‘Like a brother’: Rangers react to Brian Boyle’s cancer diagnosis
Brian Boyle, after disclosing Tuesday he had been diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia, told one friend who reached out to him that night he had been “blown away by the support I’ve received.”
Henrik Lundqvist, who was a teammate of Boyle’s throughout the center’s five-year run on Broadway from 2009-10 through the 2014 Stanley Cup final, smiled when that was relayed to him Tuesday.
“He’s one of the best guys I’ve played with and he comes from a great family,” Lundqvist, one of those to offer his personal support, said. “It’s not a surprise to me at all to hear he is receiving that kind of response.”
Boyle had played parts of two seasons with the Kings prior to coming to New York in a trade. The 32-year-old native of Hingham, Mass., thereafter spent nearly three seasons with the Lightning and the final month of the 2016-17 season with the Maple Leafs before signing a two-year, free-agent deal with the Devils this summer.
Devils team physician Michael Farber said on a conference call that CML, a type of bone-marrow cancer, was caught early and is treatable with medication. Boyle, who said he feels “as close to normal as you can feel,” is hopeful he will be able to play in the Devils’ Oct. 7 season opener at the Rock.
“It is beyond fair to say that he took me under his wing,” said Chris Kreider, who shares a Boston College heritage with Boyle and shared the room with him for the final two-plus years of his Blueshirt tenure after No. 20 arrived on the cusp of the 2012 playoffs. “One hundred percent, that’s what he did.
“When I was trying to decide whether to sign or go back to school for my senior year, Brian was the first guy to call me and offer me advice. And then when I got here, he was like a big brother to me on and off the ice.
“He’s always been like a big brother to me,” said Kreider, who chatted with Boyle Tuesday. “He has a positive attitude about this and a great support system from his family and friends.
“We’re all behind him.”