Appearing on Sportsnet 590's The Fan during a break at the Gatorade GCamp, Islanders captain John Tavares talked a lot about a subject he's very passionate about: the Toronto Blue Jays, and their recent acquisition of outfielder Melvin Upton from the San Diedo Padres.
Later in the show, host Andrew Walker asked Tavares about a subject the entire city of Toronto is passionate about: assimilating Tavares into the Maple Leafs' gaping, drooling maw when he hits unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2018.
And that's when Tavares dropped the hammer, telling Walker that the reports of his impending divorce from the New York Islanders have been greatly exaggerated.
Walker: [cheekily] What will be your favorite part of playing in Toronto in two years?
Tavares: I would not count on that. I think I've shown my commitment, my appreciation and my desire to play on Long Island. I would love for that to continue for the long haul. I think that you look at some of the greatest players in the game have been able to spend their entire careers somewhere. I hope I'm in that same position.
Being from Toronto, people are going to make those connections and it is what it is. That's nothing I can control. I just want to go out and be the best player and person i can be for the Islanders day in and day out and I'm just going to focus on tomorrow and the upcoming season.
Clearly reeling from this unexpected rejection, Walker attempts to counterpunch Tavares with the recent news that the Islanders owners had been eyeing Willets Point in Queens and Belmont Park as possible relocation sites. Undaunted, our captain was having none of it.
Walker: Now on the back of your hockey card, it could say Islanders from year one to year 20. But it could be Queens or Brooklyn or Nassau or... you're all over the place.
Tavares: Yeah, there's a lot of stuff floating out there. But I've always told people, until you've played there or been there - I've been around the team, been around the organization, our fanbase - you really don't know what it's like.
There's a lot of opinions that are really... far off and don't really have a good pulse of what's going on or what the organization is all about. They drafted me there, gave me a great opportunity to play this game I love and fulfill my dream.
They've put a lot of high expectations in me and I don't take that lightly. I've always liked being there from Day 1, so I'd love to see it through and lift the Stanley Cup there.
My favorite part is the pause before he says, "... far off." I think what Tavares wanted to say was, "There are a lot of opinions out there that are, quite frankly, five pounds of bullshit in a four pound bag," or something to that effect. But, as we know, John Tavares is better than that and would not resort to using crude or foul language. (I, however, am not. And neither is Leboff.)
So, there you go. In five minutes, Tavares breaks the hearts of an entire city, says he wants to be like Mike Bossy and tells every out-of-town media member that has a problem with the Islanders to go get their shinebox.
Isn't that way more entertaining than talking about a Blue Jays-Padres trade?
As I say all the time: cherish this man.
Bonus Schadenfreude! In segueing from baseball talk to hockey talk, Walker mentioned a couple of the Islanders' overtime playoff heroes including Tavares, Thomas Hickey and Alan Quine, whose name Walker couldn't remember before settling on "Quinn" because who gives a shit, right?
Well, I'll tell you who gives a shit: Alan Quine gives a shit.