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BHN Puck Links: Tragic Hayes’ News Hits Home Across The NHL

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Boston Bruins

Powerful stuff from the late Derek Boogaard’s father, Len, who spoke with TSN about the difficulty reading up on Jimmy Hayes’ passing and the relation to problems with painkillers during his NHL career. It was all too familiar to what Boogaard’s son Derek battled with during his NHL career as a notorious tough guy that ultimately contributed to his tragic death from a mixture of alcohol and the painkiller Oxycodone at just 28 years old.

“How many players have to die before the NHL acknowledges that there’s a problem?” said Boogaard to TSN. “Ten years ago, with Derek, I maintained that it was a learning experience for everybody, so that Derek didn’t die in vain. Well, we continue to just go through the same thing. After me it was Steve Montador’s dad. And now it’s Jimmy’s dad saying he wants to bring this to everyone’s attention, so it doesn’t happen to everyone else. I guess it’s going to take more players dying, maybe three or four back-to-back again, or maybe more, for the NHL to do something.

“Maybe it has to happen again, God forbid. I know it sounds so callous…”

The tragic news last weekend that Hayes passed away with cocaine and fentanyl in his system after getting treatment for a painkiller addiction just continues to hammer home that the NHL does indeed have a problem. It’s why some hockey players are pursuing alternative painkilling treatments like cannabis, and all are being educated on the dangers of painkillers that have been presumably prescribed by team doctors in the past.

Let’s hope that Hayes’ passing and his families openness on the circumstances behind his death can help other hockey players during their struggles with addiction.

Now on to the BHN Puck Links:

*The Boston Bruins are going to see Linus Ullmark making his Black and Gold debut against his old Sabres team on Friday night. (Boston Hockey Now)

*Good news for the Vegas Golden Knights as Mark Stone isn’t going to require surgery after suffering an injury during action this week. (Vegas Hockey Now)

*The Calgary Flames are shuffling their lines and looking for more out of their young players at this point. (Calgary Hockey Now)

*Washington Hockey Now’s Sammi Silber has her takeaways from a Capitals win over the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night. (Washington Hockey Now)

*It was an eventful return to the Toronto Maple Leafs lineup for Auston Matthews this week, even if it didn’t add up to two points for the Leafs. (Toronto Hockey Now)

*Dylan Larkin did the captainly thing and admitted that he had his suspension coming to him after speaking with reporters this week. (Detroit Hockey Now)

*Pretty amazing NHL origin story as Brandon Tanev apparently didn’t play hockey from ages 15-19 until he had a massive growth spurt. And now he’s in the NHL.

*Great piece on FOH (Friend of Haggs) AJ Mleczko, who is killing it at ESPN as a hockey analyst after breaking in with NBC over the last couple of seasons. (N Magazine)

*Enough is enough when it comes to Evander Kane and the endless second chances he’s been afforded during his NHL career. (Pucks with Haggs)

*For something completely different: See, Charles Barkley gets it. Why can’t everybody else?

Joe Haggerty has covered the Boston Bruins and the NHL for 18 years with NBC Sports Boston, WEEI.com, the Boston Metro and the Woburn Daily Times, and currently serves as lead Bruins reporter and columnist for Boston Hockey Now. Haggs always strives to capture the spirt of the thing any way that he can.

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