SUN Hockey Pool

Boyle bitter at lockout

AL STRACHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:11 AM ET

INNSBRUCK, Austria -- Team Canada defenceman Dan Boyle loved playing in Stockholm this year.

One of his teammates on the Tampa Bay Lightning, former Maple Leaf Freddy Modin, encouraged him to give the city a try, and he did.

"I was told that it was pretty amazing over there, and sure enough it was," Boyle said.

Even so, he still harbours a bitterness about not having been able to play in the National Hockey League and to enjoy a season as a member of the defending Stanley Cup champions.

"We missed out on the ring ceremony," Boyle said. "Only half our team has their rings because only half the team was in town when they gave them out.

"I don't know the exact number, but I'd say only 12 or 13 of us were in town when they gave them out. A couple of us flew in just for it. But we missed other things as well. We didn't get to see the banner raised, or go to the White House, the little things that you do as champions.

"I definitely felt cheated."

Granted, the Lightning will still be the defending champion when the NHL lockout ends.

But Boyle said he feels the aura will be different.

Had they played this year, he said, "the whole year you want to repeat, and usually, every building you go into it creates a little more energy for the fans.

"But who knows? When we do come back, what kind of team are we going to have with the contract situation? A lot of contracts have expired.

"What about a guy like Dave Andreychuk? Will he be back?"

Boyle is glad the owners have scrapped the concept of replacement players. To have unknowns masquerading as the defending champions and sharing the glory would have been a travesty.

"It's just not right," Boyle said.

"It wouldn't be right to have another guy wearing No. 22 and seeing the banner go up.

"You have to earn it."


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