May 15, 2011
Lightning remember ex-teammate
By Chris Stevenson, QMI Agency
Mike Smith stood at the end of the Tampa Bay Lightning bench in the moments before Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final and thought about his friend.
There was a moment of silence for Derek Boogaard, the New York Rangers forward who was found dead in his apartment in Minneapolis Friday, as the NHL, Boston Bruins and Lightning honoured his memory Saturday.
"I thought what they said (during the tribute) summed it up before the game started," said Smith, the Tampa goaltender who was a teammate of the 6-foot-7, 265-pound enforcer when they played with Houston of the American Hockey League in 2005-06. "They said he was one of the toughest guys to ever play and he was all that. But there was the other side of things ... off the ice he was a gentle giant, a great guy. He was so easy to talk to.
"The way he played on the ice was not reflected in the way he was off the ice. That's the way I'll remember Boogey."
Smith said he had goosebumps when he found out from teammate Steven Stamkos about Boogaard's passing.
Tampa goaltender Dwayne Roloson played with Boogaard with the Minnesota Wild in that 2005-06 season.
"It's pretty tough to handle," said Roloson. "I remember when he first broke in. Every day he came to work hard. He wanted to get better. He wanted to make it in the NHL and wanted to prove to every person out there that said he couldn't make it wrong and he succeeded. It's very unfortunate. My heart goes out to his family."