You can dial the panic back ever so slightly now: John Tavares does not need surgery on his injured left knee.
The prognosis is now eight weeks of rehab for the torn MCL and meniscus suffered during Canada's Olympic quarterfinal with Latvia.
Tavares said he has had the same injury, on the same knee, as a teenager while preparing for a junior tournament. In an interview back at Islanders practice today (embedded below), he said the knee has already responded well -- "and a gold medal helps." He also said the meniscus issue "isn't really an issue" and he's optimistic about his rehab:
Tavares also discusses Olympic participation -- no doubt prompted after Garth Snow's venting last week about NHLers in the Olympics.
Meanwhile, the Islander lines at practice in the absence of Tavares and fellow center Frans Nielsen look a lot like you might expect, integrating Monday's recalls of Ryan Strome, Anders Lee and Mike Halmo (who figures to fill in for Matt Martin, nursing a lower body injury):
That of course means Josh Bailey is back at center for the time being, while the successful Bridgeport combo of Strome and Lee stay together.