Dwayne Roloson has been big for the Lightning all postseason, but on Saturday the Tampa Bay goaltender will play with a heavy heart.
Roloson lost a friend and former teammate in Derek Boogaard, as the Rangers and former Wild winger was found dead in his Minneapolis apartment Friday. He was 28 years of age, and no cause of death is currently known.
“It’s pretty tough to handle right now,” Roloson, who was in the Minnesota organization with Boogaard from 2001-06, said Saturday morning. “He was a great person away from the rink and at the rink. There’s not much that needs to be said about what he did for his teammates on the ice. He gave them the security, but at the same time he did the little things to help his teammates succeed in the game of hockey. It’s very unfortunate and my heart goes out to his family right now.”
The winger, commonly known as “The Boogey Man,” signed with the Rangers prior to this past season, though Roloson, who was playing for the Islanders, said that he would “see him a lot” and kept in contact with Boogaard. It was a product of how close players from the Wild organization grew, and how they never lost their friendships.
“Our team in Minnesota was a really close team, and guys keep in contact all the time throughout that organization, from the time that I was there until now,” Roloson said. “It says a lot about the organization and the quality guys that were there. It’s unfortunate, and hopefully is doing OK with it.”
Boogaard and Roloson only played on the same team during the 2005-06 season, though they grew close in their time in Minnesota. Even from camps, Roloson learned what kind of guy the seventh-round pick was before they were technically teammates.
“He was an awesome guy in the room,” Roloson recalled. “I remember when he first broke in, every day he came in to work hard, and he wanted to get better. He wanted to make it to the NHL  and prove every person out there that said he couldn’t make it wrong. He worked hard every every day on and off the ice. He was one of those guys that was the first on and last off, had that type of attitude to get better, and obviously he succeeded.”