Brian Boyle hopes to play hockey again soon after being diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia, a type of bone-marrow cancer that the New Jersey Devils’ team doctor said can largely be treated with medication.
The 32-year-old forward was diagnosed with CML after bloodwork at the start of training camp showed irregularities from last season.
Boyle said based on what team doctor Michael Farber and others have told him, he expects to live his life under normal conditions.
That includes getting on the ice with his new team after signing a $5.5 million, two-year contract in the offseason.
Boyle said on a conference call Tuesday that he feels as close to normal as possible, and Farber expects treatment to begin as soon as some further tests come back.
“We have a good plan of attack here, and I’m looking forward to getting on the ice and playing,” Boyle said. “When that happens I don’t know, but my mindset is Oct. 7.”
The Devils open the regular season at home Oct. 7 against the Avalanche. That might be an aggressive target date, but Boyle said he expects only minor side effects even while he is being treated.
“He will be monitored very closely,” Farber said. “He came to us in great shape with relatively few symptoms, so I think he’ll respond quite well to therapy.”
Boyle wants the season to go on as normal and for no one to blame the disease for his play one way or the other.
“We don’t have to be asking about it all the time,” Boyle said. “If I suck one night, it’s because I sucked, not because of any other reason. And hopefully if that’s the biggest issue, then that’s a good thing.”
Leafs goalie analyzes diet
Goaltender Frederik Andersen has arrived at Maple Leafs training camp leaner than the past, crediting change to his workout regimen and a commitment to analyzing his diet.
“I feel more fit and I feel like I have a better build,” Andersen said.
Last year was the busiest season of Andersen’s NHL career. Acquired via trade from the Anaheim Ducks and signed to a five-year, $25 million contract, he appeared in a career-high 66 regular-season games and posted a 33-16-14 record, a .918 save percentage, and four shutouts.
After a 26-page analysis of his bloodwork, Andersen was able to learn what he was lacking in his system. But he also figured out exactly how to fuel his body with the exact amount of calories and proteins.
“You divide them up in different percentages of your full diet and you just monitor your diet a little bit closer,” Andersen said. “Eating more protein to get the desired results is what I wanted and what I had to do that to see the change I wanted to this season.”
When Andersen showed up to training camp last week, the results of his physical impressed coach Mike Babcock.
“With what Freddy has done from a fitness level is through the roof compared to last year,” Babcock said.
“When you earn the right to feel good about yourself by doing all the work in the offseason, this stuff is way easier so good on him.”
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