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Fan Survival Guide: If the Islanders don't pick Tavares

You have chosen, wisely.
You have chosen, wisely.
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

This is not a post I wanted to write -- and I don't think it will be necessary -- but just in case, it never hurts to be prepared. After all, you don't go driving without a parachute. Or you don't get on a bike without a sail. Er, you don't rush into battle without clean underwear? Something.


Thus, herein lies the Fan Survival Guide: What to Do if the Islanders Pass on Tavares.

Open only in the event of an emergency...

Before we get to operating instructions, a few details to make this guide more useful to you and your family:

First, classify yourself and your location.

Are you at the Islanders Draft Party? Are you at home? Are you actually at the draft in Montreal? Are you at a bar, where mocking Rags fans and/or bandwagoners may be in the vicinity? This is important information, and for safety, you might share it with family or friends who find themselves elsewhere. You do have family and/or friend who are still Islanders fans, don't you?

Second, think of others.

Before protecting yourself, ask yourself if there are children or parents you should be looking out for. It's all fine and good if you put on your helmet and riot gear at Nassau Coliseum the moment Garth Snow says, "...from Brampton Batallion..." -- but do you have an elder parent watching at home? One in debatable cardiac health? One prone to throwing objects at the TV and inadvertently harming electronics or family members in the name of Oleg Kvasha? You should think of these people first. (By the way, if you have Rangers fans in the family or in your circle of friends, now is a good time to go off the grid with them. And if they try to find you? Well, you remember what happened to Fredo, don't you?)

Likewise, do you have a depressive friend who you can distract from the news by Tweeting or texting messages about Jon & Kate? Or by ranting about Britnary Duffguilera-Fox?

Don't be so self-centered: Think about those around you who need saving.

We now proceed with instructions, for the moment the Islanders announce they are not taking Tavares...

If You are at the Draft Party at Nassau Coliseum

1. Take a deep breath.

2. Put on your helmet, and zip up your fire-retardant coat. Keep your eyes open. There may be chaos.


3. Do not participate in violence or destruction -- there are cameras everywhere, and the video is admissible in a court of law. Even in Nassau County.

4. You know that one friend you have who was pulling for Duchene or Hedman? Find him.


5. Protect him and escort him out of the building, escaping the carnage.

6. Spend the rest of the night forcing him to tell you again why Hedman will be the next Niklas Pronger, or why Duchene has the "heart of a champion" and the "completeness of a lion." Don't provide this friend any food or drink until you are convinced. (Note: At this time, you might refamiliarize yourself with the Geneva Conventions.)

7. Remind yourself that Snow is not Mad Mike-crazy, just self-assured and backup goalie-crazy. He really has the club's long-term interests in mind. Reasonable(?) people disagree on the top pick. The draft is always a crapshoot.

If You are at Home

1. Take a deep breath.

2. Ask yourself how much you spent on your TV. Use this information to determine whether it's more economically rational to crosscheck the TV or the china cabinet. (Like you ever use the china anyway.)

3. Call a friend. Important: NOT A HOCKEY FAN FRIEND. At this point, you need distraction, so call the annoying friend you never call back because you always find something better to do, like doing laundry or rearranging your Dynasty memorabilia. If you reach this friend, your agitated state may persuade them not to call you ever again. It's like a lose-win, (a.k.a. "shootout loss").

4. After they hang up, tell yourself, "This isn't half as bad as Milbury's draft-day moves."


5. Repeat. Repeat.

6. Talk yourself into Duchene as Stevie Y., who won the Cup a mere 13 years after he was drafted, and after altering his game to fit Scotty Bowman. {Gulp.} Or, as needed, talk yourself into Hedman as Zdeno Chara, who hit his prime ... um, sometime after he left Long Island. {Gulp.}

7. Alright, forget about #6 and just do #5. Again.

8. Drink. Drink heavily. Do not grab your Isles gear, do not grab matches -- maybe even strip naked and go to a room with no sharp objects. Just drink until you pass out.* (Note: Pilsner Urquell is a good non-hangover-inducing beer. Yes, I'm biased because I'm Czech, but you don't see me fawning over Bobby Holik, do you? Stick to the original Pilsner, baby. And it's Plzen, 'cause Czechs don't need vowels.) I'm sure you'll wake up in time to be thrilled by the 31st or 37th pick on Saturday morning.


*If you are not of drinking age, just down a bunch of that Red Bull/Monster/Pierre McGuire energy drink junk. Whatever.

If You are at the Draft in Montreal

1. Take a deep breath.

2. Do not get overly demonstrative or violent. There are cameras all around you, who would like nothing better than to capture your look of horror as they revel in Islanders' sorrow. Ever looked at a distraught expression? It's really, really ugly. That look -- on your face -- will be all over YouTube in seconds. Plus, video evidence or your malicious property damage is admissible in a court of law. Even in French Canada.

3. Know that people will laugh at you. (People like to do this; it's a cruel world. But you're an Isles fan -- you know this.) This is when, to save face amid other fans, you can either a) Laugh it off, act like you expected to trade down all along, or b) Go on a rant about Garth Snow/Mike Milbury/John Spano that lasts so long, everyone around you leaves, including John Tavares' extended family. (Try not to scare off any hot Swedish women, though.)

4. Tell yourself, "This isn't as bad as Milbury's draft moves." Repeat. Repeat.


5. Talk yourself into Duchene as Joe Sakic, who won a Cup after three last-place years, a few more decent years, and a franchise move. {Gulp.} Or talk yourself into Hedman as Chris Pronger, who hit his prime like ... after he'd got into legal trouble, was traded, traded again ... and traded again, pissing off half of Alberta in the process. {Gulp.}

6. Alright, forget about #5 and just move on to #7.


7. Take on the persona of an emotionless, stone-cold war reporter, because that's what you'll need to do now. Chase down team staff. Chase down other prospects. Ask everyone -- and there will be plenty of people happy to revel in give you colorful quotes about your misfortune -- "What the hell do you think about the damned Islanders passing on Tavares?"

When talking to the Islanders' second pick, remain calm and ask measured, objective questions, like, "Seriously, can you believe your new team just passed on Tavares? I mean what's up with that? Have fun next year; the atmosphere should be great. You'll never be Bossy, kid."

8. Relax. You're in Montreal, famous for its many fine "cultural" establishments. Enjoy those and forget this ever happened -- until Monday, at least. You can make yourself miserable about hockey the other 363 days of the year.