Thursday, July 19, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Former Lightning forward Brian Boyle diagnosed with cancer, expects to keep playing

New Jersey Devils forward Brian Boyle has been diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia, a type of bone-marrow cancer that the team's doctor said can largely be treated with medication.

Boyle has been away from the team during training camp while getting diagnosed. On a conference call Tuesday, Boyle said he hopes to start playing hockey again soon.

"We have a good plan of attack here and I'm looking forward to getting on the ice and playing," Boyle said. "When that happens I don't know, but my mindset is Oct. 7."

Boyle, who played last season with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs and whose wife, Lauren, had a baby girl in May, said he felt mostly fatigued but chalked it up to life events. General manager Ray Shero said the cancer was discovered in bloodwork during the Devils' team physicals at the start of camp.

CML is the same disease that former NHL forward Jason Blake played through after being diagnosed in 2007. Boyle said he hasn't reached out to Blake to discuss how he dealt with it.

Boyle said based on what team doctor Michael Farber and others have told him, he expects to live his life under normal conditions. The 32-year-old signed a $5.5 million, two-year deal with New Jersey in July.

"We are in a good place right now," Boyle said. "With the potential of what it could have been and what it turned out to be, I think that's a positive thing."

Farber said the Devils "are awaiting further testing results that will help guide management in any possible return to play."

Boyle is a veteran of 624 NHL games with the Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers, Lightning and Maple Leafs and has 93 goals and 76 assists. The Devils signed him for his veteran leadership and faceoff abilities.

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