In an interview with serious Radio, Big George (a known gentle giant himself) put the hockey world and ranger fans on notice...
“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.”
You can read the rest of the article here.
............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.”
Having been my suspicion for a while, I have to say I am deeply disappointed in the organization, the coach and that these are decisions being made for our team. I hope this makes the direction of our organization, transparent. I'm loving the infusion of youth and watching guys develop within the organization, but watching half a team enabled to play double time while the other half containing some integral pieces, sit idle in the dog house waiting for the coach to smile upon them is BULL$HIT!!!
Now i'm not saying that Boogaard should have been activated and put on the first line, but I think we all took notice of how certain players were played regardless of what else was happening on the ice this year... how it later impacted our team. Guys like Avery rode the bench despite being one of only few fired up players for getting penalties that a guy like Dubinsky got routinely without being admonished for... a guy like Prust was played (fighting heavyweights, playing shorthanded, even strength) till he was falling apart at the seams... A scorer like Gaborik made to freewheel it on the wing with no set up pass, or big body to pave the road or screen the goalie, because everyone else on the ice went to the boards and waited for dump.
It goes without saying a guy like Boogey could have taken on some guys that Prust got mixed up with, taken some opposing players out of the play and did some intimidating on the ice... had this game been played with some of the fervor it used to... before this became Tortorellas band of mad scramblers and half sized grinders. Now this isn't me playing Monday morning quarterback. There were plenty of times I cheered this team and their underdog persistence... and there were some that I felt I had to for the sake of Morale. The sad fact is, I must make an admission of my own now, that I didn't really feel like this was my team, this season. There are certainly players I would call my players and others that I would still call likeable... but that is a far cry from a team. I'm sure the resemblance was there through the Tortarella looking glass. However, if you asked me to name the lines, I couldn't really ... as the mix and match went on so often that the only lines that ever stuck were those that showed instant chemistry and dug us out of a whole through one of our many comeback wins. If all the juggling and slight of hand had been taken out of the line making process... we'd see that many live guys were simply inserted to dead lines for the sake of keeping the flow of the game rolling. This is not the multifaceted gem that can epitomize an NHL team... 1st line scorers, 3rd line energy guys, 4th line grinders... It was the same group of players wearing 3 different hats a night while the other players watched and tried figure out where they fit in.
When Torts was first hired, I appreciated the no nonsense take on coaching. However its just become more apparent that if you don't fit his ideals.. then you're simply not a Ranger. You don't get invited to the party.. you're not one of the cool kids.. and you don't get automatically absolved of your mistakes. It becomes hard to fathom how a guy like Drury is revered and given automatic precedence over a guy who's physically 100% and looking for ice time... just so the Captain can hurl himself in front of another puck, break something else and dig for scraps around the net before getting flattened by another player... or how a guy like Prospal can come in disregard the game plan as if he's never heard any of the discussions in the locker room or film sessions and crash the net on his own while everyone else.. is again at the boards with their backs to center ice. Then again, its kind of easy to see when you considered that they were already in Tort's pocket from the beginning. It's unfortunate that a voice beyond the grave must highlight this disparity among players for us...
Thanks for the heads up, Boogey(special thanks to BGL)... RIP Big man... Once a Ranger Always a Ranger.
Till next time Ranger fans,
P.S. - I also found it particularly disappointing that so many fans can start talking about Boogeys cap hit and money situations instead of the type of person and inspiration he was as a human being. Here's to hoping the Rangers honor their contract to him and the money goes to where he would like it.