Boogaard's conflicted over refs' actions

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 27, 2006 - 10:16 PM
Derek Boogaard
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The Wild is tied with the Red Wings for the fewest fights (six). Derek Boogaard, right, has been in five of them, including this one against the Kings’ Raitis Ivanans in October.

Photo: Bruce Bisping, Star Tribune

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DETROIT - Derek Boogaard's 10-minute misconduct Tuesday night in Toronto was classified by referees as "inciting," which is comical considering the Wild enforcer hasn't incited anybody into anything in more than a month.

Boogaard, fightless since Nov. 14, says he did nothing more than warm up his cold legs by skating during a TV timeout, which of course he was warned not to do last week.

Asked if he thought the refs were instructed by the league office to watch for his skating custom, Boogaard said, "No question. It just shows ... ."

Boogaard said he feels the league is unfairly targeting him for being a 6-7 bruiser (6-9 on skates), which rubs him the wrong way since he doesn't even fight anymore.

The Wild might have one of the NHL's most intimidating heavyweights, but the Wild is tied with the Red Wings for fewest fights (six). Boogaard has had five and none since taking on Phoenix's Georges Laraque 44 days ago.

Boogaard said he thinks he can't find a willing combatant because his horrifying uppercut that rearranged the face of Anaheim's Todd Fedoruk on Oct. 27 has become folklore.

"That just means they're scared," Boogaard said. "They don't want to get hurt."

Plus, the prototypical NHL fighter is a dying breed.

"We're not playing a lot of physical teams right now," Boogaard said. "They don't feel they need a guy, so I'll just go out and do whatever I want. I'll just run them over."

But awfully soon, Boogaard will probably get to shake off the fightless rust. The Wild plays host to Columbus on Friday and Anaheim on Sunday, and both have formidable fighters (the Blue Jackets' Jody Shelley and the Ducks' George Parros).

Asked how quickly he will challenge Shelley, Boogaard said, "How quickly will he challenge me is the question."

Boogaard has been playing with a chip on his shoulder the past month after his brother e-mailed him a quote from Vancouver Canucks coach Alain Vigneault. In a Vancouver Province story about the Canucks' lack of enforcer, Vigneault said, "To just have a guy play four or five minutes, we don't need that. There's an element of entertainment when two tough guys want to fight. But do I think that affects the outcome of a game? No.

"Do I think Derek Boogaard sitting on the bench in Minnesota and talking to a couple of our guys on the ice is intimidating? No. What's more intimidating is Jarome Iginla having the courage to take a check and make a play."

Said Boogaard, "That definitely gets me going when that coach is saying I'm pretty much useless. That gets me jacked up."

Etc.

• It appears missing 10 consecutive games has helped Wes Walz's hip flexor problem. The 37-year-old played his seventh consecutive game Wednesday, the most he's played in a row all season.

• Assistant GM Tom Lynn said right wing Marian Gaborik (groin) continues to skate on his own in Minnesota. "[He] will practice when he can tolerate close to a full [practice]," Lynn said.

• The holiday roster freeze is lifted today.

• Tuesday in Toronto, Kurtis Foster (Carp, Ontario) and Joel Ward (Toronto), who teamed up for the Wild's first goal, led the team with 32 ticket requests. Defenseman Brent Burns left 35 postgame passes.

• Incidentally, Ward, who tallied his first NHL point with the assist on Foster's goal, scored his first pro goal last season in Toronto as a member of the AHL Houston Aeros.

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