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On-ice chatter is worth a chuckle

  • Article by: Michael Russo
  • Star Tribune
  • November 17, 2007 - 10:56 AM

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA - Wild heavyweight Derek Boogaard thinks fans would enjoy themselves more if he wore a microphone during games.

It certainly would be comedic, like the incident with Edmonton's Zach Stortini on Thursday night. Stortini wanted to fight after a faceoff, but Boogaard was unwilling even after Stortini dropped his gloves.

"We're up 1-0 in Edmonton, there's no reason to give the crowd any excitement, but he was all jittery and ready to go," Boogaard said, laughing.

Later, Stortini skated toward Boogaard, who subtly jutted out his stick. The blade landed in Stortini's gut, although he plummeted to the ice trying to draw a spearing penalty.

"He embellished it," Boogaard said, laughing. "As he was getting up, he screamed, 'I asked you to fight me.' I was trying not to laugh."

Then, as the third period was starting, Boogaard screamed into the Oilers' bench.

"He yelled again, 'I asked you to fight me,' " Boogaard said. "I just looked at him and said, 'I'm not even going to talk to you, but I'm just telling your teammates, the next time we get on together, I'll beat the snot out of you.' "

Incidentally, an Internet campaign has begun to, believe it or not, send Boogaard to the All-Star Game in Atlanta (www.vote4boogey.com).

Asked if he knew of it, Boogaard said, "No, but that's awesome."

Etc.

• Defenseman Petteri Nummelin was scratched as Keith Carney returned to the lineup. Matt Foy was scratched, too. Harding started. Defenseman Sean Hill's suspension for testing positive for steroids has officially ended.

• Whatever nerves backup Josh Harding had when he replaced Niklas Backstrom in Edmonton with a 3-2 lead in the third were eased when Marian Gaborik set up Mark Parrish 57 seconds into the third.

"It definitely made me feel more comfortable and relaxed," Harding said.

Michael Russo • mrusso@startribune.com

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