TODAY'S PAPER
41° Good Morning
41° Good Morning
SportsHockeyIslanders

Old home night in Boston for Islanders' Johnny Boychuk

Johnny Boychuk of the Islanders plays the puck

Johnny Boychuk of the Islanders plays the puck in the first period of a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

BOSTON -- The moving van just came to Johnny Boychuk's condo here on Tuesday and his family left for Long Island just Wednesday. The timing is merely a coincidence.

Boychuk himself returns to Boston Thursday night with his new team, the Islanders, and a first real chance to reflect on how much things changed for him just 19 days ago, when the Islanders sent two second-round picks and a conditional third-rounder to the Bruins for Boychuk and altered the landscapes of both teams.

"It's going to be tough to go there and play against them, but I'm going to have to get used to it because I'm not there anymore," Boychuk told Newsday. "They're a good team, for our team to go in there and play them is going to be a good test for us."

The 30-year-old Boychuk won a Stanley Cup in 2011 and spent five successful seasons in Boston before being a bit blindsided by the trade. The Isles' 4-2-0 start, with Boychuk totaling six points in the six games -- he had six points in 44 games during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, by comparison -- certainly has eased the transition.

"Let's be realistic here, that definitely helps when you come here and get off to a 4-0 start," he said. "We knew we had a good team. But just to show everybody that we actually do and they should believe in us, is saying a lot. Before it wasn't going so well here and everything's falling into place. I think it's going to be our time."

That sense of optimism, accompanied with Boychuk's ever-present grin and a confidence on the ice rarely seen around the Isles, also has helped his transition and made him instantly a valuable veteran on and off the ice.

Thursday night, he'll be treated to a video acknowledgment on the TD Garden scoreboard during an early television timeout, plus what certainly will be a long, loud ovation for a very popular Bruin.

"I think after Thursday, it'll be nice to get that out of the way," Boychuk said. "There's a lot of great times there, I'll always remember it. There's not a bad memory playing there."

Notes & quotes: The Islanders put Colin McDonald on waivers Wednesday, clearing a forward spot for Anders Lee, who likely will join the team here Thursday after McDonald either clears waivers or is claimed. Lee has three goals and five points in five games for Bridgeport . . . The Isles also placed Mikhail Grabovski (concussion) on injured reserve, retroactive to Thursday, to clear a roster spot for Lubomir Visnovsky (back). Visnovsky is likely to make his season debut Thursday night . . . Thomas Hickey practiced Wednesday with a jaw shield after an accidental skate cut to his chin on Tuesday required numerous stitches to close.

Comments

We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

New York Sports