Former Lightning defenseman Dan Boyle: "There always will be a place in my heart for Tampa"
Kind of a fun day at the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon with the Tampa Bay Lightning skating on one ice sheet and the San Jose Sharks, who play Tampa Bay on Thursday, skating on the other.
Sharks defenseman, and former Lightning defenseman Dan Boyle took a few minutes to chat after practice and said how much he is enjoying San Jose and how good an organization it is. But Boyle said he never will overlook the years he spent with the Lightning, with which he won the 2004 Stanley Cup came into his own as a blue-liner under then-coach John Tortorella.
"There always will be a place in my heart for Tampa," Boyle said pounding his chest.
Only Vinny Lecavalier, Marty St. Louis, Paul Ranger, Jeff Halpern, Matt Smaby and Mike Smith remain from the last Lightning team for which he played and from which he left on not so great terms. You recall the scenario during the 2007-08 season, of course. Boyle, hurt in preseason when a skate fell from a hook on his locker stall and sliced several tendons in his right wrist, struggled after he came back from the injury and required a second surgery.
With the team under new owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie, Boyle and Brad Lukowich were traded to the Sharks on July 4 2008 for Matt Carle, Ty Wishart, a 2009 first-round pick and a 2010 fourth. Carle was traded after 12 games to the Flyers in a deal that returned Steve Downie and Steve Eminger.
Boyle was asked if he took any satisfaction in watching the Lightning's struggles.
"Knowing some of the guys I know, I don't wish them anything bad," Boyle said. "I want them to succeed and stuff. Selfishly, part of me, obviously, still has a problem with the guys up top. I don't want the guys I know to be going through this. That's more important than those two guys up there."
Interestingly, Boyle said he ran into Tortorella earlier this week after the Sharks beat Tortorella's Rangers 7-3 at Madison Square Garden.
"It was a nice friendly reunion," Boyle said. "Him and (former Lightning assistant Mike Sullivan, now also with New York) said they missed me. It was nice. I didn't think I'd see him with a smile on his face after a 7-3 loss, but, yeah, I did talk to him and he was actually smiling."
"I didn't know what to expect. As I was telling him the other day, we had a lot of ups and downs, a lot of battles. But at the end of the day we both have respect for each other. ... Six years playing 30 minutes a night, won a Cup. But that last year, it's not a year I want to remember. I came back too early (from the wrist injury), and came back hurt and played hurt. It's not the way I wanted to go out."