Brian Boyle will get nowhere near his offensive totals from last season, even the Stevie Wonder of Rangers fans knows that. Many people have been unhappy with his play at times this season but lately Boyle has been a workhorse and even begun to chip in a little offensively. If he can gather some offensive momentum – which this team surely needs – then he can be happy with his overall season.
He can be happy with his overall play because Boyle is above all else, invaluable to the penalty kill. One of the league’s very best penalty kills let us not forget. It is one of the units that have made this team one of the leagues’ best as they head in to the stretch. Boyle was dominant on the penalty kill against the Sabres and his goal against Martin Brodeur a game earlier hinted at his (decent) offensive ability. He didn’t panic, he waited out Brodeur and calmly finished. It wasn’t a play of a guy that has such meagre goal totals this season.
Brian Boyle may not be worthy of his contract when he doesn’t provide a 15+ goal season but he’s certainly a great asset on this team. For all the rants people go on about his lack of physicality – given his size – it’s a fact that this Rangers team is much better with Boyle than they are without him. Boyle is the kind of player that succeeds in the post season. He plays through pain and never – at least voluntarily – gives up on a play.
Unfortunately for the Rangers, what Boyle has been lacking this season is what the team most sorely needs – offense. If players such as Artem Anisimov, Brandon Dubinsky and Brad Richards were performing better Boyle’s lack of offense may not be as widely discussed as it has been. That said, Boyle has been playing better, getting chances and consistently providing great special teams play for his side. He’s offering a lot more than some other members of the roster and on a first placed team that’s not such a bad start.