Tag: John Tavares Leafs

My Reaction Following John Tavares Return To Long Island

As we all know by now the Islanders beat the Leafs 6-1 and John Tavares return to the Coliseum was a very hostile environment. Islanders fans, nearly all of them did not take Tavares return lightly. The stadium was filled with Islander fans wearing Tavares jersey with his name crossed out or written over his name on the back, the emotion was high but the hatred was even higher. I attended the game in section 234, wearing a Tavares jersey without his name crossed out.

Wearing a Tavares jersey without his name crossed out was essentially equivalent to wearing, pink shoes, a pink hat, pink shirt and pants. You stuck out like a sore thumb and everyone was looking at you and laughing. I may have been better off and safer wearing a Rangers jersey to this game. I had numerous fans come up to me and say “why are you wearing that?” or “get a new jersey he is not on the team anymore” or people talking behind my back saying “you see this non Islander fan wearing a Tavares jersey, what a troll”.

My takeaway from this game though and after hearing a lot of Islander fans opinions. 90% of Islanders fans are clues about the game of hockey, I am convinced a majority of the fan base has never stepped foot on ice, played hockey, or played competitively before in there life. The Islanders fan base is the fan base that picked up hockey when they were about 30+ years old, skated a few times play in the men’s league C division and think they could have made it to the NHL or be a coach if “they got their chance”. I have never been surrounded by so many clueless fans before in my life the lack of hockey knowledge and sense by these fans was embarrassing. The Islanders fan base is the fan base that scream shoot any time the player holds onto the puck for more than 2 seconds in the offensive zone. Say hit anytime someone goes in a corner and cheer for every bump or nudge on the ice and say skate anytime a player looks to be skating at half speed. Section 234 really made me think twice about the Islanders fan base…

More importantly. I understand I only heard/saw a handful of Islanders fans but the more important part of this discussion. The Islanders hatred for John Tavares. Yes, he left, yes “he lied”, yes he did not get traded so you can get assets for him. We get it Islanders fan he said he was going to stay forever but did not. He left the organization but how can you put all the blame on him. I can guarantee if Lou Lamoriello was the GM last season and this was the case, Lou would have made Tavares tell him what he was going to do and figure out his intentions.

The blame has to be partially on Garth Snow he did not find out what Tavares was doing or demand him to give the Islanders an answer therefore he can trade him. Lou would have made Tavares give them an answer. Lou would have said you have until x date to give us an answer or we are moving on from you. The same thing is happening in Columbus right now but you know what the Blue Jackets GM is doing he is not sitting there with his hands tied and slucking about the situation. He is building around Panarin to give him a ton of players to work with, making the Blue Jackets a better team and adding top players therefore if Panarin does walk, they will be able to re-sign Duchene and Dzingel so the walking of Panarin will not be so painful.

I was just completely blown away by the fact that no one, or very few Islanders fan in attendance did not even clap for the tribute video. I was blown away by the fact that Islanders fan chanted “JT sucks” the whole game. The Islanders are so bitter that he “lied” to them. Jeez, I guess these people never got lied to before. They are making it like Tavares killed someone in their family and got away with it. Islanders fan need to move on, 90% of these fans would not be fans of the team if it was not for Tavares. Most of them would not know the game if it was not for Tavares. No one off of Long Island would know what the Islanders are if it was not for Tavares. Also what was even more disgusting was some fans throwing snakes at Tavares while he was warming up and throwing a jersey at him as he was exiting the ice towards the locker room.

Look at the LeVeon Bell, Antonio Brown situation both star players, won super bowls with them and just picked up and left. Look at the Ilya Kovalchuk situation, signs a 13 year contract and leaves after like 3 years. The Islanders fan base took a major hit last night and I definitely do not have the same respect for them as I once did.

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John Tavares Returns To Nassau Coliseum Thursday Night

The New York Islanders and Islanders have had this day circled on their calendar the moment Tavares left and the schedule was released. Returning to the Barclays Center would not have been as emotional of a return but the Coliseum where Islander fans fell in love with Tavares, where Tavares made his name as an Islander is going to make for a whirlwind of emotions.

