Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/10/13
Don't jump to conclusions. Islanders rookie Matt Donovan may have spent his formative years on the hot wind-swept plains of Oklahoma where football is king and ice is mostly found in beverages. But he was on skates before he can remember -- "2 or 3" he guessed -- and driving a Zamboni by the time he was a teen -- "a rink rat my whole life." His father a Boston native and former high school hockey player ran an ice rink in Edmond Okla. near Oklahoma City. Donovan played football and golf through middle school but his real passion was hockey. From those unlikely geographical roots Donovan on Tuesday night arrived at his first NHL goal. Don't assume it was accidental just because Donovan's power-play slap shot apparently smothered by Phoenix goalie Mike Smith crawled weakly through Smith's legs and crept slowly over the goal line. "I was headed to the bench because I thought he saved it" Donovan said "then I heard the crowd cheer and I turned around and everyone was coming to me so I figured it went in." The fact is the Islanders like Donovan a defenseman for his offensive proclivities. In the past two seasons with the team's Bridgeport affiliate he totaled 24 goals and 93 assists. "The thing about Matt" Islanders coach Jack Capuano said "is that we've talked about losing Mark [Streit gone to Philadelphia as a free agent] losing some offensive production and a guy on our power play a guy that jumps up in the play as our fourth offensive guy. Matt's got that vision and creativity that I like the way he pursues on the offensive side." After getting an NHL glimpse at the end of the 2011-12 season appearing in three Islanders games Donovan now 23 is feeling he knows "a little better what it takes to stick here and hopefully I can do that."
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