Boyle wanted Big Apple after playing in ‘nontraditional hockey markets’ of Florida, California

65 Comments

To hear Dan Boyle explain it, the lure of Broadway was too much to pass on.

“That’s where I wanted to go. That is the simplest way I can put it,” Boyle said on Monday, nearly a week after signing a two-year, $9M deal with the New York Rangers (per CBC). “Once I found out I was done in San Jose, that’s the team that kind of jumped out. That’s the team that I’ve always been curious about.

“I’ve played in Florida and California — two nontraditional hockey markets. Those places were great, but I just wanted to experience something different. An Original Six team. You can make more money elsewhere, but at the end of the day you’ve got to be happy.”

Boyle, 37, garnered considerable interest after the Sharks let him walk following six years in the Bay Area. Even though he’s not the Olympic-caliber defenseman he once was and appeared to have lost a step, Boyle’s offensive ability — his 12 goals tied for 12th among NHL d-men last year — and a free agent market thin on right-handed blueliners made him a hot commodity, so much so that New York’s other team, the Islanders, traded for his negotiating rights during the Stanley Cup Final.

When Boyle didn’t reach a deal with the Isles, other suitors came forth. Toronto, Montreal, Detroit and Tampa Bay were believed to be in the mix but in the end, the allure of playing at Madison Square Garden proved too great.

It was an interesting development, to be sure. For as decorated as Boyle’s career has been — a Stanley Cup, Olympic gold and two second-team All-Star honors — his career has been spent in the sunshine…and occasionally against his own terms. He broke in with the Panthers in ’98, then got traded to Tampa Bay for virtually nothing (a fifth-round pick, which Florida used to select the immortal Martin Tuma).

Four years after winning a Cup with the Bolts, he was dealt to San Jose in 2008 under less-than-ideal circumstances.

From ESPN:

Boyle, who turns 32 next weekend, went on a premature honeymoon to Hawaii shortly after the Lightning’s awful season ended. He got married just two weeks ago, never realizing he was about to change teams after signing a six-year, $40 million deal with Tampa Bay in February.

The Lightning’s new ownership group was eager to rid itself of Boyle’s large contract, but he only found out this week after flying home for Canada Day festivities.

“I don’t have the nicest things to say about what happened, but I don’t want to dwell on this,” Boyle said in a phone interview from his Ontario cottage. “I was misled and disrespected, and it was really not the right way to do a lot of things. I don’t have anything good to say about how all this went down.”

Boyle agreed to waive his no-trade to join the Sharks, though he was obviously pushed to a certain degree. That’s possibly why he relished this latest opportunity to call his own shot by signing with the Rangers.

To hear Boyle speak about it, he sounds pleased — even though things didn’t end tremendously well in San Jose.

“There’s a lot of stuff that was shared and said behind closed doors. That’s where it’s going to stay,” Boyle said of his departure from the Sharks. “I wanted to be on an Original Six team, and the Rangers were the team that I wanted to go to.”

Measure of revenge: Kings delay clinching efforts for Flames, Blues

2 Comments

Deep down, the Los Angeles Kings probably realize that their season will end on game 82. Still, they kept their slim playoff hopes alive on Wednesday night … and managed to spite a team they’re growing to hate.

OK, maybe the hate is almost totally focused upon Matthew Tkachuk, yet the disdain for that talented-but-tormenting rookie was palpable.

It didn’t feel like the Kings exacted physical revenge on Tkachuk, but beating his team 4-1 ranked as classic scoreboard vengeance. With that, the Calgary Flames (and by extension the St. Louis Blues) will need to wait to clinch a playoff berth.

Now, as much as tonight was about Tkachuk, the focus was also on a pugnacious player who once dazzled for the Flames: Jarome Iginla.

In what might be Iginla’s final visit to Calgary – at least as an active NHL player – he was one of the best players on the ice. His fitting curtain call included a “Gordie Howe hat trick” with a spirited fight, an assist and a goal.

Seriously, that fight with Deryk Engelland:

That goal included a bit of luck, but hey …

Iginla was named the first star of the contest, and cameras captured his big smile in enjoying a special night. For all the nastiness of that game, it was refreshing to see such a heartwarming moment.

For more on the violence, check out this post on the early stuff and this one on Tkachuk’s missed missile launch on Drew Doughty.

Kings and Canucks will square off in first NHL exhibition games in China

graphic via NHL
1 Comment

It’s official: the NHL will hold preseason games in China before next season.

The league made the announcement on Wednesday night: the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks will play two exhibitions: one on Sept. 21 (Shanghai) and Sept. 23 (Beijing). How cool is that?

“It is a privilege and an honor for the L.A. Kings to represent the National Hockey League in China as part of these two games against the Vancouver Canucks,” Kings president Luc Robitaille said. “Growing the game of hockey is something we take great pride in and it is a big priority for our hockey club and AEG as a whole. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our players and our staff, and we are looking forward to the games taking place in two tremendous facilities in two remarkable cities.”

The press conference inspired some jokes tonight.

Some of the best bits came in roping in … Kobe Bryant and David Beckham?

Alrighty then.

Click here for more details.

 

Video: Drew Doughty (mostly) avoids massive Matthew Tkachuk hit

7 Comments

Hockey is such a fast sport that it’s probably not so easy to make someone your “target.” Instead, a big hit often comes down to the right combination of circumstance and timing.

Still, there’s no denying that Matthew Tkachuk is gunning for Drew Doughty (and the Kings are gunning for Tkachuk) on Wednesday.

Doughty isn’t oblivious to that notion, either, as you can see him avoid what looked like a pretty terrifying hit above.

We’ve already covered the early violence in this game, and it’s quite possible that there will be more carnage going forward. Stay tuned.

Blackhawks bolster Central lead, shine harsh light on Penguins’ struggles

2 Comments

Blame it on injuries if you want, or emphasize the Chicago Blackhawks’ overall hot finish to the season. Either way, Chicago scorched the Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of 5-1, a contest that felt more or less over by the time the first period ended 4-0 in the Blackhawks’ favor.

The Blackhawks scored by committee on Wednesday, with Artemi Panarin (goal, assist) and Patrick Kane (two assists) being the headliners. Meanwhile, former Penguin Marian Hossa has quietly climbed to 25 goals on the season.

Meanwhile, the Penguins limped through this one and have now lost four consecutive games.

With this result, the Blackhawks look like close to a lock to win the Central Division title. Meanwhile, the Metro crown is virtually unthinkable for Pittsburgh, and the Penguins might also need to accept the likelihood that they may not enjoy home-ice advantage in the first round.

They’d probably accept that more easily if they can get healthier and get back on track. Wednesday was a little worrisome in those regards.