For each player who suited up in a Blueshirt this season we will take the good, we will take the bad and take them both and see what we have. And this time around we started with the high numbers and are up to #22, Brian Boyle.
#22's #s: 82 games, 21 goals, 14 assists, +2, 74 PIM (5 playoff games, no goals, no assists, -1, 6 PIM).
Take the good: The much-discussed skating lessons clearly helped as Boyle won himself a spot on the Rangers in camp. He had just four goals and two assists in '09-10 and blew both of those numbers away in '10-11. He played every single game in the campaign and shocked the world with 21 goals. He actually led the team in shots with 218 and had 11 points in 12 games in December. When put in the middle between Brandon Prust and Ruslan Fedotenko, Boyle helped provide the Rangers with one fantastic forechecking fourth line. Of course, they were used as the third - if not second - but that is the subject of another post. He combined with Mats Zuccarello to make one funny sight gag.
Take the bad: Boyle closed with just one goal in his last 24 games (including playoffs) despite firing off 74 shots. And he had all of three assists during that span. For all of his size, Boyle rarely planted himself in the slot and he is clearly not a fighter. He also won less than half of the faceoffs he took (48.5%).
Take them both and then we have: A player who took a huge stride in his career. Boyle earned nearly twice the ice time that he had the season before but the extra work and the extra responsibility wore on him. Teams started playing him tougher over the course of the year and, instead of simplifying his game, he tried to be fancy and he is not a fancy player. At no point - ever - should Boyle be attempting a blind pass or a spin-o-rama. The realization of that fact and a strong summer of training will help him prove his 35 points were no fluke.