Dan Boyle scratched again, who did he piss off?

Boyle (Neil Miller)

Boyle (Neil Miller)

Ok. We knew that Dan Boyle‘s playing time was going to be scaled back from comments Alain Vigneault made yesterday, but scratched in consecutive games? It just doesn’t make sense and Boyle certainly isn’t happy about it.

Sure the Rangers play tomorrow night against Phoenix but is there something else going on here? According to Alain Vigneault today, he wants to see Dylan McIlrath play in consecutive games. Also the struggling Avalanche are an easier opponent than the Coyotes, who move the puck very quickly which Boyle may be better suited for.

Still, we are 13 games into the year and this is the 3rd scratch for Boyle. He was scratched back in October after a 5-2 comeback win against Columbus where he had an assist and was a +2. Of course, his decision making those first three games wasn’t up to par as far as AV was concerned. His turnovers were also atrocious so he was benched for the next game against Winnipeg.

Many speculated this was to light a fire under Boyle, but it didn’t work. When he returned against Montreal he likely had his worst game of the season and was on the ice for all 3 goals against. In the subsequent 7 games leading up to these back to back scratches, Boyle has picked up just 1 assist giving his only 2 points on the year. Of course, those who love corsi as a way to measure performance are applauding the fact that when he’s on the ice, he helps drive possession.

Fancy stats be damned, at 4.5M a year, he needs to score more.

So what’s going on here? Honestly, it appears that the head coach is looking to give the old man more time off (Boyle is 39 steamrolling to 40). Plus, McIlrath needs to play at his young age to develop. The Rangers can’t send him down because he will be picked up off waivers and if they are actively trying to trade him, none of the major insiders have even muttered it.

Of course, Boyle is a very proud athlete and if these scratches continue how long before he starts to let it be known. Maybe Boyle hasn’t pissed anyone off, but it may not be too long before Boyle is pissed off about his situation. Would he then be open to waiving his no trade clause? You don’t think that maybe that the game-plan here do you? Nah.

Then again…score more and everyone will be happy.