Boyle vs. Barrie
"I understand business is business and I would not have taken it personally if it was done the right way, and when threats are involved and my personal character and work ethic is questioned; when those things get personal, that's not the way to do business."
Barrie entered Boyle's life on March 10, 2000, when the Panthers claimed the then 30-year-old Barrie off waivers from the Kings. At that point, Barrie had played a total of 110 NHL games, and was little more than a year from retirement.
Boyle, on the other hand, was an up-and-coming prospect for Florida, a small, undrafted defenceman in the days when clutch-and-grab were king. In 1999-2000, he played just 13 games with the big club, but jumped up full-time the following season to play with Barrie under coaches Terry Murray and Duane Sutter.
Then 24, Boyle played about 17 minutes a night that year as the team's fifth or sixth defenceman, a power-play specialist who finished third-worst on the team at minus-14. Barrie was more of a plugger, skating in just 12:34 a game in his final season.
Boyle's said in the past he was never given much of a chance with the Panthers, something that came to a head when "Iron" Mike Keenan arrived as coach midway through 2001-02 and benched him for good. He was dealt to Tampa Bay for a fifth-round pick 25 games in.
The 2000-01 Panthers team that Boyle and Barrie played on was an incredibly dysfunctional one, finishing with just 22 wins and near the league basement, and it was in that environment that the two last met. There were never any disagreements, or any interactions at all, that played out in the press seven years ago, but the pair spent that one toxic season together.
If they'd become buddies, I have a hard time imaging the situation playing out the way it has seven years later.
Here's what Boyle told the Tampa Tribune: "When my work ethic is questioned, my offseason work ethic and the way I get ready for games and what I do is questioned, and it gets personal and I'm threatened, that is absolutely the way not to do business."
Boyle wouldn't specify who in the ownership group criticized him, but really, who other than a former teammate or coach would have any knowledge about something as specific as how he gets ready for games?
It's Barrie, plain and simple.
The Lightning are out of their minds if they think this won't affect which players want to come and play for the organization. If Boyle's calling the situation "an absolute joke" in public, one can only imagine what the rendition given to fellow players will sound like.
The sideshow continues.