SAN JOSE -– Former Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle was appreciative of the video tribute and subsequent ovation from the SAP Center crowd on Saturday in his return to the building that he called home for the previous six seasons.
"It felt great. I'm so thankful and grateful to be at this level in the NHL, in this league and to have played for this team for six years - just very thankful and grateful,” said Boyle, now with the New York Rangers. "It was an amazing moment. It was just a minute long, but that's going to stay with me for a lifetime."
Boyle had a wide grin on his face while watching the tribute on the jumbotron from the bench. Members of both teams tapped their sticks on the ice or the boards in recognition of the respected veteran, who then stood up and waved to the endearing sellout crowd.
The tribute came in the first period, although it had to be delayed, as the 38-year-old suffered a broken nose early on that required repairs in the dressing room.
“I took an elbow right away and I was bleeding pretty good,” Boyle said. “I don't know how many liters are in the body, but I lost a few, and then I took another one in the third. It started pouring down again. I was struggling to get through my shifts.”
Boyle finished with one shot on goal and six shot attempts in nearly 19 minutes of ice time. The Rangers beat the Sharks, 3-1, to sweep a California road trip and win for the 13th time in their last 14 games.
"Three games in four nights against possibly the toughest stretch of teams,” Boyle said. "We all know what their records are. Found a way to win. That's what it was tonight, guys digging deep. We've got to keep riding this wave for as long as we can."