He wasn’t even supposed to make the team out of training camp finishing last season as a spare grinder at best.
An occasional energy boost for the third or fourth line.
But Brian Boyle wasn’t having any of that.
The extra work he put in over the summer with figure skater Barbara Underhill not only improved his skating ability and stride, but also his confidence. He contributes…in big ways.
The 26-year-old leads the Rangers with 20-goals. Four have come on the powerplay, two game winners and one shorthanded. In his three NHL seasons prior, he was never able to score more than four goals a season. While with the Los Angeles Kings he spent large chunks of time with their AHL affiliate the Manchester Monarchs.
He’s an early shoe-in for the Steven McDonald Extra Effort award, “for the player that goes above and beyond the call of duty.” (The Rangers established the award in honor of New York City police officer McDonald who was seriously injured in the line of duty in 1986 and later forgave his shooter.)
Ryan Callahan has held the honor for two straight years after Brandon Dubinsky won in 2007-08. It’s Boyle’s turn.
But the center has been quiet lately and cooled down. Before his late third period goal against the suffering Capitals last night, he had only one goal in his last ten games. The Rangers record over that ten game span: 3-7. Not so hot.
The Blueshirts are going to need him to rev the engine back up for the spring playoff push, especially with Marian Gaborik’s lingering concussion and shaky season.
He’s become a big piece to the Rangers’ victory puzzle. At 6’7”, he’s learned how to use his size to muscle through opponents. He provides offense, kills penalties, and keeps the locker room in check. This summer when he becomes a free agent he deserves and should expect a pay raise. Right now he comes in at a bargain earning just over half a million a year.
The question isn’t whether the Rangers can afford whatever his new asking price is but rather can they afford to let him walk away?
Did you know Boyle:
- refused to sign a BU hockey puck. “I’m not touching that,” the BC grad said at the Toys for Tots drive. Good sense of humor.
- scored 31 goals and 31 assists in 70 games with the Manchester Monarchs in 2007-08.
- scored 19 goals or more three of his four years at Boston College.
- favorite movie is Grease and favorite TV shows are Friends and Entourage.
- drives a Chevy Tahoe.
Check out The Hockey News for more fun facts like most embarassing moment and first job.
About the Author
Written by Margaret DeJesus
I'm a recent college graduate looking for a dream job covering hockey. I've been watching the New York Rangers since my grade school days of VHS and Gordon Bombay's "ducks fly together" speech. While studying journalism at Boston University (COM '10), I wrote for the Daily Free Press, the student newspaper. I worked two summers at the Staten Island Advance, my hometown newspaper, writing city news and features. I've also written CD reviews for Music-Reviewer.com. One of my favorite gigs was interning for hockey analyst extraordinaire Stan Fischler covering the Boston Bruins and attending all their home games in the 2009-2010 season. (Yes, including the crushing defeat against the Flyers in the Eastern Conference playoffs.)