Jim Souhan: Tough guy becomes series-saving distraction

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 18, 2007 - 12:15 AM

Griping turned to grinning after big Derek Boogaard chiseled out the space that freed the Wild to maneuver, and even helped set up a goal.

Derek Boogaard sandwiched
hide

Derek Boogaard was sandwiched between the Ducks' Chris Pronger (25) and Kent Huskins (40) while awaiting a shot in front of Ducks' goalie Ilya Bryzgalov in the third period.

Photo: Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

For a guy who missed the last game with the flu, who's far better at throwing down gloves than lighting lamps, Derek Boogaard became a strangely central figure in this suddenly interesting playoff series.

Tuesday night, Boogaard helped produce the first goal of the Wild's season-sustaining 4-1 victory over Anaheim, and he threatened to have the last word on the fight that could light up this series like a stray cigarette in a California forest.

Boogaard watched from the bench as Anaheim's Brad May sucker-punched Wild pacifist Kim Johnsson, leaving Johnsson face-down on the ice. Boogaard then challenged to a fight everyone who ever lived in Orange County, including the Rally Monkey and a certain Ducks winger of similarly stunted evolution.

"Brad May's supposed to be a tough guy, and everybody sits there and says he's one of the toughest guys in the league," Boogaard said. "I don't think tough guys go around suckering guys who don't fight. He thinks he deserves respect, and he does stuff like that. He's going to get no respect from now on, if he even plays.

"Which I don't think he will. He's done for the rest of the playoffs as far as I'm concerned."

The Boogey Man might just be getting started.

He missed Game 3 because of the flu, then returned for Game 4, with the Wild facing elimination, and suddenly it was Anaheim's skill players who looked like they had swallowed a plate of bad sushi.

The boxscore says the Wild won Game 4 because of its big guys. It says here the Wild won because of The Big Guy.

All series, the Wild complained about obstruction, about lacking open ice, about its inability to adapt to playoff-style hockey against a daunting opponent.

Tuesday night at the X, Wild coach Jacques Lemaire toyed with his top lines. More important, he reinstated Boogaard -- the biggest guy he has -- and suddenly the Wild had a forward who could fight through obstruction, who could create open ice with all the subtlety of an armor-plated Zamboni, and who was desperate to make the physical plays that define playoff hockey.

While the final score says "blowout," what should be remembered is that the Ducks scored first, and the Wild didn't counter until, with a little more than two minutes left in the second period, the Boogey Man went to work.

Defenseman Nick Schultz pinched, keeping the puck in the offensive zone.

It wound up in the corner, where the Wild has lost most of its battles this series. This time Boogaard won the puck and sent it to Pierre-Marc Bouchard, or, as Boogaard should call him, "Mini-Me."

Bouchard had his first shot blocked, buried his second, and by the end of the night the giddy Wild fans were chanting "sieve, sieve, sieve" at previously impregnable Ducks goalie Ilya Bryzgalov.

In a series marked by the Wild's lack of tenacity and whininess, Minnesota became the aggressor. With Boogaard chugging around the X, the Ducks no longer seemed physically dominant.

Suddenly, Marian Gaborik was looking for hits as well as pretty goals, and even the undersized Bouchard was finding himself in the middle of scrums.

"Boogey makes an impact because they're looking for him," Lemaire said. "Not to fight, but they're looking for him when he's on the ice."

By the end of the night, we had a series, in fact and emotion, with Boogaard watching from the bench as Anaheim's Shawn Thornton became the third man in on a fight and May put himself on Boogey's list.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Cleveland 28 2nd Qtr 9:55
Indiana 24
Washington 25 2nd Qtr
Philadelphia 28
Golden State 6:30 PM
Toronto
New York 6:30 PM
Detroit
Orlando 6:30 PM
Atlanta
Charlotte 6:30 PM
Boston
LA Clippers 7:00 PM
Memphis
Brooklyn 7:00 PM
Houston
Miami 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Chicago
Utah 8:00 PM
Denver
San Antonio 9:00 PM
Sacramento
Milwaukee 9:30 PM
LA Lakers
Oklahoma City 9:30 PM
Portland
Boston 1 2nd Prd
New Jersey 0
Calgary 0 1st Prd 2:57
NY Islanders 1
Washington 0 1st Prd 4:33
Carolina 0
Chicago 0 1st Prd 20:00
Tampa Bay 0
Colorado 7:30 PM
Dallas
Los Angeles 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Siena 37 2nd Half 11:41
Quinnipiac 54
Harvard 21 2nd Half 20:00
Cornell 22
Penn 20 1st Half 4:15
Brown 34
Fairfield 19 1st Half 7:40
Canisius 20
Manhattan 24 1st Half 6:41
Iona 32
Saint Peters 13 1st Half 7:47
Marist 23
Princeton 32 1st Half 1:43
Yale 30
Ohio 7:00 PM
Akron
Dartmouth 7:00 PM
Columbia
Valparaiso 9:00 PM
Cleveland State
Louisiana Tech 75 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 88
Seton Hall 34 1st Half 5:03
Xavier 16
Cornell 22 1st Half 3:45
Harvard 20
Yale 16 1st Half 3:00
(14) Princeton 27
Elon 19 1st Half 3:55
Drexel 17
Northeastern 21 1st Half 4:20
James Madison 26
St Johns 23 1st Half 4:57
Butler 16
Creighton 31 1st Half 3:55
Georgetown 25
Brown 19 1st Half 3:56
Penn 27
Columbia 13 1st Half 4:34
Dartmouth 22
Canisius 15 1st Half 4:44
Siena 14
St Josephs Brooklyn 5 1st Half 16:50
NJIT 4
Western Carolina 27 1st Half 7:35
UNC Greensboro 10
Colorado 7:00 PM
Arizona
Southern Ill 7:00 PM
Bradley
Drake 7:00 PM
Wichita State
Indiana State 7:00 PM
Evansville
Illinois State 7:05 PM
Loyola-Chicago
Northern Iowa 7:05 PM
Missouri State
Utah 7:30 PM
(10) Arizona State
Providence 7:30 PM
Villanova

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: With Adrian Peterson's suspension overturned, what should the Vikings do?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close
Derek Boogaard sandwiched