On Dan Boyle, The Media, and Leadership

Dan Boyle's outburst at the media is more than good comedy, it's a sign of a true leader taking one for the team.

On Tuesday's break up day, Rangers defenseman Dan Boyle went off on New York Post writers Larry Brooks and Brett Cyrgalis. The video of this is still as funny and as life affirming as it was almost a week ago, and Beth did a great job defending Boyle here. However, while I think Danny was speaking on his own behalf, I also believe Boyle took a bullet for some of his teammates by going out there and unloading on the vultures from the Post directly.

It's no secret that the Rangers beat is littered with guys who like to use their own narratives to taint their writing and claim that their own warped perception is reality. This is not only bad writing; it's an abuse of power. Because as much as we are loathe to admit it, the beat writers are our (as fans) closest connection to the team, and their quotes and thoughts shape the narratives and thoughts that spread throughout the fanbase.

So when the aforementioned writers from the Post, the wonderfully obtuse Pat Leonard from the Daily News, or the other writers spin their narratives as fact, they plant the seeds in the fanbase that certain players aren't good or are, ahem, "entitled". They also stubbornly dismiss the quickly flowing tide of hockey philosophy that continues to move towards more evidence based and objective reasoning, which doesn't help things either. But I digress.

This story isn't about Dan Boyle vs the Beat Writers, it's about what I believe Dan Boyle really did when he spoke his mind to Larry Brooks. I truly believe that before the Rangers met with the media, Boyle went to some of the players on the Rangers that may have a future with the team (which would in turn mean a future with the media) and told them that he'll take this bullet for them.

All season, players like Kevin Hayes, Keith Yandle, Chris Kreider, and more have been unnecessarily (for the most part) dragged through the mud in the press and online and I wouldn't be surprised if some of the younger players let it get to them. Dan Boyle, reportedly being close to retirement anyway, knew he probably wouldn't be back with the Rangers as his two year contract with the team ran out. This gave Dan the freedom, of sorts, to train all weapons systems on Brooksie and Brett and let loose.

Will Dan Boyle regret what he said in the heat of the moment? Probably, but I bet his teammates appreciated what he did and it shows that there's more to "leadership" on a team than a good quote to the media. A true leader is the guy who takes the bullet for the guys in the room on his way out as a sign of respect.

Unfortunately, Boyle's probably done with hockey, while we'll still be stuck with the Rangers media circus (and the perpetually great and criminally underrated Sean Hartnett). But I will always respect and admire the action Dan Boyle took after what has been a long, frustrating, and at times challenging season for not only the fans, but the players as well.