Boyle: You have to turn the page
Had a fairly interesting, but guarded conversation with former Lightning defenseman Dan Boyle on Friday after the Sharks' morning skate in Sunrise. Boyle did not really want to talk about Saturday's game in Tampa since he had a game Friday night against the Panthers, but he did say this about his claim he was "disrespected" by the Lightning's new ownership before being traded July 4 to San Jose.
"Am I ever going to be happy with the way it went down? Absolutely not. No way; that was the wrong way. I think most people know that. But at some point, you have to turn the page, and I've done that."
What Boyle has done is settled in with San Jose. heading into Friday's game he was sixth among NHL defensemen with six points on two goals and four assists. As Sharks coach Todd McLellan said, he has fit in San Jose "like he belongs here."
We all know the story of Boyle's lost 2007-08. Three tendons in his left wrist were severed by a skate that fell off a hook above his locker in September 2007. Two surgeries later he played just 37 games. He signed a six-year, $40-million contract in February. But new ownership thought the deal bad economics. Boyle said he was threatened with waivers unless he accepted a trade. Owners Len Barrie and Oren Koules said at the time there were no threats.
Boyle waived his no-trade clause and was traded to San Jose. He said his wrist is now 100 percent.
"Obviously, it was frustrating," Boyle said of last season. "It was just bad all around. I had never really been injured in my whole career. I had never really gone through an injury, and I had to go through it twice. ... It's unfortunate. It's not the way I wanted to end my career there. But I'm proud of what I accomplished there. We won the Cup so I look back on that."
The Lightning can look back on it, too, in a sense. Losing Boyle left the team without a real dyanamic puck mover. Paul Ranger is very good, and may get to that level, but he's not there yet. Andrej Meszaros or Matt Carle may develop as well. But until then, Boyle, let's face it, will be missed in that area.
How will fans react when he steps on the ice?
"If they want to boo me, so be it," he said. "I don't see why, right now. We'll see how it goes."
I'll have a complete story in Saturday's paper.
Coach Barry Melrose said Mike Smith will make his third straight start in goal, and wing Jason Ward will get his first game action of the season. He is filling in for right wing Radim Vrbata, who has a groin strain. Remember, defenseman Marek Malik plays his first game since being signed as a free agent and will wear No. 22, Boyle's old number.