Now that "John Tavares" has "written" his farewell to the Islanders for The Players Tribune, here are some final Point Blank thoughts on the whole ordeal:
Tavares' piece was what you'd expect: an attempt to explain himself and thank Islander fans. The timing of its publishing was flawed; the piece posted just as the pain and anger in Islanders Country had subsided. Getting his message across by July 2 would have been more effective and heartfelt. But hey, I know how tough it is to write on deadline.
Still, it's clear from reading the piece that Tavares was very aware of the reaction of his departure, and cares what people think about him. There's nothing bad about that.
Only one part of it was truly strange, considering the goal of the piece. Including the large section about his love for the Maple Leafs was an odd choice by Editor John Tavares. Why not save that part for opening week of the NHL season?
I usually stay away from trying to suggest how fans should think or feel. My appreciation for the die-hards is endless, and a writer can never possibly compare their emotions to those of the paying customers. But since I said this on a few radio shows, I'll share it here. The only part of the Islanders' fans anguish that I disagree with are the attempts by a few to diminish Tavares as a player. He was a great player, is a great player. Unless Mike Babcock over-coaches or something goes terribly off the rails in Toronto, I believe we will see even more greatness from Tavares over the next 3-5 years, at least.
As I mentioned on Twitter -- and received some fabulous replies and ideas from fans -- I wouldn't recommend that the Islanders produce an elaborate welcome back when Tavares returns the first time as a Leaf. He left the team at age 27. He will be a tough opponent in the conference for many years. Doesn't seem like the right time to kiss his rear. Besides, when he ran the Devils, Lou Lamoriello was not known for emotional ceremonies for players still in uniform. Keep the welcome back simple and let the fans react as they will. And oh, will they.
I can definitely see many fans showing up in Islanders pajamas. That would be a beautiful, funny thing -- a visual gag Tavares would no doubt appreciate.
It was hilarious to see one Toronto writer tweet that Tavares' article clearly inferred he would have stayed if Garth Snow and Doug Weight were retained. The stupidity level of the takes on this subject were off the charts, and they can't end soon enough.
(That includes here. Three paragraphs left!)
Would Lamoriello, at the right time and when he has the resources, try to entice a major restricted free agent to sign an offer sheet? Especially in light of his stated disappointment over the UFA listening period, I could see it happening at some point before Belmont.
My view of the Tavares saga is simple: he's a good person who made a decision best for him and family, and he handled parts of its clumsily.
I know…you're so done with this subject. Agreed. We move on.