EDMONTON - Mark Fayne is a puck-possession player — good, safe first-pass — but nobody should count on the 27-year-old Edmonton Oilers defenceman to rack up points.
Think a younger Rob Scuderi — a calm presence with the puck on his stick, able to play against offensive players without being overwhelmed by the assignment.
Somewhere in the top four on defence.
“Andy (Greene) and I usually played against the other team’s top line (in New Jersey) and they didn’t expect too much from us offensively. Eating up minutes against the top guys,” said Fayne, who signed with the Oilers as an unrestricted free agent on July 1. “It’s a definite challenge but it keeps you on your toes.”
The East has smaller, slicker forwards. The West is bigger, much heavier. Anze Kopitar, Ryan Getzlaf, Joe Thornton, David Backes, Jonathan Toews.
“The tougher thing for me is playing against the smaller, fast guys, but I’m actually looking forward to the West. My style and build (six-foot-three, 215 pounds) might be better against the bigger guys,” said Fayne, a newbie when it comes to playing in Canada — and anywhere in western North America. He’s been an Eastern kid all his life, growing up in New Hampshire, playing college at Providence, R.I., then in New Jersey.
“I haven’t left the East Coast much in my life and had to think about it (signing here),” said Fayne, who knows the Oilers’ history of missing the playoffs eight years in a row but wasn’t deterred by where they are geographically or statistically.
“I think the rebuild’s pretty far along, especially with some of the guys they’ve brought in this summer. It’s not in the beginning stage.”
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