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The Big Interview: New York Rangers Defenseman Dan Boyle

Sean Hartnett

Sean Hartnett has covered the New York Rangers and the NHL for WFAN.com since 2011. He has covered two Stanley Cup Finals. Sean now contributes to XNSports’ NHL and general sports coverage. He devotes far too much of his free time watching Simpsons and Seinfeld reruns. Sean can be reached via Twitter @HartnettHockey.

Prior to Rangers departing for their four-game road trip, defenseman Dan Boyle sat down to take part in an exclusive interview with XN Sports writer Sean Hartnett. In this one-on-one, Boyle recalls hanging out with San Franciscan rockers Faith No More on signing day and his first experience meeting the band. Boyle lists his top-four favorite bands, explains why Tom Cruise is his favorite actor and discusses his friendship with longtime teammate Martin St. Louis.

Unlike most NHL free agents, Dan Boyle was stress-free on last summer’s Jul. 1 signing day. Far away from any NHL arena, Boyle was kicking back with his favorite band Faith No More on the London stop of their European tour. He wanted to be a Ranger, and he knew the Rangers wanted him. Boyle agreed to a two-year, $9 million deal with the Rangers on day one of free agency and continued traveling Europe with band.

“I’m good friends with drummer Mike “Puffy” Bordin and lead singer Mike Patton,” Boyle said. “I went on tour with them this summer, hung out with them and got to know the other guys in the band a little bit. I had never been to England before. I thought it was a cool city. They did one gig in London and went to Poland the next day. We were in-and-out. I was only there for two or three days total.”

Boyle recalled his first experience rubbing elbows with the veteran rockers after a member of the San Jose Sharks’ public relations staff scored him some last-minute tickets.

“Six years ago, they were sold out in San Francisco,” Boyle said. “I had asked the PR guy in San Jose to help me find a way in. I didn’t care whether I was in the nosebleeds, top left corner. Not only did he get me in, I met the band.”

Since that initial meeting, Boyle became fast friends with the San Franciscan alternative metal rockers.

“I’ve seen them four times,” Boyle said. “They were at the game when we were out in San Jose. I’ll go see them eventually again this summer when they tour with their new album.”

Faith No More will release their first studio album in 18 years in Apr. 2015. As for Boyle’s favorite Faith No More album, it’s the 1992 release “Angel Dust.”

“It has to be Angel Dust,” Boyle said.

As a 38-year-old grizzled veteran, Boyle’s musical taste differs from his youthful teammates. Electronic dance music and modern hip-hop make up the majority of playlists inside NHL dressing rooms.

“Mainstream music, hip-hop and electronic dance aren’t my thing at all,” Boyle said. “It’s not something I’m really into. Ever since high school, I’ve been a Faith No More and Red Hot Chili Peppers fan. I’ve never gotten into anything soft, or dancey, or poppy at all.”

As a first-year Ranger, Boyle hasn’t made any requests. To his surprise, teammates occasionally throw on some metal tunes.

“I haven’t even tried,” Boyle said. “I’m new on this team, so I’m respecting what the guys had going last year and what’s going on now. Once in a while, they throw me a bone and they put on some alternative metal. I’ve been staying away from it. I brought my headphones.”

Boyle still remembers the first concert he attended. It was a pretty special one – heavy metal icons Pantera.

“The first band that I really got into was Pantera,” Boyle said. “Back in the day, they were my first concert. It just kind of started from there. A band that really opened my eyes was Tool and A Perfect Circle. Deftones are another band I really like.

“I like a lot of stuff – Faith No More, Deftones, Chevelle and Tool are probably in my top four or five. I’ve seen RHCP three times. The last time was with the new guitarist, Josh Klinghoffer. He’s pretty good. I remember seeing them a couple years ago while John Frusciante was still in the band.”

