Laraque blasts Rangers for handling of Boogaard

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:51 PM ET

Former NHL tough guy Georges Laraque ripped the New York Rangers for the way they treated Derek Boogaard this season, during an interview with a Toronto radio station Monday.

Laraque said that Boogaard, who died Friday in Minneapolis, told him he had been cleared to play after recovering from a concussion and shoulder injury he got during a fight with Ottawa Senators enforcer Matt Carkner in December but was told to sit out by the Rangers. That, Laraque said, had Boogaard "a bit down" the last time they talked.

"He was cleared to play at the end of the season and the team just told him to take the rest of the year off," Laraque told NHL HOME ICE on SiriusXM Radio. "You know how much pressure that puts on a guy? He was ready to play with the contract he had and the team says, 'It's OK, just take the rest of the year off.' On top of that, he told me his coach was not a big fan of him.

"I don't want to insinuate anything that happened and the cause (of his death) or whatever but I would have been frustrated if I was in that situation. The fact he was inactive so long and those two incidents happened, it clearly didn't help him."

Laraque said that Boogaard told him Rangers coach John Tortorella had issues with the 6-foot-7 scrapper, who signed as a free agent with New York last summer. Boogaard signed a four-year deal with the Rangers July 1.

"He told me John didn't really like him as a player," Laraque said. "I don't know what John thought or what he said.

"All I know is that Derek told me he was cleared to play, to come back, that he wanted to play and the team told him to take the rest of the year off, to get ready for next year. He didn't tell me who told him that, he just told me the team said that."

Boogaard didn't play again after the Dec, 9 fight with Carkner, the 70th scrap of his short NHL career. He died in his Minneapolis apartment Friday at age 28.

No cause of death has been announced and autopsy results will likely take weeks.

Boogaard's family donated his brain to Boston University's Sports Legacy Institute, which is studying brain disease in athletes.


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