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Brian Boyle: Conference Call - 27/02/17

by Toronto Maple Leafs /

Q. (Chris Johnston, Sportsnet): Hi Brian, I'm wondering, I guess, just the simple stuff - what kind of emotions are you feeling and did you expect to be moved before the deadline?

BRIAN BOYLE: Hi Chris, it's interesting when you get woken up from a nap expecting to play and you're no longer with that club. It's definitely a feeling I haven't had yet as a player in this league, but I'm pretty sure most people have gone through it. It's a lot of different things. It's a little bit of what do I do first? Do I start packing a bag? Do I take a shower? It's different, it really is a different feeling. I'm going to miss my buddies. We've had two pretty good runs in Tampa. Everybody from Steve [Yzerman] and [Jon Cooper] down to the players, it's really been a pleasure to play down in Tampa, it's been exciting. So, from that standpoint, it's obviously tough to say goodbye. I think I'm a fairly loyal guy and I believed in our group but we obviously didn't get it done, we aren't where we wanted to be this year and I go to a team that - once again, I get to play in an unbelievable opportunity to play on an Original Six team with a tremendous amount of history. A team that since I think the trade deadline last year when they started playing some of the younger guys and obviously with Auston Matthews, they have some guys in there that are just phenomenal, phenomenal players that are going to be really good. It's an opportunity, I moved up in the standings in the matter of a couple of hours and it's exciting for me. Playoffs are obviously by far the most fun hockey I've ever been able to have a chance to play.

Q. (Mike Zeisberger, Toronto Sun): Can you talk a little bit about - you were kind of a leader type of player in a Tampa dressing room that had a lot of kids. Do you see yourself being that kind of leader-by-example type when you get to Toronto given how many kids they have on the roster as well?

BRIAN BOYLE: I'm going to do my best to play the game that I've been playing. I think the way I prepare to try to obviously play my best is just kind of a formula that's always evolving. It's always something that you have to kind of go back and look at and make sure you're ready to go. I think from the moment you wake up, especially on a game day, you need to kind of look yourself in the mirror and get yourself ready to play. It's obviously a team game. There's a lot that goes into this game but I think for the most part you need to make sure you're ready and you're prepared and you have to think about all of those things as a player, without really having to say a whole lot. I think that's what I've learned from guys in the past, older guys and successful guys that have led the way on teams that I have been on. They were always very disciplined in how they prepared for games and that's going to be no different for me. I'm going to take the same approach I have taken in the past. My focus is on playing hockey, within the team's system, and doing the best you can.

Q. (Terry Koshan, Postmedia Network): With the quick turnaround do you expect to be with the Leafs tomorrow for the game here in San Jose? Later in the week? Have you been told what role you're going to have or that sort of thing or is it all too soon for that?

BRIAN BOYLE: I think there are some smart minds behind that organization in Toronto and I think they know what player they're getting. That's what I'm going to do. I'm going to do what's asked of me, first and foremost, and - the game is tomorrow night in San Jose I believe, right? That's where I hopefully make my debut.

Q. (Stephen Whyno, Associated Press): Hey Brian, you mentioned it's a pleasure to play in Tampa. I just wanted to get your thoughts on when you look back on your time in Tampa and the runs you had there, any shock to your system when you saw Ben Bishop traded yesterday and, you guys, the core you had there for a couple of years kind of being broken up now?

BRIAN BOYLE: It's difficult to process it all. Obviously what Ben has done for this team is no secret, but it's just kind of the business side of it. That's what's always talked about, for good reason. There's a salary cap, it's a hard cap and you have to make decisions based on that. Unfortunately, sometimes, it's a little different than the hockey. [Bishop]'s name has come up since the draft last year and that's just kind of - it finally went down, what went down. Again, you can try to wrap your head around it or you can try not to worry about it, but when the phone call comes and you're moved, you don't really know what's going to happen or how you're going to react. It's just kind of something you kind of have to experience. It happened just over two hours ago for me and I'm starting to try to get a little bit organized here but it really is - it's disappointing in the fact that what we had in Tampa, our expectations for this year weren't met. That's probably the most disappointing part of it. But, again, there is a business side to it. You don't really know what's going to happen, regardless. You just hope that if you do get moved you go to a good place. I'm very excited about where I'm headed.

