Boyd enjoys playing with tough guys

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:54 AM ET

Brian McGrattan, one of the league's top heavyweights, usually patrols the right wing when Dustin Boyd hits the ice.

Brandon Prust, the league's most active knuckle chucker, is on the left side.

You can guess Boyd feels a couple shots of tequila tougher when those two are with him.

"Oh definitely," Boyd said. "They're tough, and they can play the game, too. You saw it (against Vancouver). It's a good feeling on the ice.

"Those guys will fight anyone. Prust will fight anyone, and Grats is a super-heavyweight. Being out there, you know you're safe and there won't be guys running you. Playing with them is a good thing."

They're having an impact on Boyd's game, too.

Boyd isn't small by everyday standards, but the 6-foot, 187-lb. centre tends to be in the sites of opposing checkers.

Having McGrattan and Prust around gives him space not usually afforded the 23-year-old from Winnipeg.

"They're big boys, get hard on the forecheck and finish their checks and create turnovers," Boyd said. "That way, it helps the lot. I think when I get the puck, I get more space."

At first glance, you'd think a speedy, skilled player like Boyd would be suppressed playing alongside the likes of McGrattan and Prust.

However, Boyd is making it work because of his big brothers.

"I told him, 'Go out there and play tough, play chippy, chirp, whatever, because nobody's going to do anything to you because I'll get him,' " McGrattan said with a smile.

"I think he does have more confidence because he doesn't have to worry about a cheapshot or after-the-whistle hit. He can play his game.

"He's easy to play with. He goes straight up and down. He works hard. He's always in the right position. It's been fun playing with him.

"And he knows what he's going to get from us. We play simple, go out there and do our job. Hopefully, we can stay together."

Staying part of any trio would be a switch from the norm for Boyd.

Through his whole career, he's bounced all over the roster in an attempt to find a role on the Flames.

"This is my first year playing with Grats, but Prust, I've played with before," Boyd said. "He can make plays. He's a good player. He can fight but is also a good player."

Through nine games, Boyd has collected two goals and five points. That's an 18-goal, 45-point pace, which would obliterate his career bests: 11 goals and 22 points

"It's capitalizing on chances," Boyd said. "I've had chances almost every game but missed the net or hit the post or whatever. I feel my game's coming around, too."

Moss up in air

RW David Moss practised with the team for the second day in a row and proclaimed he could play tonight against the Oilers, but head coach Brent Sutter said he wouldn't decide whether to insert him into the lineup until game-time.

Moss skated on a four-man fourth line with Dustin Boyd, Brian McGrattan and Brandon Prust. Seeing as the Oilers are likely to dress a fourth line of Zack Stortini, Ethan Moreau and Steve MacIntyre, it's doubtful Moss will play in that situation.

RANDY.SPORTAK@SUNMEDIA.CA


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