I often forget other people have limitations. It’s so sad.
- Sheldon Cooper
I guess John Tortorella wasn’t joking around, eh?
Less than two days after Torts made comments about Chris Kreider and JT Miller taking some players’ jobs, the NHL’s softest 245 lbs. player, Brian Boyle, finds himself a healthy against the New York Islanders.
Boyle had been receiving steady minutes on the 3rd line because of a lack of other options, however, that all changed on Tuesday night. Miller showed up against the Devils, performed exceptionally well, and before you could blink Boyle was sitting on the bench for most of the game. He now finds himself on the sidelines in favor of the 19-year-old.
Boyle has been dreadful this season with one point in nine games. He seems to be on a steady decline since peaking two years ago, when he scored 21 goals. He still makes solid contributions on the penalty kill, blocking shots, and attempting to throw his body around (I use that term loosely based on sheer volume), but the Rangers need more from him.
Boyle took full responsibility for his poor play saying,
“I’m just not playing well enough. I’m making mistakes and everybody makes mistakes but I am not contributing enough or playing to where I can play to. It’s not for a lack of effort, but there is no moral victories when you are 4-5.”
The only point I disagree with him on is the “not playing to where I can” part. I think the Brian Boyle we’ve seen over recent times is the real Brian Boyle. His 2010 always seemed like a fluke and was skewed by an incredible and unsustainable streak early in the season. Over a 121 regular season games since the 2010-11 All-Star Game Boyle has just 14 goals (.12 goals per game).
He is what he is. A 4th line grinder who can give you huge minutes on the penalty kill and the occasional goal, nothing more and nothing less. His contract might say otherwise, but that is all he will be.
All that being said, I do not see this as a long term move to the bench and like him on the team’s 4th line.
Taking Boyle’s spot in the lineup the captain Ryan Callahan. It is impossible to question Cally’s heart and toughness coming back so fast. I just hope this move is not reactionary to Tuesday night’s performance and he is close to 100 percent. Even at 40 percent he cannot be much worse than most of the Rangers were against the Devils, but the Rangers need him to be healthy for the stretch run so hopefully he feels perfectly fine.
Callahan will be on a line with Kreider and Miller–an All-American line full of speed, grit, and ability.