Long-shot Boyle pays off huge

By STEVE SIMMONS, QMI Agency



VANCOUVER - Dan Boyle has looked around and done the Team Canada numerology.

Ten is the number of Top 3 draft picks on the Canadian roster at the Olympic Games. Nine is the number of other first-round picks on the squad. Three players were taken in the second round.

And then thereís him: The undrafted, undersized Canadian. The career afterthought.

The only defenceman on Team Canada once traded for a fifth-round draft pick, after being signed as a collegiate free agent.

Boyle understands his route to the Olympic Games is unique when compared with all the canít-miss-kids around him.

ďYeah, I take a certain pride in that,Ē Boyle, 34, said Thursday, in the last interview availability before tonightís semifinal game against Slovakia. ďIím going to write a book when Iím done. Iíve certainly had my share of ups and downs, a roller-coaster ride, really, and Iím really proud of that. There were a lot of challenges along the way.

ďA lot of people doubted me over the years but I never have. I stayed confident even though others around me werenít. All that is part of who I am. And thatís never going to change. I hang onto those feelings. I will hang onto them until Iím done.Ē

Boyle was asked what happened in his draft year and the truth is, he doesnít remember what year it was. Based on his age, he was first eligible to be selected in 1994. Wade Belak was a first-round choice on defence. Boyle was never considered by anyone.

ďI donít know that I had a draft year,Ē he said. ďI didnít even come close to getting a phone call or anything. I got passed over every year.Ē

Now, instead of getting passed over, he gets passed to, and, better than that, leads the Canadian offence. In the definitive Team Canada victory against Russia, it was Boyle who got the offence going in the first period, setting up two goals and scoring once.

It was the kind of offensive output that has been evident of late with this Canadian team and was completely absent four years ago in Turin, when Boyle was on the Canadian team as an alternate but never got to play.

Typical of his career, he was passed over for Bryan McCabe and Wade Redden ó first-round picks who were nowhere near his equal.

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