Sharks' Boyle, Lightning's St. Louis took similar paths

Sharks' Boyle, Lightning's St. Louis took similar paths
November 21, 2013, 8:30 pm
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Dan Boyle and Martin St. Louis spent parts of five seasons together as teammates, including the year before the lockout when they beat Calgary in the Stanley Cup Final under head coach John Tortorella. (AP)

SAN JOSE – Dan Boyle and Martin St. Louis have more in common than just a 2004 Stanley Cup Championship.

The Sharks defenseman and Lightning forward were both undrafted players that have since established themselves as veteran NHL stars. Boyle, 37, and St. Louis, 38, spoke glowingly of one another before the Sharks-Lightning game at SAP Center on Thursday night.

“We have very similar stories,” Boyle said. “We both kind of started with another team (Boyle with Florida, St. Louis with Calgary) and it didn’t really go so well.

“Marty is the ultimate competitor. I respect him so much. … His accomplishments speak for themselves. He’s an amazing hockey player, and to see what he’s doing still is not surprising to me, because I know how hard he works. I see a lot of him in me, and vice versa. We’re both fierce competitors and have had to fight our way to get to where we are. He’s just awesome. He’ll be in the Hall of Fame, for sure, and he deserves it.”

St. Louis played his 1000th career game on Tuesday in Los Angeles, and the Sharks recognized that feat during the first period of their game on Thursday night. Boyle, whose impressive career began a little later than St. Louis, would hit 1000 next season if he remains healthy.

St. Louis agreed that he and Boyle have much in common, including going the college route. Boyle played for Miami of Ohio, while St. Louis starred at Vermont.

“[We] both played college and kind of had to fight a little bit to get in, especially at a time where there weren't small players in the league. And for Boyler, it was probably even tougher, because playing defense there weren't many small players,” St. Louis said. “I think he might have been one of the guys that helped the trend to bring speed, puck-moving defensemen who can battle you as well. He's definitely one of the best, I think."

Boyle was traded to the Sharks on July 4, 2008. He and St. Louis spent parts of five seasons together as teammates, including the year before the lockout when they beat Calgary in the Stanley Cup Final under head coach John Tortorella.

St. Louis said. "The thing about Boyler, he was really tough to play against. He's not a big guy, but he's annoying in the corner. He has quick hands and his stick is always in there, and he digs. He makes it hard on the opponents, no doubt.”