Boychuk excited to play hometown Oilers

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Boychuk excited to play hometown Oilers

Johnny Boychuk is a proudNortheast Edmonton boy, and always looks forward to games against his hometown Edmonton Oilers.

It makes sense since Boychuk is just old enough to remember the glory days of Wayne Gretzky and the Oilers dynasty while growing up with older brothers in a bona fide Canadian hockey hotbed. In fact the 27-year-old probably most vividly remembers the 1990 Stanley Cup Finals victory for the Oil over the Bruins as six year-old just starting to collect a lifetime of hockey memories. He sees plenty of similarities between Edmonton then and Boston now as the two teams clash at TD Garden on Thursday night.

"It reminds me a lot of New England now with all of the championships going around except it was just hockey in Edmonton growing up, said Boychuk. Theres always a little extra when youre playing the team you grew up watching. I always dreamed of playing for or against the Oilers growing up, and now Ive been able to do it a couple of times.

I remember the last time we played them it was an afternoon game after we had played Vancouver, so it was a little more rushed than this one. So Ill be sure to enjoy it, but I enjoy every game that we play.

In that game in Edmonton last season Boychuk had three shots on net in 22:20 of ice time, but wasnt able to get on the scoresheet in a 3-2 win for the Bs.

Funny enough, Boychuk said he didnt grow up pretending to be The Great One or Mark Messier, though, and he always knew he wanted to be a defenseman from the time he was a young shaver. Little Boychuk dreamed of being Al McInnis or Ray Bourque while growing up on the frozen ponds of Edmonton, but still appreciates how much history the Oil bring with them to Boston.

Boychuk has three points and a plus-4 in his 13 games for the Bruins in 20:04 of ice time this season, and is off to the best start of his career in Boston entering an important free agent year. So theres also a chance for Boychuk to build on the consistent, solid start hes had with the Black and Gold this year, and show some of the steady improvement that Claude Julien has seen throughout Boychuk's three seasons in Boston.

I know Johnny Boychuk has been here for three years, but we sometimes forget hes only just 26 years old and still getting better each and every year, Julien said. Johnny has been one of our best defensemen so far this season, and hes starting to get more consistent night in and night out.

Boychuk gets another chance to add to that newfound consistency and maybe even collect a point or two for the legions of Boychuk family members that will be tuning in to see what happens when Johnny Boy takes on the Oil for the second time in his young NHL career.

Thursday, Jan. 19: Torts doesn't think LeBron could play hockey

Thursday, Jan. 19: Torts doesn't think LeBron could play hockey

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wondering if the Bruins are ever going to poop, or get off the pot.
 
*John Tortorella wants everybody to know that he thinks there isn’t a chance that Lebron James could play hockey.
 
*In the interest of self-promotion, here’s my radio hit with Toucher and Rich this morning about whether or not Claude Julien should be fired after back-to-back bad losses against the Islanders and Red Wings.
 
*How did Shane Doan arrive at an unhappy place with the Arizona Coyotes where he now is open to moving elsewhere ahead of the trade deadline?
 
*Henrik Lundqvist’s season is entering a crisis level based on what he’s done, and the diminished performance level he’s showing as a more mature goaltender.
 
*A nice piece with a Canadian hockey hero, Hayley Wickenheiser, who recounts some of the legendary moments of her career through a series of pictures.
 
*I totally respect the work that Travis Yost does, but stating the Bruins should stick with Claude Julien because their shooting percentage is bound to turn around isn’t good enough grounds to keep a floundering situation intact, in my opinion. You need to check where the shots are coming from and how many of those shot attempts are completely missing the net to get a better grasp on some of the reasons behind Boston’s dreadful 10-year low shooting percentage. That would also explain some of the reason why Julien needs to be replaced coaching a team that’s largely content on perimeter shots to do it for them while also only sporadically showing the effort required from a middle class talent type of team.

*The Lightning are struggling at Joe Namath levels right now without Steve Stamkos in their lineup, and they need that to change.
 
*For something completely different: congrats to the Boston boys in New Edition for a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.