The Brian Boyle appreciation post

Rob Carr/Getty Images
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Relative to his offensive expectations, Brian Boyle draws a lot of unnecessary heat from Rangers fans. There are a few reasons why fans seem to think he’s “useless” and “an oaf,” although many of them aren’t really thought out. Common arguments are that Boyle doesn’t score anymore –he’s not a scorer– and that Boyle isn’t a physical presence –he is. But, people see what they want: A 6’7 forward who once scored 20 goals who doesn’t drop the glove twice a game. These appear to be the main issues with Boyle.

But what people miss about Boyle is that he is probably one of the best fourth line centers in the game. He pretty much lives in the defensive zone, he gets huge minutes on the penalty kill, and, relatively speaking with his zone starts, is decent at driving puck possession (i.e.: not a tire fire because he spend less than 30% of his time in the offensive zone). But perhaps the biggest contribution is his willingness to sacrifice his body to block the shot, something we saw in Game Five.

For those that missed the game, Boyle had one of the best penalty killing shifts I’ve ever seen. He blocked shots, he got his stick in the passing lanes, and he fought along the boards to get pucks out of the zone. Boyle has also been one of the more noticeable forwards throughout the playoffs, constantly getting into the dirty areas, something a lot of fans gripe about with some of the other forwards.

But here’s some food for thought: Among the Ranger forwards, Boyle is first in hits and third in blocked shots. He’s managed to chip in offensively with a goal and two assists despite his zone starts. Boyle is one of those players who has developed a reputation of stepping it up a notch in the playoffs as well.

No, Boyle is not a 20-goal scorer, that season was an absolute fluke with a 9.6% shooting percentage. Boyle is not going to drop the gloves regularly either. That’s not his style. Nor will he sacrifice defensive positioning to deliver the big hit. That’s not what John Tortorella taught him to do when he came to New York, and Alain Vigneault isn’t going to change that.

Boyle is a great defensive fourth line center. He’s one of the best in the game. He’s the type of player you want on your team in the playoffs. We saw him (and Dominic Moore) get under Sidney Crosby’s skin in Game Six, and they did so with –relatively– clean play. Perhaps it’s time to look past what many think he should be, and appreciate the player he is.

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  • I, for one, am NOT a big fan of Brian Boyle. I do appreciate the work that he does in the defensive zone and his shot blocking ability is, in my opinion, unmatched. However, he certainly isn’t one of the best fourth line centers in the game; he isn’t even the best fourth line center on the Rangers. Unless I am mistaken, Dominic Moore has that distinction. Also, on the play that you describe as one of the best penalty kill shifts of all time, I believe that it was immediately preceded by Boyle’s inability to clear the puck with only one Penguin in his way. Boyle is a throwback fourth liner who, in the original six NHL, would have been a fourth liner used ONLY to kill penalties. That said, I pray that he blocks 15 shot attempts tonight and nets a hat trick!

    • Thank You Fankie L. I appreciate Boyle for what he does on the ice.On that pk people miss that Boyle twice didn’t get the puck out.I have posted previously that he doesn’t get a fair shake either way.He is good at what he does not great.He will price his self out of NY in FA.I do believe players should get as much as they can.A goal or two tonite would be good go Brian Boyle.

      • I like Boyle too and I appreciate his skill set. The question is what is it going to cost to keep him here? In a cap world, I don’t think we should be overpaying 4th line players.

        Torts molded Boyle to what he is today. Should he be looking for a big pay day, I have no problem letting him walk and replacing him with a pet project for AV.

    • “However, he certainly isn’t one of the best fourth line centers in the game”

      ^Please qualify this statement with some actual players, salaries and relevant stats.

  • Well stated, and well deserved appreciation post. Boyle has produced and performed in three consecutive playoff seasons, is a main cog to any winning team, and is an excellent teammate.

    He plays for the jersey! We need more players with his dedication to the club.

    • Thanks, Dave (and AD, too). Boyle is hugely underappreciated, and is a big part of whatever success the Rangers achieve, both on and off the ice.

  • Boyle is 100% a great asset and a depth piece of this team, and has been for a while. He does what he’s paid to do and beyond IMO.

    When you’re super star players set up their game (or fail to do so) everyone notices. When your depth guys do what they’re supposed to, it’s less noticeable but no less important. And if they contribute beyond that, it’s a bonus. The importance of having a guy like Boyle who is defensively consistent and willing to sacrifice the body on PK’s can’t be overstated.

    As for not dropping the gloves- isn’t that what guys like Carcillo and Dorsett are for???

  • When the chips are on the line, who is out there protecting the lead??

    That is all anyone needs to know about Boyle. I’m a big fan of the guy, but I also am one of the people out there who wishes he would drop the gloves, and put the hurts on someone, just once to show people that if you mess with him, there will be a price to pay!

    I suspect coming from a rather large family, mom, and dad told Brian to keep his hands to himself. Being so big, maybe he was taugh not to be a bully. What ever the reason, we should appreciate what he brings to the table, and hope that he plays a great game tonight!!!!!!!

  • He has created a niche for himself that few others on the team can match. As this is a “team game”, you need some people to play part or all of every role. He has a majority in defensive forward skills, but lacks in offensive skills. There are 8 others who have shown good offensive skills but are severely lacking on the defensive front. Fits well with the top 6 who play a minor part defensively.

  • Boyle is a terrific guy and the consummate team player but I do think he is capable of scoring more goals than he does.

  • Oops! was this post a setup to one tomorrow pointing out Boyle is a UFA, and what is he worth?

    Hope he remains in Rangers blue!

  • Brian Boyle get’s the hard job done in a very good manner. He gets paid the right amount of money and is on the correct line. I will take him. Only player that could be replaced on that line is Derek Dorsett for a bigger guy who can fight and hit harder. I seriously believe we have his replacement in Kyle Beach. I hope the Rangers work hard to groom him for that 4th line duty. Beach also has soft hands to chip in a few goals as well.
    With Boyle and Beach we would have a scary 4th line whether centered by Dom Moore or Oscar Lindberg next year.

  • I never understood why people jump all over Boyle. He has even had IMO his best season as a NYR. That 4th lines success has a lot to do with him getting the puck out of the tough areas so Dors and Moore can move it around.

  • Although I do appreciate the fact that he is an important piece of a winning team, I’d rather the team keep Dom Moore if the salary both command on the open market are equal.

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