John Tavares and his agent Pat Brisson sat down to discuss the decision that led him to leave the New York Islanders. And he wants you to remember that it was a tough decision.
With the 2018-19 season getting close we’re getting to hear all of the big narratives that sports writers want us to know about, like how John Tavares is no longer with the New York Islanders. On Monday the Athletic released a Q&A with Tavares and his agent Pat Brisson. And it wasn’t great from an Islanders fan perspective.
If you haven’t yet read it you can do so here. Remember The Athletic has a paywall and this article wasn’t unlocked to the public.
It’s been two months since he left the Islanders high-and-dry, and John Tavares wants you to remember how difficult this ordeal was for him.
It Was Hard, M’Kay
We all know how it played out. We were all glued to our phones or computer watching our Twitter timelines for any sort of news.
We know that in the week prior to officially being a free agent John Tavares spoke with the New York Islanders, Toronto Maple Leafs, San Jose Sharks, Boston Bruins, and Dallas Stars in person along with a phone interview with the Vegas Golden Knights.
Those meeting wrapped up on June 27th, and on June 29th Tavares and Brisson knew he was going to Toronto. Of course, we wouldn’t know for two more days, until July 1st when he was unveiled to the media as a Maple Leaf.
That part is undoubtedly going to make some people mad. Tavares knew he wanted to go to Toronto days before it became official, but he dragged it out until the Islanders couldn’t get anything out of him. Fair enough.
But to me, the worst part is how he and Brisson talk about how Tavares’ heart was in Toronto, How that’s where Tavares “wanted to live”. That’s tough to hear. That’s what’s going to cement his legacy with the Islanders faithful; another player that just didn’t want to be here.
But the worst of it is how his decision was a tough one for him. But at this point, that narrative sounds patronizing. I have no doubt it was difficult, but difficult is hearing someone say one thing and then realize they meant the exact opposite.
Like how Tavares indicated at every opportunity that he wanted it to work out with the New York Islanders. Something that was completely within his power to affect. Until he decided that his heart was actually always in Toronto.
A Rivalry is Born
After all that I loathe the Toronto Maple Leafs, and it isn’t even the Maple Leafs fault. They built up their team well with smart decision making. While the Islanders for almost their entire existence did the exact opposite.
Tavares decision has turned them into a rival that, at least this season, will compare to the rivalry with the Rangers. When the Leafs come to the Barclays on February 28th and the Nassau Coliseum on April 1st it will be a hostile environment for the Leafs.
I’m not sure why John Tavares thinks he will receive a positive welcoming on his return to the Island.
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The more John Tavares talks about his decision the worse he looks. He needs to tell his agent, who seemed all too pleased to share his side of the story, that he won’t do these types of media requests anymore. It’s a win for him, and for us, who don’t have to hear about it anymore.