New York Islanders: Can John Tavares Be The Next Face Of The NHL?


Can New York Islanders centerman John Tavares be the next face of the NHL? Why not? He’s on the verge of a Hart Trophy and a possible playoffs run.

When John Tavares was picked first overall in the 2009 NHL draft New York Islanders fans could only pray that he would  be the player that experts were forecasting him to become.  Fast forward, JT is the captain and key factor in the resurrection of the once fallen franchise.

John Tavares did not pull an Eric Lindros and refuse to play for his drafted team.  He was well aware that New York is the mecca of sports media, even if the team he was heading to was on the bottom of the list of importance in the tri-state area.

Tavares did not disappoint.  From his rookie season to now, he has yet to score under twenty-goals in a season.  He finished third in voting in the 2012-2013 Hart Trophy for most valuable player.  JT was heading for another MVP run last season until it was ended when he suffered a knee injury during the Olympics.

John Tavares is right back at it.  At first This season with the teams early success, we witnessed a John Tavares that was not used to the secondary scoring that the Islanders came to play with.  Tavares struggled slightly during the first-half of the year.  For JT the team comes first and that is exactly where his head was at.  The workhorse that JT is, it began to become obvious his unusual struggles were possibly getting to him.

Tavares never put his head down, began to find his game and whomever was put on his left and right side benefited with Tavares as their center.   JT found ways to get the puck to his wingers and brought their game to the next level.  Whomever plays on  Tavares’s line begin to find the back of net, again zero coincidence in that.  JT may have the best vision in hockey, he slows the game down and opens the ice for himself and his teammates.

Mar 9, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) shoots the puck against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre. The Islanders beat the Maple Leafs 4-3 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Somehow, after not being named the MVP of this years All-Star game, John has yet to stop pushing forward.  Currently Tavares is second in the league in scoring and has put the team back on his shoulders carrying them each and every night.  It is not a coincidence when JT is hot so are the Isles.

The Islanders are in a funk that they need to shake now.  The team went from fighting for the top spot in the Metropolitan, to hanging on in staying in the top three.

The title of this piece was “Can John Tavares Be The Next Face Of The NHL?”  Currently Sydney Crosby even as much we cannot stand his whining ways holds that title.  When fans who don’t have a clue between the neutral zone and center ice they do know the name Sidney Crosby.

Tavares is making another case for  himself in capturing the MVP.  He was right in the thick of it last season until the injury and all of his past success were with teams that sometimes lacked the support like a Crosby may have.

Since the Brooklyn move was announced, we have been told of these great marketing geniuses that carried the Nets and their sales since their move to Barclays.  So what does this mean, is this the beginning of the John Tavares ERA in NY and beyond?

The Islanders no longer are awful.  Actually when they are on their game they are a top three team in this league.  They signed their two best defenseman Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk, which are all signs that veteran players know this winning season is no hoax.  Garth Snow and company are aiming for this team to be the Kings and Blackhawks of the East, consistent cup contending and championship teams.

Tavares is making another case for  himself in capturing the MVP.

What happens when teams win, especially Cups, they get exposure.  What’s the major league in media sports cities in the world, New York!  I know Barclays is not the Garden but it is just a few subway stops away.  The Yankees and Mets share the great city and if the writing on the wall could not be any clearer, John Tavares is not only going to be the face of the Islanders but there is a great chance he can be the face of the NHL.

Crosby has held that position strongly, winning a cup, season in and out he leads the league in scoring but guess what, Tavares has been right there with Crosby.  JT is a little monotone and his camera presence may not jump out at you like Hulk Hogan but it is better then the mumps.  JT’S work ethic and his ability to make everyone around him better are attributes that the league can see are  valuable in showing the world who John Tavares is.

The Hart Trophy is for the Most Valuable Player to his team.  Who is more valuable to their team then John Tavares is to the Islanders.  Yes the club has finally more soldiers to their army, but if JT was to go down and see extended time missed especially now, the result is to horrific to write.  Without John Tavares the Islanders lose their superstar identity.

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I am not taking anything away from anyone on the team, we love them all.  I can rattle off for an hour about the great positives each player brings to the table.  Tavares is aware without the support he has received from his players this season he would not be where he is.

JT’S on ice presence has gone from top ten, to five, to the argument is can he be the best player in the league.  He is twenty-four and has not even come close to touching his mental maturity as well as his physical.

The team and Tavares have played themselves into a playoff race.  There is a great chance that John Tavares has finally played himself in being the next face of the NHL.

Next: 3 Keys To A Successful Postseason

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