I'd love to sit here and wax poetic about each and every standing ovation that Brian Boyle was privy to upon the mere announcement of his name this past weekend, but the truth of the matter is that that conclusion was so foregone that it made the resounding boo's sent Brad Marchand's way seem shocking.
Don't tell the NHL I said this because I wouldn't want them to get fat off one good decision when the skinny is that they still have so many shitty ones to undo, but sending Brian Boyle in Taylor Hall's absence was nothing short of a great call. Never mind the fact that he was paying a visit to a city that already had a genuine appreciation for his play prior to his diagnosis, because his inspiring story transcends fandom and caters to the human element in all of us.
It was an overwhelmingly heartwarming narrative on a weekend that - like usual - was largely pretty "meh" as far as memorable moments are concerned. Not only that, but it actually did the near impossible by shedding a positive light on a league that's only familiarity with leaning in the direction of what's right was taking the alternative road untraveled since the 90's and hiring Kid Rock to perform at their All Star Game. The silent rage stewing inside me when a goal in a goddamn gimmicky 3-on-3 tournament was called back on an offsides challenge could only be cooled by the ear-to-ear smile that never left the face of a guy who has become an excellent ambassador for both the fight against cancer as well as hockey in general. So credit to the NHL for giving us something we could all rally around. I'm fairly certain the only person that appreciated it more than the oft-ignored fans was...::rubs eyes and blinks incessantly::...the soon to be 30-goal sniper himself?