In his first season with the Rangers, Boyle is living in Greenwich, C.T., the same town as longtime teammate Martin St. Louis. Boyle describes St. Louis and him as being “cut from the same cloth.” Both went undrafted and rose to stardom as Tampa Bay Lightning teammates.

“I felt like it was right away,” Boyle said. “We both have very similar backgrounds. We played against each other at a younger age. We kind of knew each other growing up. We’re cut from the same cloth, so it’s very easy to get along with Marty.”

“We have a similar background,” St. Louis said. “Our families are pretty close. We kind of grew up together in this league. We came into our own in Tampa, hung out together and won together. We have a great past together, no doubt.”

The duo commutes from Greenwich to NYC. Sometimes that includes Boyle and St. Louis carpooling. Whoever is driving controls the radio.

“We tend to take the train in on weekdays,” Boyle said. “Once in a while, we’ll drive into the city together. The driver gets to decide what’s playing. He likes to listen to the comedy channel or Laugh USA … whatever it’s called. He finds it extremely hilarious. I, on the other hand don’t. He definitely finds himself pretty funny. Marty laughs at his own jokes with the best of them.”

“We joke a lot with each other,” St. Louis said. “He doesn’t like the jokes I laugh at. Yeah, we have a different sense of humor. You’ve got to be there to understand it.”

Boyle hinted that St. Louis isn’t a fan of his heavy metal, alternative rock playlist.

“Why would he say that?” St. Louis asked. “That’s not true. I like some of it.”

When Boyle does get a chance to visit NYC on an off day, he often takes friends and relatives to upscale Italian restaurant Carbone on Thompson St. On a recent trip, he ended up taking his visiting parents out for dinner and a Broadway show. Despite Boyle’s heavy metal preference, he admitted to really enjoying Jersey Boys.

“When we have people coming in to visit, we’ll usually take the train in and come into the city for dinner,” Boyle said. “I went to a great restaurant called Carbone, which was really nice. I’ve taken people there a couple times. I’ve seen a couple plays. Of all things, Jersey Boys was actually really good. I took my parents to see that. It was very entertaining.”

In his free time, Boyle is an avid fan of television shows and movies with clever twists and turns.

“When it comes to TV shows, I prefer drama and horror,” Boyle said. “I’ve been watching American Horror Story since the first season. I like anything that’s a bit of a mind-twister. I like TV shows and movies that have twists.

“The kind of movies I like aren’t necessarily linear and you’ve got to think about it a little bit. My favorite movie is Vanilla Sky. The first time I watched it, I wasn’t quite sure what I had just seen. 12 Monkeys was another movie that was cunning.”

Tom Cruise remains Boyle’s favorite actor. Boyle even lists Cruise as the actor who he’d prefer to portray him in a movie.

“I’d have to say Tom Cruise because of Vanilla Sky,” Boyle said. “The Last Samurai was another great movie too. That’s two pretty good movies right there. Now he’s doing those weird, futuristic movies. I don’t know if I’m down with those.”

Cruise has adapted over the years to remain of one of Hollywood’s foremost actors. At 38, Boyle is trying to stay ahead of the curve as one of the NHL’s most creative, point-getting defensemen. It’s easy to forget there was a time when Boyle was struggling to crack the lineup of the Florida Panthers during the early-2000’s in his early 20’s.

“When I was in Florida, I wasn’t playing much,” Boyle said. “It was tough being a scratch night in and night out. I hung out with the young guys – Roberto Luongo, Olli Jokinen and Mark Parrish. Those guys kept my spirits up when I was down. That was probably what I appreciated they most. They kept my head up when times were tough.”

Boyle and St. Louis would later flourish as members of the Lightning. They lifted the Stanley Cup together in 2004. Both came into the league as overlooked, undersized players that went to enjoy celebrated career. St. Louis believes Boyle paved the way for smaller defenseman who followed.

“There weren’t many small defensemen in the league when he came into the league,” St. Louis said. “Now, they’re everywhere. I think he helped pave the way for sure.”