Speaking of Heavyweights

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derek boogaard

Derek Boogaard: On-Ice Criminal?

Derek Boogaard grabbed the spotlight last night for this dangerous knee-on-knee hit on Edmonton’s Ryan Jones. It’s sparked a little debate about goonism and the NHL’s stance on discipline when it comes to actions like these. David Staples in the Edmonton Journal suggests “Boogie” has gotten off light in other instances of “illegal, on-ice violence” citing incidents in which he hurt Brandon Prust and Ales Hemsky.

Granted, Staples is writing from an Edmonton perspective and seems to take offenses against the Oilers and their Alberta brethren quite personally but there’s also something to be said about the dangerous nature of what Boogaard does. He’s so huge, so powerful and so feared it’s almost like he has a license to anything he wants out there. He could have easily ended Jones‘ career with that hit and it looked quite deliberate and quite illegal.

You notice, however, that not a single Oiler steps up to challenge Boogaard after that, something that might happen in an instant if it was any other player. But guys need to think twice because Boogaard can kill people with his hands.

It begs a question that I’ll need to talk about in depth at some point. Have NHL enforcers become too big and strong for their own good? Orr, Boogaard. These are people with dangerous hands.

Meanwhile, the NHL needs to step in with a little discipline here, I think.

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Update: Suspension has come down. Two games, which is not going to make folks complaining that Boogaard gets off light very happy. Of course, if Jones’ injury had been worse, you know he’d have gotten more games. That’s the most absurd aspect of NHL discipline, they punish the end result, not the intent. You could argue it doesn’t matter whether or not Jones got knocked out for the season just that he easily could have.

And for that, Boogaard deserves more.

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