Q. (Dave McCarthy, Just a quick question about your reaction getting to join a team with three outstanding rookies in Auston Matthews, William Nylander and Mitch Marner who have really driven the success of this team this year and what you feel your experience down the stretch in playoff races and into the postseason can help bring those young guys who are largely playoff untested?

BRIAN BOYLE: Well, like you said, it's going to be very exciting to watch. What those guys can do, they're spoken very highly of within the organization obviously so that's impressive and the whole team as a unit is a good group of guys from what I've heard and the character there - that's a big aspect in terms of when things get tough in the playoffs, sticking together and fighting through some things, some uncomfortable times. But, again, like I said, when I came down to Tampa I was excited about the opportunity and it was a younger team, relatively untested and we went to the Cup final that year. The potential and the opportunity is there and I think the skill level is for sure there. I've said it before, but post-trade deadline last year when they started playing some of those younger guys, I mean, they were a tough team to play against then. Obviously this year as well, they're just going to keep getting better and better with the coaching staff they have there and I think it's just a great opportunity.

Q. (Erik Erlendsson, Just real quick, in your time here in Tampa, what is the best thing you take away from moving from New York down to what is considered a smaller market and seeing the way this place down here reacted to this team over the last few years?

BRIAN BOYLE: Hey Erik, good to talk to you buddy. I'll go on and say that it was a real pleasure to be a part of that whole run, especially the first year - getting through that first round, it was a bear. Just kind of the support we had, the energy in the building, I wasn't quite expecting that much of it. Around town, going to the grocery store, it was all positive. Obviously I wasn't quite expecting to be as recognized and I think we all were. The support we had down here, that we still have - they've really grown accustomed to hockey, they have a passion for hockey in Tampa that's growing. It is a smaller market right now but I think it's growing. It was fun to be a part of that run, especially to get that excitement and some really good memories in some playoff runs. I know they have the Cup in '04, those guys deserve a ton of that credit, but we wanted to keep it growing and continue to build that and make it a real hockey town down here. They've done a good job of that with the ownership, Mr. Vinik, and what he has put into this team. It was a lot of fun to be a part of that.

Q. (Joe Smith, Tampa Bay Times): Hey Brian, thanks for the time. I know you have a lot to process and a lot of things for you and your family to be excited for this spring. You mentioned how much you guys enjoyed playing here and living down here, would there be a situation where you consider coming back in free agency this summer considering how well you guys enjoyed it and obviously the team you had down here?

BRIAN BOYLE: We're very thankful for what Tampa has done for us, we enjoyed it. We're close to her parents when we're down here and it's always going to hold a special place in our hearts. That being said, it's not very fair to talk about that right now. I'm on a new team with high aspirations and I think that's really, really exciting. I'm really looking forward to Toronto. Playing there as a visitor is tremendously exciting. That buzz that goes around a game - just the game itself, the knowledge they all have up there of the game and what's going on around the league, the passion for it is something I'm excited to experience. I can't even - I'm not really going to even begin to think about down the road. I tried not to think about - I was at church yesterday, I tried not to think about Wednesday and the trade deadline. Obviously things happened a little quicker than that. Right now it would kind of be a waste of time and energy to think beyond trying to get my stuff packed up and head out to San Jose, to be honest with you.

Q. (Jonas Siegel, Canadian Press): Hey Brian, I was just wondering, going back to when you left New York, there was some talk that maybe Toronto was interested in you at that point. Had you known about that? Were you interested in coming to the Leafs at that point? Were they a team that you looked at?

BRIAN BOYLE: Yeah, there were a number of teams, which I guess is always a good thing. The decision is never really easy, you want to make the right one. No one really has a crystal ball. I'm fortunate that my time in Tampa was good and now we're kind of on to the next phase. When you get to free agency hopefully you have some suitors and teams that want you. There were options, we weighed them all. It was kind of a tag team, me and my wife, we thought about it. We were actually on our honeymoon at the time and we made our decision and we were very thankful for the opportunity that we've had. That said, that was in the past. A lot of things change over time, especially as a player. You want to change; you want to stay relevant. There's a lot of motivation for me to prove Lou and Brendan and the management in Toronto - prove them right that they made the right decision and help the team win. That's ultimately the beginning and the end. You want to win.

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