The announcement of John Tavares signing with the Toronto Maple Leafs came with packaged statements on his Twitter feed, explaining to the Isles and to fans his decision and the dilemma that dragged it out into July 1 after receiving pitches from five other teams last week.
A little while later the New York Islanders issued their statement, their first and only on the matter really, with attribution to president of hockey operations and general manager Lou Lamoriello:
“The New York Islanders would like to thank John Tavares for everything he has done for the franchise throughout the past nine seasons. John has achieved great individual success on the ice as well as devoting a tremendous amount of his time and energy to the community. We wish him the best.”
Nothing in there about the past week or anything else from this spring, which is probably just as well. If you wanted to parse Lou-ese, you might note the “individual success” as a reflection of both parties’ role in this divorce: they reached this point because there wasn’t enough team success.
How it went down the last 24 to 48 hours certainly wasn’t ideal for the Islanders’ purposes, with him apparently moving toward the Leafs Friday and spending Saturday negotiating terms, but of course nothing about this was ideal. Tavares went through his process to make a life-changing decision and reconnect with his childhood dreams, something anyone can understand. The Islanders have to take it, thank him and move on.
No doubt Lamoriello is all the more motivated to build a team on Long Island that can counter the one he helped refine in Toronto.