For the second time since leaving the New York Islanders, John Tavares returned to Nassau Coliseum. One fan gave him a hard time in perfect fashion.
Whenever the New York Islanders host John Tavares the fireworks are expected to come out. The fans gave Tavares the business the first time, February 28, and again yesterday on April 1, for his second trip back to Long Island.
Unfortunately, this go around John Tavares scored and of course, the fans erupted with boos and clever chants. Eventually, you knew Tavares would score and begin to produce, he’s far too talented not to.
What we didn’t know was that JT would take a penalty, leading to one of the best exchanges I’ve ever seen between a player in the penalty box and fan:
This fan, with passion in his eyes, absolutely lays into John Tavares while in the box. With the best seat for this scenario, this fan bellied up to the bar and was no holds barred right into the grill of Mr. Tavares and JT saw it, looking directly into this man’s eyes.
Not once did this fan curse, or use inappropriate language or slurs. He simply expressed what every fan has felt or thought for the past nine months. It was the nine-month anniversary of the decision and this man clearly still has the same emotions that we as Islander fans do.
Unfortunately, a majority of the internet considered this “embarrassing” for Islander fans. To me, and a majority of the Islanders fans, this couldn’t have gone better. The issue is those who hate on it simply do not understand.
No, this isn’t like when Mats Sundin returned to Toronto. It isn’t like Bryce Harper’s return to Washington D.C. There isn’t a good comparison because we have never seen anything like this in sports.
Tavares turned down more money and a chance to cement his legacy in New York for a trip back home. It’s not that he left, it’s how he left. We can say it until we’re blue in the face but the majority of sports fans just don’t get it.
Consider yourself lucky that your team wasn’t held hostage by their savior, count your lucky stars that you don’t get it. If Tavares stayed he’s a jersey retirement candidate, especially if he wins a championship, but even if they never won and he produced the way he has for the next eight years he becomes the most important player post-dynasty era.
So no, this fan wasn’t out of line, he doesn’t have to let it go, and he most certainly doesn’t have to stop doing what he’s doing. Thanks to this for keeping it clean and being honest to how he was feeling. Honest, something John Tavares never was.