The Case To Bring Matt Donovan Back to the Isles

The Case To Bring Matt Donovan Back to the Isles

Commentary, Islanders 1 Comment on The Case To Bring Matt Donovan Back to the Isles

matt dYes, I have had a family member that I have been in conversations with since the start of camp, but since last season, I have been quite impressed with the development of the Oklahoma kid, Matt Donovan.

Tonight, in the 5-3 victory over the Utica Comets (Former Islander Travis Green is the head coach), Matt scored a goal, got a helper on another, and was a +4 on the night.  He logged a good amount of minutes (unsure at the exact number at the time that I am writing this), and was strong at both ends of the ice.  This game, to me should be a solid indicator of his return to the strong play that he showed in October, when the NHL season began.

He started the season quite well.  Assisted on Opening Night, and scored a few games later.  Then, as the injuries racked up to Lubomir Visnovsky and Brian Strait, the young players were needed to log more important minutes.

Are we expecting him to be a Duncan Keith player?  I would push him towards an Erik Karlsson type player.  He is going to bring the puck up, and look for an offensive play first.  Not that Matt can be invisible in his own zone.  Watching the game tonight in Utica, he was strong behind his own blue line.  He cleared garbage in front of the net, and played the physical game when he has to.

In all honesty, I think he was a little bit on the cautious side, playing in his first full season in the NHL.  As soon as he got back to the AHL, you can see that the confidence was back and his game returned to the level that made him an AHL All-Star last season.

With so many young players today, a few game stint back to the lower leagues is a great reminder to where you came from.  He returned to a simple game, and you can see that he can be back to the level that he was when he started the season in the NHL.

On a personal level, I know that his parents are coming up for the holidays, and it would be real nice to see #46 back in a blue and orange uniform here in Uniondale.

I have had some conversations with some folks on Facebook about this already.  I can understand how some people had dissenting opinions about the defense.  With the eight game winless streak looming over their heads, there are sever needs for this Islanders team; with defense being at the forefront.  Can they secure a stud man to lead this corps to a higher level?  Really not sure.

Goaltending is also another issue.  With Nabby due to return soon, the wound may only heal slightly.  Goaltending has not been a shining light.  Last season, Nabokov was second in the league in victories and was a main reason for the Islander making that special playoff run in May.

The "OK" kid won a gold at the World Juniors.

The “OK” kid won a gold at the World Juniors.

Getting back to Donovan, I just got a facebook message from a Booster Club friend of mine, and he said it quite correctly:

You don’t need to show anyone the glass if you keep your positioning. You don’t need to bury a guy in the glass to be a good dman. I think Matt is getting short end of stick. I think the fans are too right now, lol. He played as well as he could when he was up, but he will only benefit from more minutes in Bridgeport. I hope he’s back soon!!

I agree.  I think his play has certainly given him the chance to prove himself again.  To be honest, the sub-par play of Thomas Hickey and Aaron Ness has shown me that a change needs to re-occur again.

For the Donovan family, I hope Matt returns to the lineup soon.  I think he needs to be back.  A breath of fresh air would be a nice change for this team, as they hopefully return to better hockey ahead on this road trip.

To contact me – you can e-mail me at – or on Twitter @islessection317.


Gary Harding

Gary Harding is the Lead Writer of Isles Talk. A former President of the Islanders Booster Club, and a season ticket holder for over 24 years, Gary qualifies as a ‘long suffering’ Islander fan. He, and his wife, Claire, sit in row A of Section 317, and attend just about every game possible, as well as a few road games in the year, too. He has been a member of the“Islanders Blog Box” since 2008; a project that allows bloggers like him, to be able to obtain media credentials to Islander home games, and get the perspective of reporting a game, just as if he is a full blown member of the media. Starting in August of 2013, John Panarese and Gary are talk show hosts on SPORTS TALK 1240 - a Part of the Sports Radio New York group on WGBB AM-1240. John and Gary are on at least once a month - talking about New York Sports (with a little Islander influence). Gary, born and raised in Levittown, on Long Island, and worked for a major car rental company for almost 26 years, and now is a Process Improvement Analyst for Icon Central Laboratories. He has been married to Claire for 7 years. They met on a bus trip to see the Islanders play in Montreal. Gary also is a fan of the New York Mets, Long Island Ducks, New York Jets, Everton of the English Premier League, and is a big fan of the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. Gary is also an accomplished bowler, having achieved perfection on May 4th, 1994, by bowling a perfect 300 game. His highest league average ever was 219, and highest series was 798. Gary also just had weight loss surgery in May of 2013. In the four months following surgery, he has lost nearly 80 pounds, and feels great. For further information on bariatric surgery options, check out Long Island Obesity Surgery. Favorite Isles Moment – Everyone says the cups. They were great. However, I was not a season ticket holder, or going to the games, so my favorite, was the 1993 march to the semi’s – beating Washington and Pittsburgh – the best was seeing Darius Kasparitis punching Lemieux like a rented Mule! Funny how a few years later, they were teammates. Of course, Montreal had NINE guys on the ice when they scored in Overtime in Game 3 of the Semi-Finals. Favorite All time Isles player – Tie – Bossy and Trottier on Offense, and Glenn Healy at the net. (Remember Pens fans, Trottier TAUGHT Mario how to WIN!) Favorite Current Isles player – Okposo and JT – of course – with a close third to Michael Grabner; and with every day appreciating the play of Andrew MacDonald and Travis Hamonic. This year, I am on the Matt Donovan bandwagon. (If I dont - his mother may hit go after me with a Skeet Gun!! LOL!) Favorite NHL City – Not Long Island – Vancouver with a close second to Ottawa – followed by Montreal (spot a pattern here?) Favorite player – not an Islander I like watching Ovie! – He is animated, funny and makes his mark. Also enjoy watching the Sedin twins play. Also - with his last name being the same as mine - Josh Harding of the Wild. Team I hate the most (what do you think?) Gary currently resides in Halesite, Long Island. His e-mail address is

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