Brian Boyle was back on the ice with his New Jersey Devils teammates on Sunday after getting all cleared to participate in practice following his Chronic Myeloid Leukemia diagnosis last month.
“I got the news yesterday … and a wave of nerves came over me,” Boyle told reporters following the skate. “But it’s exciting to get back on a routine and work towards a goal. I’ve got a lot of work to do, as evidence by that practice.
“Parts of it were not too bad. I was a lot better than I thought in some areas. Some of the battles. Just like hands and feet working together that are a little fatigued. The speed of it. Even just the practice — I’ve been kind of by myself for a month. It was an adjustment. Even throughout the practice I felt better, but still a bit of a ways to go.”
The Devils signed Boyle to a two-year, $5.5 million contract this summer. Despite the diagnosis, Boyle was determined to try not to miss any games in the upcoming season. New Jersey is eight games into its season and has been one of the big surprises early on with a 6-2 record and 31 goals already scored.
Boyle, 32, has yet to play a game for his new team, and it remains to be seen exactly when he’ll get into the lineup, with the club announcing there is no timetable yet for his return. The Devils last played on Friday against the San Jose Sharks and are in the midst of a week-long break in their schedule.
Their next game is this Friday against Ottawa, which should give Boyle a few days of practice — opportunities to continue to improve on his conditioning — before the Devils play two games in two nights next weekend.
Meanwhile, the Devils placed goalie Cory Schneider on injured reserve two days ago, after he was hurt the previous night.