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In his first four seasons as an Islander, John Tavares has played 82, 79, 82 and 54 NHL games, respectively. And keep in mind this past season, Tavares played 26 games with SC Bern of the Swiss league prior to the lockout being resolved, so he really played 82 professional games in 2012-13.

Not only is he a proven talent in this league, but he seems to be durable and able to keep up with the grind of a full NHL season. But leave it to ESPN to think that Tavares might be tired because he's not used to an NHL season because he used to play in the OHL -- four years ago -- or something. Here's Paul Grant:

[sny-box]The lockout-shortened season seemed to be just what Tavares needed. Young players eventually get burned out by the heavy-duty drag that is the NHL season, especially when coming off the shorter seasons in junior.[/sny-box]

Four seasons in the NHL playing nearly every game still qualifies Tavares as "coming off the shorter seasons in junior?"

[sny-box]Last season, Tavares managed to maintain his point-a-game pace, putting the pedal down without hesitation, no doubt revitalized by having a bit of a break entering his fourth season and not having to meet full-season expectations. In some ways, it was like an OHL season all over, what with fewer games and no travel outside your time zone.[/sny-box]

Except that whole traveling to Switzerland for three months thing, which gives me an excuse to post the picture of this awesome helmet again:

[sny-box] As a result, Tavares had more time and success on the power play, his shooting percentage was much higher and he almost managed to get his plus/minus above sea level on the traditionally defensively submerged Islanders. And, along the way, he made the Islanders into an exciting team to watch that scared the bejeebers out of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round. [/sny-box]

At least we can agree that last season was fun to watch.

Tags: Islanders, john tavares
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