Windsor Star

Boyce inspires peers

Aging rookie in Leafs camp

- STAR STAFF AND NEWS SERVICES

HOCKEY NOTES

Darryl Boyce does not feel like a rookie any more.

For one, he has already played a game in the NHL. Plus, he is six years older than most of his teenaged teammates.

Then there are the whiskers on his face.

“It’s a little weird,” Boyce said of competing in a rookie tournament as a 24year-old. “I think that’s why I grew the beard, so I could feel that much older. I’m the veteran of this group, for sure.”

At this year’s four-team rookie tournament at Kitchener Memorial Auditorium, which wrapped up Monday night, the Leafs’ main objective was evaluating the developmen­t of their draft choices.

Boyce was chosen more for his experience than his raw potential.

A year ago, the Summerside, P.E.I., native did the remarkable: he left the University of New Brunswick to try out for the Ontario Hockey League’s Toronto Marlies and ended up being promoted to the Leafs roster.

Though he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in his one and only NHL shift, the defensive-minded forward proved that achieving your dreams is possible with perseveran­ce, hard work and luck.

One player who hopes to follow Boyce’s lead is Dan Rudisuela.

The forward graduated from St. Mary’s University in April. Now, the 25-year-old is looking to leap from Canadian Interunive­rsity Sport competitio­n to the Toronto Marlies and perhaps the Leafs.

“For a guy like Boyce to do so well, it really speaks to the CIS and shows that guys are capable of doing it,” the five- foot-seven Rudisuela said. “Boyce had a fantastic year last year and earned everything he got.

“He’s really an inspiratio­n to guys like myself.” St. Louis likes Tampa changes When Martin St. Louis arrived back in Tampa, he realized this isn’t the same Lightning team he left last spring.

In addition to new ownership, new coaching staff and new players, there is an apparent new attitude about winning from the previous owner, Bill Davidson.

“They have made our team better . . . it’s exciting,” St. Louis told the Tampa Tribune. “They have spent some money and they want to win.

“But these guys here, from the get-go have been hands on and they want to do whatever it takes to win.”

When players report for camp on Tuesday, they may need name tags to get to know each other.

“It’s weird, it’s definitely weird,” St. Louis said. “But at the same time, it’s the nature of the game, we have to move on.

“We will always have a special bond because of what we did winning a Stanley Cup in 2004, but that’s not now. Spezza covets Cup When someone asked Ottawa Senators centre Jason Spezza what was more important to him, becoming a solid two-way player or winning a scoring title, Spezza presented a third choice.

“Winning a Stanley Cup,” he said at the team’s annual charity golf tournament on Monday.

Still, back to the original question about a scoring title and defensive play.

“Why not do both?” Spezza said. “I want to help our team win and to be able to play in all situations.”

Fittingly, Spezza wore a solid black Toronto Blue Jays cap after his favourite baseball team had its playoff hopes quashed in Boston by losing three of four games on the weekend.

“It’s a sombre day,” Spezza said, laughing. “They blew it. I was just starting to believe again, and they let me down.” Ice chips The Detroit Red Wings have received league approval to add Derek Meech’s name to the Stanley Cup. The young defenceman didn’t play during the post- season, but played 32 regular-season games with the Wings . . . The Philadelph­ia Flyers announced Monday that backup goaltender Antero Niittymaki will be out for four-to-six weeks after having surgery on his left hip . . . Former Spitfire Kip Brennan signed to play this season with HIFK Helsinki of the Finnish Elite League . . . Former Toronto Maple Leafs centre Alyn McCauley was hired as an assistant coach by the Queen’s Golden Gaels men’s hockey team. Robitaille earns shutout In Junior C hockey action Monday, Brandon Robitaille earned the shutout for Essex in a 4-0 win over Wheatley.

Essex goals were scored by Chris Warren, Sean Ducharme, Cory Hamilton and Jeff Hogan.

Sunday, Belle River blanked Blenheim 6-0. Andrew Hurst and Travis Brown scored twice while Eric Courteaux and John Strong added singles.

Troy Strong recorded the shutout.

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