Boyes always welcome in Boston

BOSTON -- When the Bruins traded forward Brad Boyes to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for defenseman Dennis Wideman in February 2007, many players in the Boston locker room were stunned. Boyes was a popular player in the room and produced on the ice, especially when he was on the same line as Patrice Bergeron. The two formed a bond during the NHL lockout in 2004-2005, when both were playing for the Providence Bruins of the AHL.

Then-P-Bruins coach Scott Gordon had the pair of centermen working together on Providence’s potent power-play unit. Their on-ice chemistry was so strong, then-Bruins coach Mike Sullivan decided to put them on the same line during the 2005-2006 season after Boston traded Joe Thornton that November.

It worked.

Both Bergeron and Boyes produced that year, leading the Bruins in points with 73 and 69, respectively.

After that season, Sullivan was out as coach and replaced by Dave Lewis in 2006-2007, and the new bench boss decided to split up Boyes and Bergeron. Boyes struggled and was traded that February.

Boyes spent parts of the next five seasons with the Blues before he was traded again last month at the deadline to the Buffalo Sabres.

The 28-year-old forward is back in Boston tonight to face his former club at TD Garden.

Boyes said he enjoyed his time in the Bruins organization and that he’s always paying attention to see how the club is doing.

“It’s tough not too,” Boyes said. “They’re a team that has done well the last couple of years and this year they’re doing really well. They’re playing hard and it’s good to see the guys I played with here doing well.”

Bergeron is one of those guys. Boston’s assistant captain entered Thursday’s game with 21 goals and 29 assists for 50 points in 65 games.

“He’s doing real well and it’s great to see,” Boyes said. “The things he has gone through, the ups and downs and the injuries he’s had, it’s good to see him get back to the way he can play and to lead the way he does. It’s awesome. He’s a guy who is a quality person and you want good things to happen to him, and things are happening well for him.”