Over the last few nights, there has been a marked change with New York Islanders captain John Tavares. He’s letting his emotions out. What does that mean for the pending unrestricted free agent?
If there’s one criticism that New York Islanders captain John Tavares has received over his entire career it’s his robot-like approach to the game. Emotions aren’t part of John Tavares game.
It’s not a bad thing. He’s a hyper-focused individual with a single goal in mind. Emotions generally get in the way. The man is just a cool and calculated individual.
But over the last few nights, we’ve started to see John Tavares emotions come out. Both on the ice and on the bench.
Great Year, Bad Standing
It all started against the Florida Panthers. The Islanders season was already well and done, but with a loss to the Panthers, the Islanders would officially be eliminated from the playoffs. And by the second period, the Islanders were down 3-0.
After a tussle with Vincent Trocheck along the board, Tavares was steeming. Normally Tavares would let things go, not on this day. He let his frustration out on the very next Panther he saw.
The Trocheck altercation was nothing of consequence. It happens five times a game to a superstar player like Tavares. Clearly, the fact of missing the playoffs for the second straight year and the sixth time in his nine-year NHL career is getting to him.
Then came the game against the Toronto Maple Leafs four days later. The Isles were already eliminated and had but pride to play for. And they were putting on a good game. But every time they seemed to have gained an advantage the Maple Leafs responded. And JT had wasn’t having it.
First, it was Morgan Reilly that would feel the wrath of nine-years of potential wasted. Nine-years of having to deal with subpar teams. Nine-years of having to settle and put his big boy pants on and try to lead.
When was the last time you saw John Tavares steamroll another player? Never. Not once at all.
And if that wasn’t enough, minutes later Tavares’ next victim was going to be the referee. As Tavares channeled his inned Doug Weight.
What Does It All Mean
As with everything related to John Tavares, we all want to know: does it mean he’ll stay or leave? Because honestly, you could make the case either way. But to me it looks like a guy that’s entirely committed to the cause.
I can hear and even understand the argument that this frustration will be the straw that broke the camels back and he jettisons ASAP.
But what I see is a player still committed to the team and isn’t specifically concerned with his personal legacy but that of the team.
Maybe that fits with my hope that Tavares goes absolutely nowhere and stays an Islander for life. Or maybe I’m just completely blind to any other option. But to me, it seems like Tavares is still committed.