Devils' Fayne looking for a shot at redemption


Devils' Fayne looking for a shot at redemption

NEWARK, NJ Devils defenseman Mark Fayne is well-known around hockey circles in New England, so there were plenty of disappointed faces watching Game 1 of the Cup Finals when Fayne missed his chance at a game-winning goal in the third period.

The entire Prudential Center crowd groaned, knowing another prime scoring chance might not present itself. Fayne's shot sailed wide as he never really got enough wood on the erratic puck to put it on net.

The puck was wobbling and the ice at the humid Prudential Center was nothing short of brutal, but the former Nobles and Greenough defenseman still pulled a Glen Wesley on a wide-open rebound shot.

For a kid that was born in Nashua, New Hampshire and grew up playing in select hockey teams all across New England, Fayne knows exactly what that is and knows that its not a good thing at all.

When you envision playing in the Stanley Cup Finals, thats definitely not the moment that youre dreaming about, admitted Fayne. The good thing is that weve got plenty of chances to redeem ourselves.

That left things undecided into overtime, and Anze Kopitar sealed the deal for the Kings with his sweet overtime goal to give Los Angeles a 1-0 lead in the series. Fayne wasnt the only Devils player to whiff on a scoring chance David Clarkson had one off the post and another high-and-wide but he admitted that he was dwelling on it immediately after the loss.

Yeah, you just gotta put it behind you," said Fayne, who starred as a defenseman at Providence College. It's one of those things that it's tough to deal with right now, but once you go to bed you've got to forget about it.

Fayne and the rest of his New Jersey Devils admit that the big stage of the Stanley Cup Finals got to them, and they know they need to be better if they hope to even the series with the Kings headed back to Los Angeles.

That starts with generating a much greater forecheck than the timid, half-hearted attack that took the ice on Wednesday night. If players like Fayne and Clarkson can bury their chances against a Conn Smythe candidate like Jonathan Quick, that would help, too.

Thats what you have to do, said Devils head coach Peter DeBoer. LA bottles teams up through the neutral zone. Weve got to do more of that. They stand you up, take away your time and space. You have to get in behind them. You have to have good support. We need more of that.

Weve got to do more. I think we made it too easy on Quick. We had some opportunities. But we didnt do enough to make it tough on him.

They also need to shoot the puck more. New Jersey had their chances that went by the boards, but those missed open nets are magnified when there are only a few handfuls of shots and even fewer legitimate scoring chances.

If Fayne and the Devils cant muster more than 18 shots on net in a game and rely on bouncing pucks off Los Angeles defenseman for their goals, then it could be a very quick series indeed.

Friday, July 29: Good signs in Bruins-Marchand negotiations


Friday, July 29: Good signs in Bruins-Marchand negotiations

Here are the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while using “malarkey” in my day-to-day vocabulary as much as possible. 
-- Dale Tallon was promoted with the Florida Panthers to accentuate his strengths as a talent evaluator, but maintains that he still has final say on hockey decisions
-- PHT writer Cam Tucker has another young D-man off the board with the Wild’s Matthew Dumba signing a two year, $5.1 million deal with Minnesota
-- In the interest of self-promotion, here’s my take on the negotiations between Brad Marchand and the Bruins: There’s a couple of good signs at the outset of negotiations
-- The Arizona Coyotes are stressing the defensive side of things in a big, big way, and it appears to be part of John Chayka’s master plan

 -- Alex Pietrangelo would be a natural selection to replace David Backes as the next captain of the St. Louis Blues. 

-- A moving letter from Sens forward Bobby Ryan to his recently passed mother is up at the Players Tribune website. 

-- Chris Kreider has re-signed with the New York Rangers, and plans to get out of his head and onto the score sheet more often. 
-- For something completely different: Jerod Mayo will bring a new voice to Tom E. Curran’s Quick Slants program on our very own CSN network. 


List of Bruins prospects includes two familiar names


List of Bruins prospects includes two familiar names

With decidedly Boston-sounding names and thoroughly familiar faces, given their resemblances to their ex-Bruin dads, it might have been easy to overlook Ryan Donato and Ryan Fitzgerald and focus on the truly little-known prospects at Development Camp earlier this month.

But on the ice, their brimming confidence, their offensive skills and the maturity to their all-around game was impossible to ignore.

When it was over, general manager Don Sweeney singled out Donato, who plays at Harvard, and Fitzgerald, from Boston College -- along with Notre Dame forward Anders Bjork and former Boston University defenseman Matt Grzelcyk -- as players who have developed significantly.
“[They're] just comfortable in what they’re doing,” said Sweeney. “I mean, they’ve played at the college hockey level . . . two, three, four years with some of these kids. They’re very comfortable in their own skin and in what they do.”
Donato, 20, is actually coming off his first season at Harvard, where he posted 13 goals and 21 points in 32 games. He looked like he was in midseason form during Development Camp, showing off a scoring touch, skill with the puck on his stick in tight traffic, and the instincts to anticipate plays that allow him to beat defenders to spots in the offensive zone. He’s primed for a giant sophomore season with the Crimson, based on his showing at camp.
“Every year is a blast," said Donato, son of former Bruins forward and current Harvard coach Ted Donato. "You just come in [to development camp] with an open mindset where you soak everything up from the coaches like a sponge, and see what they say. Then I just do my best to incorporate it into my game and bring it with me to school next year.
“One of the things that [Bruins coaches and management] has said to me -- and it’s the same message for everybody -- is that every area of your game is an important one to develop. The thing about the NHL is that every little detail makes the difference, and that’s what I’ve been working on whether it’s my skating, or my defensive play. Every little piece of my game needs to be developed.”
Then there's Fitzgerald, 21, who is entering his senior season at BC after notching 24 goals and 47 points in 40 games last year in a real breakout season. The 2013 fourth-round pick showed speed and finishing ability during his Development Camp stint and clearly is close to being a finished hockey product at the collegiate level.
“It was good. It’s definitely a fun time being here, seeing these guys and putting the logo on,” said Fitzgerald, son of former Bruins forward Tom Fitzgerald, after his fourth Development Camp. “One thing I’m focusing on this summer is getting stronger, but it’s also about just progressing and maturing.
“I thought . . . last year [at BC] was a pretty good one, so I just try to build off that and roll into my senior season. [The Bruins] have told me to pretty much continue what I’m doing in school. When the time is right I’ll go ahead [and turn pro], so probably after I graduate I’ll jump on and make an impact.”
Fitzgerald certainly didn’t mention or give any hints that it could happen, but these days it has to give an NHL organization a bit of trepidation anytime one of their draft picks makes it all the way to their senior season. There’s always the possibility of it turning into a Jimmy Vesey-type situation if a player -- like Fitzgerald -- has a huge final year and draws enough NHL interest to forego signing with the team that drafted him for a shot at free agency in the August following his senior season.
It may be a moot point with Fitzgerald, a Boston kid already living a dream as a Bruins draft pick, but it’s always a possibility until he actually signs.
In any case, both Donato and Fitzgerald beat watching in their respective college seasons after both saw their development level take a healthy leap forward.