Some Islanders fan will have mixed feelings about Tavares return but some will not. Their is going to be a thank you video on the big screen before the game but this is going to make for one hell of a game. I will be sure to capture any video or material I can when I am at the tailgate and at the game and report back the next day. Also, I will be supporting a Tavares jersey (Islanders of course) there to see what others have to say about it.

John Tavares played nine seasons with the Islanders, he was their first round first overall selection in the 2009 draft. Immediately when Tavares came to the Islanders he buried 24 goals for 54 points in 82 games. Catching the eye of every Islanders fan. Tavares went onto to score 24+ goals for the next 8-years of his career in New York. The moment Tavares put up 81 points, 31 goals and 50 assists in 82 games during his third year. The word was out on Tavares and all of Long Island fell in love with him (except some Rangers fan on the island). There are many fond moments of Tavares during his early years on the Island and it was during his early years the Islanders struggled yet Tavares was still a top talent in the league. Tavares was one of, if not the sole reason the Coliseum filled seats during their down years and it will be like that once more as he returns for a game vs the Islanders sporting a Leafs jersey.

But, why could it be that Islanders fans are so bitter about Tavares leaving? I’ve heard some arguments supporting his decision but mostly disgruntled fans saying his legacy as an Islander is tarnished. Without Tavares during those first six years of his career I don’t think anyone off of Long Island would have known what the Islanders were. Tavares spent nine seasons with the Islanders in that time the Islanders posted a 289-251-82 record, appearing in the playoffs three times (1 of them in 2012 was the lockout half year) winning one playoff series and missing the playoffs his first three years and 5 of the 9 seasons total.

Was it really unrealistic to think Tavares deserved better? He muscled through the years from 2009-2013 when the only time the Islanders made the playoffs was because half a season. He dealt with numerous coaching changes, dealt with the move to the Barclays center and being the generational talent he is. That is a lot to deal with and to still continuously show up year after year and be a top-10 NHL player, hats off to Tavares. Also, it is worthy to the note the only Islanders playoff series win in 23 years came in 2015-16 vs the Florida Panthers all due to a John Tavares overtime game-winning goal.

It just seems like the Islanders fans are being extremely bitter about the situation. Almost like when your girlfriend breaks up with after nine years because “you guys are just not fit for each other”, sure be bitter but you don’t need to have a nineteen page report from Tavares describing why he left the Islanders. I think it was pretty clear he wanted to win, he knows he is getting up here in age. Toronto is his home town. It made total sense to me but to some Islanders fans not so much. Plus how can you be bitter at someone who brought you so much joy and happiness, I mean listen to the crowd and the announcer in that video. One of the only good thing Islanders have going for them is that playoff win in 2016.

It’s just a little odd to me a guy that a six time All-Star, nine-time 24+ goal scorer with the Islanders, four time 70+ point player with the Islanders. A big reason some of you even like Islanders and follow the team to this day, a reason some of you even play or played hockey and a big reason why some of your kids play or played hockey. Tavares did so much for Long Island and to say his legacy is tarnished is beyond me. Let the guy be, enjoy the Thank You clip during the game Thursday, if you don’t like him, great but at least be an adult about it Go and cheer the Islanders on and be happy you still have a good team without him and let the walking of Tavares this summer go. I say this because TSN released a video showing Islanders fan talking bad about Tavares and his return to the Coliseum Thursday, only a few fans but if you agree with those people you probably kicked rocks and played outfield in little league.

Team Preview: Toronto Maple Leafs; Addition of Tavares enough for Toronto to take the next step?

The Leafs for two years in a row punched their ticket tot he playoffs. The Leafs have not made the playoffs in back to back seasons since 2002-2004, before the Leafs drafted Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander, acquired Frederick Anderson they have been known to be the laughing stock of this Atlantic division. Missing the playoffs 10 out of 11 seasons prior to 2016-17 the Leafs did not have much going for them.

