[**UPDATE: The Islanders will make an announcement "about Tavares' future" at 1 p.m. Thursday. One can assume he won't be leaving hockey to enter the clergy.
[**UPDATE 2: Bob McKenzie, Arthur Staple, Katie Strang and your Uncle Al report it's 6 years, $5.5 million average salary.]
To tell you the truth, I don't know how often Toronto-oriented columnists (not to be confused with beatwriters) still waft the fumes of "John Tavares should be a Maple Leaf" and "JT wants out" anymore. I never read them much anyway, but they happened often enough to become an assumed joke around here.
A tacit partnership between big-talking GM Brian Burke and the tabloid media helps both sell papers and stoke Leafs fan buzz by openly coveting Tavares as far back as his draft year. (Alright, it even pre-dates that year...and Burke.)
So, not that a(nother) dose of reality discourages the determined troll -- hey, some of these guys have PHWA cards! -- but Arthur Staple's report in Newsday about negotiations on a long-term deal for Tavares must be a blow to the TMZ equivalents in our beloved hockey world.
"Once this [contract] is done, it'll finally show people that this is where I want to be," Tavares told Newsday. If only blatant evidence were enough for these people.
Regardless, read Staple's report for more details. Clearly Tavares would prefer a deal done so that it doesn't hang over the season and feed the trolls. But no doubt his agent and GM Garth Snow will tread purposefully. Neither of those two offered comment. While this is a good sign (who wouldn't love to remove that potential distraction?), that doesn't mean it must be done before October. But it would be nice.
- Last night's game: Our recap | Our in-game thread | The official site recap | Kirk Luedeke (NEHJ) | NESN
- Do you believe this? Bryan Trottier is the front man (not the money man) for a late-entering group interested in buying the Blues. Connections between the two franchises go back to Al Arbour, and I could give you about 100 more.
- More on the Trent Hunter Kings tryout at OC Register. If healthy, I think he could help any team in a bottom line role. But I fear for that knee and the whole "it takes a year for a knee to truly be 100%" thing. Best of luck.
- Hockey1919 FanShot'd this, but it may be food for deeper exploration later: Friedman with a brief on Tavares working on technical aspects of his skating and shot over the summer. JT is a perfectionist, so the results could be fun.
- Friedman's link also discusses RFA's and briefly mentions Josh Bailey. Of course the big, curious RFAs are the three defensemen from Bailey's draft class.
- More on Ken Morrow being honored by Bowling Green.
- An Islanders training camp preview from SBN-NY.
- Chris Botta offered a four-pack of preview interviews (disclosure: I was going to be one, but we crossed wires) and dropped the announcement that he'd be moving on from Point Blank. I know people have conflicting views on this, but no one can deny he provided a mountain of info and food for thought in his years doing PB -- including, for those who remember, during his blogging during his final season as PR head.
- FanPost discussions 'round here: Is this a make-or-break year for Josh Bailey? And does Garth Snow have a preseason move up his sleeve? Finally, some notes and observations about NHL 12 and the Islanders.
- NEW: TSN's Bob McKenzie on various pending extensions, including Tyler Meyers and Tavares.
- NEW: NY Post with a great piece on Rick DiPietro's comeback, episode I-can't-count-that-high.
- NEW: Brian Compton reports Tavares said last week: "I know Charles is going to make every attempt to keep the team here. We believe it'll work out. We're not sweating over it.
'Hockey for Me Is a Passion' Links
- The Philadelphia Flyers obviously hate fun. (They're restricting Tweets.)
- No really -- the Flyers hate fun. (Just two promo giveaways this season.)
- How small is Winnipeg? Well, it's not exactly Saskatoon (where the Blues almost moved in 1983 before the league blocked it). But it is small enough that the new Jets players can't find real estate to fit their certain "zest for living." (/Caddyshack)
- Good Puck Daddy blogs from the Bulis guy lately. This one's on the awful linemates Jarome Iginla's had despite piling up points year after year.
- If you find Battle of California vulgar then don't click this link [language and such]. But me, well I've been waiting for RudyKelly to write this post for years: The Mind of a Goaltender.
- The Oilers wouldn't, like, be reluctant to report a concussion would they?
- So the Blue Jackets still have a major wild card in Steve Mason. I'm not buying stock in him.
Ryan Strome, still talking faster than a Grabner:
Anders NIlsson flashes the English skillz:
Jack Capuano liked how the Isles applied the lessons they went over in video. Also liked the camaraderie and Nilsson, naturally. Again avoided picking out individual evals on the prospects, which is probably smart.
He did say he liked Nino Niederreiter's game: "As a coach we're [watching out] for things they can maybe get away with in this game that they can't" against better competition.