Frozen Four: Q&A with Brian Boyle

By DJ Powers

Towering Boston College junior and Los Angeles Kings prospect Brian Boyle had an outstanding season. He finished second on the team in scoring with 52 points (22 goals, 30 assists) having appeared in every game this season. He has been an integral part of Boston College’s success this season. His stellar season earned him a selection to the Hockey East All-Conference First Team and more recently, he was named to the All-American East Second Team.

Hockey’s Future spoke with Boyle after practice on Friday at the Bradley Center, a day before the championship game.

HF: You’ve been enjoying a terrific season this year. What is the aspect in your growth and development process as a player that has allowed you to have such a great season?

BB: Well thank you. I guess it’s just the coaches pushing me and that includes our strength coaches, as well as the offseason and summertime stuff. I’ve just tried to get faster and stronger each year and play with more confidence. With that, the coaches give me more roles to play with and the confidence that they have in me has allowed me to use that to my advantage. I’m blessed to be able to have a better year this year than last year and the same thing the year before that. I try to get better every single year and so far I’m lucky to do that. Being able to play with a guy like Chris Collins really helps too.

HF: What is it like playing with Chris?

BB: Ah, it’s a lot of fun actually. It’s pretty obvious that we’re having a lot of fun out there, especially when Chris is scoring. We get a lot of chances. It’s the same thing with Brock (Bradford), who plays on my right side. You give it to Chris and you’re pretty confident that he’s going to score a goal. When he gives it to me, I’m pretty confident that I have a pretty good chance of scoring the goal and the same thing with Brock too. We get really excited when each of us scores. It’s good chemistry with the line. It is really remarkable watching Chris this year.

HF: Do you feel that you and Chris just know where the other are when you’re both out there?

BB: Having played with him for a long time, I kind of know where he’s going to go with the puck. There are certain body positions and certain things that he does and just little things like that I just know and it’s the things like that. I think he does (and knows) the same things about me. When we call out for each other we know where the other is. That’s just typically how it is, even if we can’t see each other, because we’ve been playing together for a while. You’re just clicking. He’s got a great scoring ability, so I just feed to him and he does put it in, which is unbelievable for me and for the whole team because it is just a big lift for us. It’s a confidence that we have that is really important.

HF: You’re a big guy, but you’re utilizing your size and reach a lot more effectively this season. It’s not just in being the big body in front of the net but also in being able to create a lot more space for your teammates. Was that an area that you strived to improve and do well in coming into this season?

BB: Yeah, I think so. It’s something that I have that I can use to my advantage. If I can perfect it or at least get it to the point where it is effective then all the better. I think last year it was just more like staying on my feet, outmuscling guys in the corners, holding guys off and then create space that way. Now, it’s coming through the middle, holding on to pucks with my reach and let Chris and Brock kind of fly up the wings. I try to bait the opposing defense into coming to try and poke check me then defy them so that they (Chris and Brock) can go. It’s opened up from just in the corners last season to all over the ice this year. I’m using my long reach with the puck to help create opportunities for my linemates. Defensively it has helped me out well in the defensive zone and in five-on-five and penalty killing situations too.

HF: Coming into the NCAA Tournament, you guys struggled a bit down the stretch towards the end of the regular season. But then you beat your archrivals Boston University and a great Miami team in the Northeast Regional. Did that give you a jump-start as well as some motivation into thinking that maybe you can go all the way and win the national championship?

BB: Yes. We actually started playing better against Vermont, Maine and then BU in the Hockey East championship game. We were happy with how we were playing and getting back on track but we weren’t playing well before that. We were losing. Even though we lost to BU in the (Hockey East) championship game at least we were playing better. We came out against Miami and beat Miami 5-0 and that was a kick-start for the championship series. We were nervous but we wanted to come out and prove that we did well this season. At Boston College we do well usually. We proved a lot of the people wrong who had written us off for the season. It was exciting for us. In the game against BU, it was one of the most unbelievable wins. It was great beating them 5-0 in the way we did. It was emotional and we were so excited if you watched us after the game. We know that we have work to do.

HF: Outside of your offensive abilities and your size, what is the one greatest asset that you bring to Boston College?

BB: That’s tough. I just try and do what the guys before me have done that have been successful and a great part of the program. Being around Ben Eaves this year and back in my freshman year, I just kind of watch him around other people when he’s giving advice or listening to other people. He’s a great leader and he’s a great listener too. He takes a lot in and he can really inspire people. It’s the same thing with the coaching staff. Coach York is the most successful coach that’s coaching right now. Peter Harrold, Chris Collins and Stephen Gionta have been unbelievable leaders for us. I just try to be like those guys because they’re great people and great leaders. If I can be anything like them, then I can pass that on to next year’s guys. Our senior class can pass it down to our junior class and it can sort of build on itself. If I can be a part of that, then that’ll be something that I can be proud of.

HF: Finally, there are a lot of Kings fans out there that just can’t wait to see you don a Kings jersey. What is your feeling about all of that?

BB: I think it’s pretty exciting. I’m really happy to hear that about the Kings fans out there too. But I think I’ll have to cross that bridge when I get there. I’m at a great spot right now at BC and we have a chance to win the national title. I’m fortunate to have been drafted by the Kings. It’s obviously a great organization and headed by some great people. Time will tell to see what happens.

HF: Have they been keeping tabs on you this year?

BB: They’ve been to some games this year and have talked with the coaches. I haven’t really spoken with them. I plan to finish up with a successful year this year and be a part of BC next year for my senior year. It’ll be an important year for us. When I get to the Kings organization, I’ll be fortunate that I’ll be at a place where they care about winning.

Copyright 2006 Hockey’s Future. Do not reprint or otherwise duplicate without permission of the editorial staff.