Well, with a 4th place Atlantic division finish in 2016-17 and a recent 3rd place finish last season the Leafs are surely on their way up. The Leafs are coming off a 49 win and 105 point season, a lot of their success has been built on their forward depth and Frederick Anderson playing unbelievable minutes. And as we all know with the recent forward signing in John Tavares a lot of Leaf fans and NHL fans believe the Leafs have what it take to make that next step.

In the offseason due to the signing of John Tavares and his 77 million dollar deal the Leafs have parted ways with veteran forward Leo Komarov, Tyler Bozak, James Van Reimsydk and defenseman Roman Polak. While adding Tyler Ennis and Jordan Subban, the Leafs sure did give up a good amount to make sure Tavares could come back home. But with the loss of Komarov, Bozak and JVR are the Leafs going to be able to supplement their absence with the presence of John Tavares?

Leafs front end is locked and loaded for a “different” season…

Toronto Maple Leafs Marner and MatthewsWith a line up consisting of Nylander, Matthews and Patrick Marleau they have a very solid and well known first line. If Marleau and Matthews can stay healthy the Leafs will be in good shape. Signing back Nylander is the problem as of now. Now, with a second line of Tavares, Zach Hyman and Marner the Leafs need these two young guns alongside Tavares to help aid the superstar center and really prove their worth in the NHL. Marner has to stay consistent. Last year he went on a small skid, but still was able to tally 69 points In 82 games, we have to assume that playing with Tavares will help keep the young forward on a solid path. Hyman tallied 40 points last season with 15 goals. With Tavares now in the middle of these two the Leafs have a very good and interchangeable 1, 2 punch. The third line with Nazem Kadri, Connor Brown and Kasperi Kapanen the Leafs again not only have a solid shut down line but a line can be of use on the offensive side. 

The Leafs have a great range of ages in the locker room a good mix of young guys, seasoned veterans and also a superstar with 9 years experience now too. The only problem many wonder about is the Leafs defense.

The big question mark for the Leafs: Is their back end capable of a Stanley Cup push?

Morgan Rielly Maple LeafsOn the back end the Leafs have Morgan Rielly and Ron Hainsey. Sure, Hainsey is 37-years-old but he has played in a consist 80 plus games 4 of the last 5 seasons and a 37-year-old who sees d-pairing one minutes does a fine job at it too. He tallied 23 points last season the most he has had since 2009-10. Reilly as we know has questions about being a number one defenseman but he does a great job on the power play and also logs major minutes on top 52 points. Rielly is coming off his best year and it will for sure not slow down with this new wave of confidence the Leafs have. Throw in Jake Gardiner and Nikita Zaistev, the Leafs line two compares to many other line twos. Zaistev is young sure and has only played two full seasons but in his first year he logged 36 points and last season in 60 games he tallied 13 points. Zaitsev has some concerns but all they need from him is a solid 17 plus minutes a game to shut down opposing players. Gardiner does a great job on the second power play unit and coming off his best year ad 52 point season will just like Reilly show no signs of slowing down. Connor Carrick and Travis Dermott are young and anxious they want to make a name for themselves and I think these two logging 13-14 minutes a game on the third line is nothing they can’t handle. We saw bright spots in both of them last year and the Leafs back end gets extremely undervalued. One reason they can surely supplement a lacking third line d-pairing is because of goaltender Frederick Anderson. Last season Anderson 66 games winning 38 of them with a 2.8 GAA and .918 save percentage. This is Andersons second year logging 66 starts he is more than capable of getting the job done the only concern is his playoff performance as he has shown to dwell in the postseason. If Anderson can take that next step and fix his postseason play the Leafs have what it takes.

Predictions?

I think with Tampa and Boston still a little better and more rounded then the Leafs they won’t edge them out. I could see a 2nd place finish out of Toronto for sure but won’t be surprised to see a 3rd place 102-105 point season again. They will be back in the playoffs and I think this is the year they win their first playoff series in 15 years.