Donato skated 16:58, including 1:07 of PP time. He also had 2 shots on goal and 4 penalty minutes. Pretty active debut!
After the game, Donato said all the normal things about wanting to help the team, felt good out there, etc.
However, there was one quote posted by Michael Russo of The Athletic that kind of stood out.
Donato: "They just said, ‘Go and play,’ and that’s when I think I’m at my best when (coaches) have the confidence in me and they let me play. It’s been awhile since the coaches have had a lot of confidence in me to play me in all situations."— Michael Russo (@RussoHockey) February 22, 2019
Of course, this quote can be read a million ways. Maybe he's just feeling refreshed being back in the NHL, or maybe he just appreciates the new atmosphere of the Wild.
What it certainly sounds like, however, is a player complaining about the way he was treated by his former coaches.
There's probably some merit to Donato's thoughts, if that's the case. But confidence from your coaches seems like something that is earned, not given, right?
While you could argue that he deserved a bit longer of a leash, be it's not like he was lighting it up here but was still stapled to the bench.
These comments are far from incendiary, so "DONATO SLAMS FORMER TEAM" would be disingenuous.
Instead, it gives us a look at the way Donato felt he was viewed by Bruce Cassidy and company.
The "playing in all situations" part has some merit, as Donato wasn't exactly know as a three-zone standout while he was here.
But he was given PP time, given time with the big playmakers, etc. While it certainly varied from game to game, it's not like his ice time was limited to 4th-line minutes.
Still, it gives us some insight into the mind of a younger player, and how that player thinks when things aren't going so well.
What's your reading of Donato's comments?
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