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Derek Boogaard lawsuit could cause more problems for NHL

With a lockout that has led to the cancellation of every preseason game, the NHL Players Association already has enough on its plate. Now, the union is facing a lawsuit from the family of former player Derek Boogaard, who died while taking part in the league's substance-abuse program in May 2011.

Boogaard's family claims that the winger and designated enforcer was often prescribed pain medication by team doctors, despite the fact that it was known he had a prescription drug addiction. Boogaard's death was drug and alcohol related.

It appears that the family's attorneys will also try to prove that Boogaard suffered brain damage because of his role as a heavy-hitter and fighter, according to the suit:

"At numerous times during his professional hockey career, to cope with injuries and pain and simply to be able to play or sleep after games, Derek Boogaard was prescribed or given a multitude of narcotics and sleeping pills by both the team doctors, physicians, trainers and dentists of the New York Rangers and Minnesota Wild."

Boogaard's family seeks $4.8 million in salary and $5 million in punitive damages. The union has dismissed the suit as without merit and has 30 days to respond.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.