Boyle makes impact in first game
By CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency
VANCOUVER — Team Canada defenceman Dan Boyle has come quite a ways in four years.
It was a long ride from the taxi squad in Italy to driving the bus in Vancouver.
The 33-year-old Ottawa native led Team Canada in ice time in their opening game 8-0 win over Norway Tuesday night with 20 minutes and 12 seconds of ice time, but despite being asked to play such a large role by Canadian coach Mike Babcock, Boyle isn’t taking anything for granted heading into this afternoon’s game against Switzerland.
“I didn’t know what to expect. None of us knew really knew what to expect,” said Boyle, who added two assists and was a team-best plus-4 in the victory.
“Everybody plays tons of minutes on their own team. On this team here, everybody is going to have to play different roles. I’m sure it’s going to be on a game-to-game basis, but it was great to be on the ice quite a bit. I felt good out there. I’m just hoping to help out.”
As the game against Norway unfolded, line combinations and defensive pairings were fluid. Boyle was followed in ice time by defenceman Shea Weber (19:40) and veteran Chris Pronger (19:08). Brent Seabrook of the Chicago Blackhawks ended up playing the least amount of time on the blue-line among the seven defencemen with 8:46.
After being a spectator in Italy, Boyle is soaking up the chance to be on the ice in the middle of the red and white hurricane in GM Place.
“it was great. The fans were awesome. It’s just an amazing feeling. Whether you’ve been in the league for a year or two or been in the league for 10 years like some of us, 15 years, it’s just an amazing feeling,” he said.
After struggling to score goals in Italy — Canada was shutout in three of its last four games — Boyle said it was an even better feeling to shake loose offensively against Norway.
“It was nice to put some pucks in the net, finally. It got us feeling pretty good, but it’s only going to get harder from here on out, but it was a good start.”