marriage to those indviduals makes my husband and I appreciate even more our love, marriage and family life.

    Huh. Maybe our marriage is going to be impacted by this legislation after all. And all to the good.

  • Bob Collins

    // it now applies to the core of that which used to define us as human beings.

    that brings up a fascinating question. What defines us as “human beings.”

    But answer it on your own. What defines you all as *a* human being?

  • Chuck

    The ability even to have a conversation about what it means to be human is a mark of being human. In other words, self-awareness. Marriage per se does not define me as a human being, nor does any particular definition of marriage. But the ability to consider how marrige relates to being human is a mark of humanity. Seems kind of circular when I see it in print, but hopefully what I mean comes through the circularity.

  • TJSwift

    I have to admit that I hadn’t heard of Masha Gessen before her YouTube confession went viral, Bob.

    She’s a writer and “gay activist” who is quite prominent among radical circles in the US and Russia, which I find absolutely fascinating, given that Stalin invented the tactic of systematically destroying families and religion then filling the void with the Communist Party.

    …One might have thought they’d had enough of that kind of thing.

  • Bob Collins

    I’ve never head of her… but, then again, I pay almost no attention to popular culture cult leaders.

    I think it’s one of the joys of reaching senior citizenship, you begin to realize that when you’ve got less time left on the planet than the length of time it takes a kindergartener to graduate from high school, a lot of stuff is more trivia than relevance.

    Especially when some kid who doesn’t yet know what he/she/it doesn’t know does the preaching.

  • I got a copy of the Boogaard lawsuit last night. It’s a pretty startling read – important for all those who will instinctively respond by saying his death was his own fault. Clearly he made choices. But does the NHL and it’s parade of doctors and trainers have responsibility?