Brian Boyle is a player who often gets criticized from New York Rangers fans, mostly because he has been inconsistently physical for his entire career as a Ranger. What I mean by this is that some games he’ll finish his checks, and others he holds up and lightly shoves his opponent. It is very frustrating, because a lot of the times it looks as if Boyle’s effort is lacking, and since he is not a goal scorer by any stretch of the imagination, using his size is key to being an effective player; if he doesn’t, then all he is good for is winning faceoffs and taking up space.
For a man of Boyle’s size (6-foot-7 , 244 pounds), you just have to consistently use your size as a strength, because there are not that many players taller and bigger than Boyle in the NHL. I cannot say for sure what Boyle will do in future games for the Rangers and if he will be able to maintain any consistency, but I have to give Boyle credit for last night, as I was most impressed by his physical game.
Last night, on a big stage outdoors at Yankee Stadium against the Rangers’ biggest rivals, the New York Islanders, Boyle showed up, and showed up with authority, throughout most of the contest. Not only did he get an assist on the game winning goal in a tight 2-1 win over the Islanders, but his physical impact was felt throughout the game.
I have to say that never, in all the games that I have seen Boyle play, have I ever seen him this physical out there on the ice. Three or four times during the game I saw Boyle just completely lay out an Islanders’ player and knock them on their behinds. He was also strong on the puck offensively and defensively, and was able to force turnovers.
Without a doubt, last night was the most physical and effective Boyle I have ever seen. The only problem is that Boyle has shown time and time again that he is highly inconsistent, so while I was very impressed with his overall game and use of his size last night against the Islanders, I know in the back of my head this very well could have just been a one game thing.