Boyle bolsters Monarchs’ lineup

by Melissa Loughran || AHL On The Beat Archive

head-boyle_200.jpgThe Manchester Monarchs have welcomed back with open arms their quick-handed center Brian Boyle.

Boyle, assigned to the Monarchs on Dec. 2, spent the beginning of the season with Manchester’s NHL affiliate, the Los Angles Kings. Suiting up for 14 games with the Kings, he recorded one goal and 12 penalty minutes and owned a minus-7 rating. He was also a healthy scratch eight times.

Now, he will rediscover his game with his Monarchs teammates.

"I learned a lot of things (in Los Angeles)," said Boyle, "the main thing being keeping two hands on the stick, especially on board battles and along the walls in the defensive zone. When I started doing that, I had no real trouble knocking guys off the puck and getting the puck back on my stick. I also learned that no matter what the situation, you want to get the puck and start creating things. Now in Manchester, I have more opportunities to do that through more playing time."

Standing at 6-foot-7 and weighing 244 pounds, Boyle will be a large asset at center ice. He brings back to Manchester his quick hands, size and on-ice intelligence. With his ability to see openings and develop holes, he will be a key asset for many Manchester wins to come.

"He has the advantage of unbelievable reach and touch around the net," explained Monarchs head coach Mark Morris. "He distributes the puck very well and has the ability to make other players around him better because he’s a very creative player. Offensively and defensively he is an intimidating presence."

In the 2007-08 season, the 22-year-old debuted in his first career NHL game on Feb. 2 against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center. After a long and stressful drive from New Hampshire to Newark that day, Boyle racked up his first three NHL points — including his first goal — in a 6-3 Kings loss.

boyleWith nothing to lose and making the best of his experience, he returned to the Monarchs on Feb. 17.

Boyle coming back a wiser and more experienced competitor played a key part in the Monarchs’ run to the 2008 playoffs. In his 70 games with Manchester last season, Boyle contributed 31 goals along with 31 assists and was named to the AHL’s All-Rookie Team.

Unfortunately, in the Monarchs’ game against the Worcester Sharks on Apr. 5, Boyle was pinned up against the boards and suffered a leg injury which kept him out of the postseason.

Boyle was a first-round draft pick in 2003 by Los Angles and he made his professional debut in hockey with the Monarchs during the 2007 Calder Cup Playoffs. Prior to his NHL signing, he was a four-year member of the Boston College Eagles. During his time with the Eagles, he was awarded numerous accolades including All-Tournament honors at the NCAA Frozen Four in 2007. During the 2006-07 season, he was named a senior captain for the Eagles. From 2003-07, he collected 140 points and 294 penalty minutes in 159 games.

Boyle’s return to Manchester brightens the Monarchs’ outlook for 2008-09, as he brings back many intangible assets. He already had seven points in his first eight games back with the AHL club.

“He’s experienced a lot of things in his young career that really bode well for his professional career. He’s played against a lot of great players and will continue to grow as a player because of his willingness to listen and learn and get better at the game,” said coach Morris.

Off the ice, Boyle hopes to be a leader as well as play offensively on the ice by scoring goals and being effective in all situations. With his simple wristers from the low slot, and large frame that he uses to block the goalies view, he will be a guiding presence for teammates and a major threat for opponents to come.