|At 6-foot-7, Brian Boyle is one of the most imposing players on the ice, and the 24-year-old forward said he intends to get even more physical in 2009-10. |
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By Jim Cerny, newyorkrangers.comBrian Boyle
had hoped to make a second “first impression” with the Los Angeles Kings in September. But after a draft-day trade to the Rangers, he will receive a fresh start with a new organization, and that suits the former first-round draft pick just fine.
“When I got dealt, I was pretty excited to hear the news,” said the 24-year-old Boyle. “It’s a feeling that someone went out and wanted you to be a part of their organization, and it was a good feeling for me.
“I still have those same intentions that I went into the off-season with, just show what I am really made of and come in with guns blazing in training camp.”
Boyle, a massive 6-foot-7-inch centerman, was the second of three forwards selected by the Kings in the first round of the 2003 draft. He was chosen 26th overall, 13 picks after Dustin Brown and one ahead of Jeff Tambellini.
Brown quickly became a fixture with the Kings, and has since become the team’s captain. Meanwhile, Boyle and Tambellini developed at a different pace, and both have now been traded away by Los Angeles.
Last season -- his second as a professional following a successful four-year collegiate career at Boston College -- Boyle split his time between the Kings and the club’s AHL affiliate in Manchester. With the Kings, he totaled four goals, five points, and 42 penalty minutes in 28 games. In Manchester, Boyle recorded 21 points (10-11-21) and 73 penalty minutes in 42 games.
The previous season Boyle was one of the top rookies in the American Hockey League where he notched 31 goals -- 16 of which came on the power play -- and 62 points in 70 games with Manchester. He also picked up four goals in eight games at the NHL level, netting his first career goal in his National Hockey League debut against Martin Brodeur and the Devils.
“Boyle really impressed with his play down in Manchester,” said Gordie Clark, the Rangers Director, Player Personnel. “He did a great job shutting down (Artem) Anisimov with those long arms of his when he played against Hartford. He gets in front of the net, does a great job there planting himself and setting the screen. Plus he has the hands to be able to turn around, get pucks, and make plays.”
His success on the minor-league level did not transfer to the NHL level last season, leading to a “disappointing” 2008-09 campaign in Boyle’s opinion. After much thought during the off-season, Boyle believes he understands better how to achieve success in the National Hockey League, and is eager to get the 2009-10 campaign underway.
“No matter what you do, you have to go 100 percent every step of the way otherwise in this league you will get exposed,” said Boyle. “And I learned that the hard way this past year. It wasn’t for lack of trying, but more so it’s an experience thing you have to go through to understand what you have to do every day.”
The seventh child in a family of 13, Boyle is accustomed to having to work extra hard to be noticed and to achieve his goals. And he also understands that there will be no shortcuts playing for the demanding John Tortorella this season.
“I think I respond well to when people challenge me, and if they are intense and you can see how much they care,” Boyle said. “Obviously I don’t know from experience with coach, I haven’t met him yet, but that’s what I hear. And that’s a good thing, for me and all the guys, it’s a good thing to be pushed and challenged.”
Boyle visited the MSG Training Center earlier in the week to meet the training staff and members of the front office, along with another new addition to the club, winger Christopher Higgins who was acquired from Montreal on Tuesday.
The most important meeting Boyle had that day was with Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather, who laid out exactly what the organization expects from him.
“Glen said that he wants me to play hard, finish checks, shoot the puck, skate, play smart,” stated Boyle. “And those are all things I think I can do pretty well.
“I am going to bring a lot of intensity and kind of earn my way through that. I know I can play the game; and when I create offense, play the game the right way, use my body, I think that’s probably the best bet I have to be successful.”