clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Islanders News: Don’t Look Back in Anger

I’m really sorry for referencing Oasis; won’t happen again.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs at New York Islanders
Fare thee well.
Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

At the time of this writing, it’s been ten hours since John Tavares decided to leave the Islanders for the Maple Leafs. The best player the Islanders have had in like 30 years. The best they’ve ever had in my lifetime; the only player whose name I was ever lucky enough to have on the back of a jersey, which will now sit in the back of my closet. Easily my favorite Islander of all time, gone.

I don’t begrudge him of his decision. I want to be angry with him - those are the rules, we should be mad at him - but I can’t be. As many others have pointed out, the combination of going home and living out his childhood dreams, the Leafs’ steady rise as contenders, the many uncertainties and misgivings of the organization on Long Island - it all makes sense as to why he’d take off. I do take solace in knowing he had it down to the Isles and the Leafs, and that he tore himself up over his decision, and that he choked up talking about his time with, and leaving, the Islanders. I can’t deny his contributions to the franchise include essentially the only modicum of success I’ve seen this godforsaken team experience. I do think that he deserves some blame for how it all went down. But not nearly enough to be truly angry at him - the real fury belongs to the Islanders. Just supremely sad about him.

Despite this cavernous low, I’ll always be a John Tavares fan, and I’ll never not be thankful for what he meant to the Islanders. I even think I will be happy for him if/when he finally helps bring the Stanley Cup to Toronto. But if I’m at his first game back in Brookluniondale, I’m gonna have to boo the steaming shit out of him. Those are the rules.

Tavares Fallout

  • In case you skipped the above and also live under a rock: yes, John Tavares is a Toronto Maple Leaf. [Newsday | NHL | New York Times]
  • As both Arthur Staple and Mark Herrmann note, plenty of blame to go around for all parties involved. But still, hard not to pin most of it on Garth Snow. [The Athletic | Newsday]
  • Reaction from the Islanders was muted, but his new teammates were thrilled and the cluster of celebrity Islanders fans felt our pain. [Newsday]
  • The Isle Seat Podcast came to grips with the decision. [Isle Seat | Soundcloud]
  • For some fans, there is relief in knowing the outcome and having a blank slate. [LHH Fanpost]
  • For others, it wasn’t a surprise, and yet there is still disbelief in its occurrence. [LHH Fanpost]
  • According to Brooksie, it was owner Scott Malkin that declared Tavares not be traded before his contract was up. Guess we’ll never know the real story. Or maybe we will. [NY Post]
  • Stan Fischler says the Islanders can survive, but they most move on quickly. [MSG]
  • For his part, Tavares really did seem to be wistful of his time with the Islanders. [Conference Call - MSG Fischler Article]
  • He described how difficult this decision was for him personally, and I believe it was as agonizing for him as it was for us. Okay, well, that blow is softened by money and success, but it still tore away at him. [LHH]

Islanders News

  • In other news, Jaroslav Halak has moved on to the Boston Bruins, but the Islanders kept Thomas Hickey in the fold with nice four-year deal. [Newsday]
  • Right around that time, though, things started to get ugly. First, obviously, Tavares walked. But then, around the time of Tavares’ press conference in Toronto, the Islanders announced the signing of Leo Komarov to a four-year contract. Hmmm nope. [LHH]
  • He brings grit and sandpaper and all that, but now the Islanders literally have $10 million invested in their fourth line. [THN]
  • And then, after missing out on Ryan O’Reilly, they signed Valtteri Filppula to a one-year deal. Filppula is pretty bad, so at least it’s only one year, but not loving the work Lou is doing, even if the goal is now to be bad this season. [LHH]

Free Agency News

  • A full round-up for those that desire it. [NHL]
  • Defenseman Ian Cole signed on with the Avs. [MHH]
  • Not really free agency, but a long-rumored trade held up by free agency: Ryan O’Reilly was sent to the Blues by the Sabres for a package with a lot of assets, though none of which are all that great. [SLGT]
  • Jack Johnson, as you know, is a Pittsburgh Penguin. He and new GM Jim Rutherford didn’t have kind things to say about how the show was run in Columbus, and Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella fired back in the only way he knows how. [The Athletic]

Other News

  • Colin Campbell took over for Mike Keenan after the latter left the team with whom he just won the Cup in a contract dispute. Todd Reirden steps into a similar situation as he fills the void on the Capitals that Barry Trotz left. [AP]
  • On Saturday, the Canadiens gave up one ‘B’-level prospect in exchange for a decent player, a couple picks, and the contract of Steve Mason from the Jets. Rather shrewd business. [HEOTP]
  • Saturday was also the 26th anniversary of the Eric Lindros trade(s); he was traded to both the Rangers and Flyers, but the Flyers were ruled to have gotten him - and the return gave the Nordiques franchise their first Stanley Cup... their first year in Colorado as the Avalanche. [MHH]