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02-07-2013, 11:23 AM
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Healthy scratch Boyle: “I’ve got to be better”

Brian Boyle, who has one assist and is a minus-3 in nine games, plus was benched for about a 14-minute stretch in the third period of Tuesday’s 3-1 loss at New Jersey, will be a healthy scratch tonight against the Islanders.

And after a hard conditioning skate along with fellow healthy scratch, defenseman Stu Bickel, Boyle reflected upon what has led to tonight’s benching.

And what he needs to do to rejoin the lineup. Boyle played in all 82 games in each of the past two seasons and just the second time he’s been a healthy scratch since joining the Rangers for the 2009-10 season.

“I’m just not playing well enough, making mistakes,” Boyle said. “Everybody makes mistakes but I’m not contributing enough or playing to where I can play to. It’s not for a lack of effort but there’s no moral victories when you’re 4-5 and I need to have a lot more of an impact.

“I work hard as I can each day, I’ve always done that,” Boyle added. “Whether it’s a focus thing or an edge or a combination of a few things, in the games I just need to be harder and have more of an attitude and get back to playing a little bit more desperate. After the New Jersey game that night, there was a lot of reflection in trying to find what it was that made me effective. I need to figure it out and get back to it. There was a couple of mental errors in New Jersey. It hasn’t been there, the whole body of work this year hasn’t been there. There’s been up and downs. I don’t know what it is. It’s not reactive, there’s a little too much thinking and not enough confidence. Just things that can affect my whole game negatively and I need to figure out a way to get back to playing well because I know I can and I have. I’ve gone through spurts where I’ve played well, then played crappy and come out of it. I think they want me to do well and they’re going to coach me to do well and I need to prove to them that I can.”

Boyle being a healthy scratch is a manifestation of what coach John Tortorella spoke about yesterday and after the the loss to the Devils, that he does not have time in this shortened season to wait around for his players to find their games. Plus, Boyle, as you’ve read above, essentially echoed Tortorella’s description of tentative play on his part.

Boyle could be the first in a line of players who are healthy scratches.

I asked Boyle if he thought it was a motivational tool by Tortorella or just a function of Tortorella needing to have the players on the ice who are playing the best.

“It’s probably both,” Boyle said. “He’s going to put the guys out there he thinks can help him win the game. I think he wants me to do better, I think he wants me to play better, I think he knows I can play better, just like I do. It may be a little bit of both. The way I look at it, he’s talked to me, he’s coached me in different strategies and ways to try and get me going and this is just another way to do it. I know I’ve got to be better. It stinks but it is what it is.”

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