Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Fennelly: For Lightning's Brian Boyle, winning and family go hand in hand

He was born into a team. That's important to know when talking about Lightning center Brian Boyle. He's the seventh-oldest of Artie and Judy's 13 children. The Boyles of Hingham, Mass. Deep roster. • Meet another one. And right in the middle again is the Lightning's big brother. • The Lightning is heading home — to the conference final. It's anything but routine, but it has happened three times in six seasons. Meanwhile, going deep in the playoffs is what Boyle does nonstop. Winning follows him around. • He joined the Lightning last season, and the team made the Stanley Cup final. The year before, Boyle helped the Rangers to the final. And he once led Boston College to consecutive NCAA championship games. • Lost those finals. Lost those title games. • Duly noted. • "Yeah, I'm tired of finishing second," Boyle said with a smile a few weeks ago. • Here he is, chasing that championship with his latest batch of brothers.

"I love the family thing," Boyle, 31, said. "I've been blessed to have people around me my whole life. I've always been on a team, been part of something. It's always about more than one guy. It's amazing when you can accomplish things, especially difficult things. Any kind of success you have, when you can share it with people, it's that much more special."

Put together a list of Lightning headliners and Boyle's name isn't on the front page. Fine by him. But in that dressing room, he's a towering figure, and not just because he's 6 feet 7. There's quiet leadership and confidence. The term "glue guy," cliche as it is, sticks to Boyle.

Plus it has been an eventful postseason for the big fellow. Not that last year's playoffs weren't (Boyle's wife, Lauren, gave birth to Declan, their first child, during the Eastern Conference final), but this year has been different.

There was Boyle's rousing "chicken dance" in the Detroit series as he skated away from fightless bird Justin Abdelkader. That will be a righteous highlight if the Lightning eventually puts together a championship video.

"Hopefully it becomes something," Boyle said. "But we're not there yet. We're not there."

Early in overtime of Game 3 in the Islanders series, it was Boyle who (legally) crushed Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey, who had rocked Jonathan Drouin earlier in the game and Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman with a head hit late in the regular season. Think Boyle hadn't jotted down Hickey's license plate?

There's more. Boyle followed play into New York's end and scored the OT winner.

There's still more. Boyle scored in the Lightning's Game 5 clincher with a nifty pass to himself (absolutely Vinny Lecavalier-esque) before he roofed one.

It's not what you would normally expect from Boyle, but the guy will fool you. Big as he is, he's no oaf. He's a deceivingly good skater, has great hands and can finish what he starts.

Maybe we lose sight of that because he's busy doing so many other things — leading the penalty kill, winning faceoffs, factoring in on the Lightning power play he joined late in the season. Last year, Boyle even joined the defense when the team's back line was ambushed by injures. He's a little bit of everything, with a knack for delivering in moments that matter.

Question: If the Lightning wins the Cup, does Boyle land on Dancing With the Stars or a Chick-fil-A billboard or both? Someone tell the cows they're out.

"I didn't picture some of the things that have gone on," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "Know what you picture? You picture a guy who's going to help you get to a conference final and the Stanley Cup final and eventually win the Stanley Cup."

You picture Brian Boyle, showing up wherever and whenever he's needed. Anything for team and family.

 
Comments
Lightning beats Predators in overtime

Lightning beats Predators in overtime

NASHVILLE — Steven Stamkos’ celebration said it all.The Lightning captain delivered an emphatic fist pump after his rocket one-timer clanked in off the crossbar, tying the score with just over two minutes left at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday night. T...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Lightning journal: Mikhail Sergachev a healthy scratch

Lightning journal: Mikhail Sergachev a healthy scratch

NASHVILLE — Lightning rookie D Mikhail Sergachev was a healthy scratch Tuesday for the first time this season.Coach Jon Cooper didn’t elaborate before a 4-3 overtime victory over the Predators, just labeling it a "coach’s decision."It was a bold deci...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Joe Smith’s takeaways from Lightning-Predators

Steven Stamkos is showing signs of snapping out of his slump. Stamkos, who Tuesday snapped a nine-game goal drought, had more jump (and four shots) Monday. On Tuesday, Stamkos had a slick setup on a 2-on-1 for Vladislav Namestnikov’s goal. Stamkos’ 3...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Mikhail Sergachev healthy scratch against Predators

Mikhail Sergachev healthy scratch against Predators

Lightning rookie defenseman Mikhail Sergachev was a healthy scratch Tuesday for the first time this season.Coach Jon Cooper didn't elaborate on the move, just labeling it a "coach's decision."It was a bold decision, especially with the team already w...
Updated: 7 hours ago
A fan's guide to the fun and celebrities at Tampa's NHL All-Star Game

A fan's guide to the fun and celebrities at Tampa's NHL All-Star Game

So you don’t have a ticket to the NHL All-Star Game on Sunday in Tampa, but you still want to feel like you’re in on the action. No problem. “Our mindset is, few are honored with a ticket to the game,” said Steve Mayer, the N...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Louis Domingue gets start, relishing second chance with Lightning

Louis Domingue gets start, relishing second chance with Lightning

Louis Domingue is back to his old rookie days.He's living in a hotel, unsure how long he'll stick in the NHL. All the Tampa Bay backup goalie knows is he's starting tonight against Nashville.But Domingue, 25, doesn't mind at all, considering he nearl...
Published: 01/23/18
Jones: Tampa Bay needs a playoff push. Save us, Lightning

Jones: Tampa Bay needs a playoff push. Save us, Lightning

Stammer. Vasy. Kuuuuch.It's up to you guys now.Heddy. Johnnie. Coop.We need you now more than ever.A community turns its lonely eyes to you, Tampa Bay Lightning. Time to save us. You're all we have.The Rays? Pitchers and catchers and allegedly Matt D...
Published: 01/23/18
Andrei Vasilevskiy returns to MVP form for Lightning

Andrei Vasilevskiy returns to MVP form for Lightning

Nobody in the Lightning dressing room was worried about goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy.Sure, Vasilevskiy had allowed 23 goals in his last five starts, with just one win. It was his first tough stretch in his first full season as No. 1, even though it ...
Published: 01/23/18
Andrei Vasilevskiy, Lightning shut out Blackhawks

Andrei Vasilevskiy, Lightning shut out Blackhawks

CHICAGO — Turns out, Andrei Vasilevskiy is all right.And, believe it or not, so is the Lightning’s penalty kill, which was the unlikely hero in Monday’s streak-snapping 2-0 win over the Blackhawks at the United Center.Vasilevskiy, 23, played like the...
Published: 01/22/18
Lightning angered by slash that has Ondrej Palat out 6-8 weeks

Lightning angered by slash that has Ondrej Palat out 6-8 weeks

CHICAGO — The Lightning got more bad news Monday with wing Ondrej Palat out 6-8 weeks with a lower-body injury. It’s a big blow to a struggling Tampa Bay team, which is now without its top defense­man (Victor Hedman) and now arguably its best defensi...
Published: 01/22/18