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Rangers' Boyle considering retirement

Seventeen-year NHL veteran defenseman: 'I'm not 100 percent, but I'm pretty close'

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Although Dan Boyle isn't ready to make it official yet, all indications are the New York Rangers defenseman will announce his retirement from the NHL soon.

"I'm in all likelihood mostly done, but I'm not prepared to say it today," Boyle, 39, said during Rangers breakup day Tuesday. "I want to make sure that I make a rational decision. It was a tough loss for us and for me, a tough way to end the season, so I just want to make sure I don't say something then have to take it back.

"If I was a betting man I would say I am done, but I just need to be sure, 100 percent sure. Right now I'm not 100 percent, but I'm pretty close."

If Boyle is done, he leaves the NHL having played 1,093 regular season games with the Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, San Jose Sharks and Rangers after never getting drafted, and had 605 points (163 goals, 442 assists).

Boyle is the all-time leading scorer among defensemen for Tampa Bay (253 points) and San Jose (269 points).

Video: DET@NYR: Boyle lights the lamp on two-on-one rush

Boyle played in 130 Stanley Cup Playoff games and scored 81 points (17 goals, 64 assists). He won the Stanley Cup with the Lightning in 2004 and won a gold medal with Canada at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, where he had six points in seven games.

"I grew up hoping to play a shift in the NHL, one," Boyle said. "I literally just wanted the opportunity to go out there and skate, and see the fans. I got to play [almost] 1,100 games and however many with playoffs. Everything past the first shift has been gravy. The Cup and the Olympics, I mean, that's all bonus."

Boyle said physically he feels fine and has heard through his agent that there would be teams interested in him as an unrestricted free agent on July 1. However, he's likely going to retire because he doesn't think he has the right mindset to continue playing.

"I have two girls at home, 7 and 5, and I miss them a lot," Boyle said. "It crushed me this year being away. They're a major, major reason why I'd have to step back."

Video: NYR@CBJ: Boyle buries one on a tough angle

If Boyle is done, he leaves the NHL having been a healthy scratch in his last game. Boyle found out the morning before Game 5 against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday that he was not going to be in the lineup. 

Asked how he took the news, Boyle said, "Horribly, horribly." Asked for clarification on that, Boyle said, "I'd like to say no comment on that. I would rather not focus on that."

Boyle's two seasons in New York didn't go as well as he would have liked. His style as a puck-rushing defenseman clashed with the Rangers' style under coach Alain Vigneault, one that requires the defensemen to quickly exit the defensive zone with short, crisp passes. Boyle always thrived on skating the puck out.

Maybe that's why Boyle termed his tenure in New York as "bittersweet," because he said he loved being a Ranger, loved his teammates and thought the team could do something special.

Video: NYR@LAK: Boyle wrists the puck top-shelf for lead

"I was not disappointed; I wanted more," Boyle said. "When I came into the League I often heard that I was too small, and on my way out I often heard that I was too old. Unfortunately, I think both are wrong. I think I certainly showed at times over the last two years when given the opportunity that I could produce and I could play. At times it just wasn't there. So, it's bittersweet."

Boyle said he is planning to stay in the New York area until June so his girls can finish the school year. If he follows through with retirement, his plan is to move back to the San Jose area, where he is building a house.

"It may take a week, it may take a month," Boyle said of when he'll announce his retirement officially. "At a certain point, I'll wake up and know for sure."

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