Leafs' Boyce gets shot at redemption

STEVE BUFFERY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:57 PM ET

TORONTO - It was F. Scott Fitzgerald who said there are no second acts in American lives. Fortunately, Darryl Boyce is Canadian.

In just over three seasons as a pro, the Summerside, P.E.I., native played in exactly one NHL game, and that wasn’t anything to write home about.

Signed by the Leafs as an unrestricted free agent in 2008, Boyce was called up for a game on Jan. 24, 2008 against Washington but was knocked out of action after suffering a separated shoulder during his fifth shift, having played a grand total of three minutes and 20 seconds. He missed the remainder of the season after undergoing surgery and didn’t get another shot with the Leafs the past two seasons.

But Thursday, the former Parry Sound Shamrock was called up from the Marlies in place of Mikhail Grabovski, whose girlfriend went into labour Thursday, and played alongside Grabovski’s usual linemates, Nikolai Kulemin and Clarke MacArthur.

“I’m glad (because) the questions may stop about when I got hurt in my first game: ‘Was it the first shift? Was it the second shift?’ So it was good getting back out there and it felt pretty comfortable,” he said.

Boyce made his presence felt right away with a solid defensive play, trying up Jared Boll in front of the Leafs net. Boll had a wide open net but couldn’t get the shot off because of Boyce.

“I think that’s why I got my shot here. I try to play good defence in the American league and we get matched up against the top AHL players,” said Boyce, who got the call from the Leafs early in the afternoon.

After the play on Boll, Boyce recorded his first NHL point, assisting on Kulemin’s goal, though he didn’t get to keep the puck.

“I don’t know where it is,” Boyce said. “But hopefully they’ll be more points, so we won’t get hung up on one point.”

Boyce would have added a goal in the first if not for a glorious glove save by Columbus goaltender Steve Mason.

Boyce, who was undrafted, has six goals and 10 assists in 35 games with the Marlies this season.

THE GOOD AND THE BAD

The Leafs played hard and tough, blocking 25 shots, as compared to 10 by the Blue Jackets. Defenceman Francois Beauchemin blocked four alone. But they were also sloppy, recording 10 giveaways, all but one by their defencemen. Also, the Blue Jackets had six takeaways compared to the Leafs’ zero.

CRAZY STATS OF THE DAY

It’s no shock that Tomas Kaberle leads all current Leafs with 856 games played for the blue and white, but do you know who is second? None other than Nikolai Kulemin, who played his 187th for the Leafs last night. Who would have thunk it? Here’s another wild stat: Boyce became the first Leaf ever to wear No.47.

WILD AND WEIRD STUFF

Maple Leafs organist Jimmy Holmstrom is sort of the Paul Shaffer of the NHL, playing bits that represent the visiting guests. The personable Holmstrom launched into a rendition of Yummy, Yummy, Yummy prior to Thursday game, a song first recorded by the Ohio Express, as a tip of the hat to the Columbus Blue Jackets ... Blue Jays broadcaster Jerry Howarth was in the press box before the game. Howarth is an old friend of Blue Jackets TV analyst Bob McElligott, who was the voice of the Syracuse Chiefs, the Jays old triple-A affiliate ... The Leafs had guys dressed in blue tights in the stands, imitating the green men from Vancouver. Does this organization ever have an original thought? Then again, the Vancouver guys probably stole the bit from the Blue Man Group.


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