Tag:

John Tavares

Mar 11, 2018; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee (27) skates during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports (Sergei Belski)
Mar 11, 2018; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee (27) skates during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports (Sergei Belski)

The Islanders already missed out on their coveted free agent in C John Tavares this offseason. But that is now officially in the past, and focus turns toward another Isles key cog that will see his contract expire at the end of the year as well. 

Anders Lee is in the final year of his four-year, $15 million deal, after which he becomes an unrestricted free agent. It is too early to tell if Lee will take Tavares' route and hear out potential suitors next offseason, but that isn't even on his mind. 

According to Newsday's Andrew Gross, Lee isn't worried about his contract situation, saying "our cases are different."

Tags: Anders Lee, John Tavares
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New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) plays against the Detroit Red Wings in the third period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, April 7, 2018, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) (Paul Sancya/AP)
New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) plays against the Detroit Red Wings in the third period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, April 7, 2018, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) (Paul Sancya/AP)

The Islanders may have lost C John Tavares, but new head coach Barry Trotz doesn't believe it will kill their offensive output. 

Yes, Tavares accounted for 82 points last season, but Trotz thinks he has the personnel to find offensive success this upcoming season. 

"This team can score, with John Tavares or without John Tavares," Trotz told The Athletic's Arthur Staple in a Q&A session. "The area it's failed in maybe the last year and a half is on the defensive end. Just looking at the trends over the last four years, it's clear that's an area we need to fix. ...With the John Tavares situation, we look forward, we can't look back. Guys are up to the challenge. John's a fantastic player, face of the franchise and it's a hole you can't fill with one guy. It's collectively with the group."

Tags: Anders Lee, John Tavares, Mathew Barzal
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Nick Leddy (L) Johnny Boychuk (55) Josh Bailey (12) Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Nick Leddy (L) Johnny Boychuk (55) Josh Bailey (12) Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

Islanders Josh Bailey and Johnny Boychuk are sick of hearing the team doesn't have any hope next season. And more importantly, those who believe the team will lack leadership with the exit of captain John Tavares, must think again. 

These two Islanders veterans find themselves in position to take the torch, if you will, from Tavares and lead the pack. These past five seasons have been Tavares' team, but now, it is up to the collective group to work together. 

Tavares may be gone, but that doesn't mean the Islanders should be deemed out of the running already. 

Tags: John Tavares, Johnny Boychuk, Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal, Scott Thompson
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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.

Tags: John Tavares, Chris Botta
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New York Islanders center John Tavares skates against the New Jersey Devils during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 31, 2018, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)
New York Islanders center John Tavares skates against the New Jersey Devils during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 31, 2018, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)

John Tavares thanked Islanders fans and reflected on his time with the team via a Players' Tribune letter published on Wednesday.

The former Islanders' team captain described a breakdown-like situation he endured when he was forced to choose whether to sign with the Maple Leafs or remain with the Islanders -- a decision he said he "just literally, physically could not" make.

Tavares, who turned down an eight-year deal with the Islanders in favor of a contract with the Maple Leafs, said he wrote the letter because of his "real, honest, still-there love for the New York Islanders hockey franchise."

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Mathew Barzal (13) Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports (Sergei Belski)
Mathew Barzal (13) Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports (Sergei Belski)

After winning the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL's top rookie, 21-year-old Islanders forward Mathew Barzal can be the new face of the franchise with John Tavares out of the picture.

"He's a driven, driven guy to be the best player he can be," Russ Farwell, the VP of hockey operation for Barzal's junior hockey team, the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL, told Newsday's Andrew Gross. "He's totally focused on his game. He's a very confident guy, too. He was a really highly touted minor player, so being the show or being the guy wasn't foreign to him. His whole life, everybody has pointed to him."

Tags: John Tavares, Mathew Barzal
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Jan 22, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Lou Lamoriello and New Yor Yankees general manager Brian Cashman watch the Toronto Raptors play against the Phoenix Suns at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports (Tom Szczerbowski)
Jan 22, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Lou Lamoriello and New Yor Yankees general manager Brian Cashman watch the Toronto Raptors play against the Phoenix Suns at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports (Tom Szczerbowski)

Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello has nothing but respect for John Tavares after the former team captain opted to sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"In my dealings with John, he proved himself to be a sincere, honest young man," Lamoriello told NHL.com. "He earned the right to test free agency, and that's what he did.

Tavares totaled 621 points in 669 games with the Islanders since he was drafted in 2009. 

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Feb 28, 2018; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) during the third period against Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports
		 (Jean-Yves Ahern)
Feb 28, 2018; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) during the third period against Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports (Jean-Yves Ahern)

Islanders GM and president Lou Lamoriello saw franchise player John Tavares walk out the door last week, but says the Isles did everything in their power to prevent it.

"We did everything we possibly could to keep John," Lamoriello said Thursday on Sirius XM NHL radio. "He's a quality player. He's now with another team. That's the past."

Tavares bolted the Isles for his hometown Maple Leafs, while also passing on joining the Sharks, Bruins, and others. And with Tavares gone, the Isles should be on a three-year plan as they prepare for their new arena, says SNY contributor Chris Botta...

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Feb 28, 2018; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) during the third period against Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports
		 (Jean-Yves Ahern)
Feb 28, 2018; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) during the third period against Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports (Jean-Yves Ahern)

Islanders GM and president Lou Lamoriello saw franchise player John Tavares walk out the door last week, but says the Isles did everything in their power to prevent it.

"We did everything we possibly could to keep John," Lamoriello said Thursday on Sirius XM NHL radio. "He's a quality player. He's now with another team. That's the past."

Tavares bolted the Isles for his hometown Maple Leafs, while also passing on joining the Sharks, Bruins, and others. And with Tavares gone, the Isles should be on a three-year plan as they prepare for their new arena, says SNY contributor Chris Botta...

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Mar 8, 2018; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson (65) skates with the puck in the third period against the Buffalo Sabres at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY (Marc DesRosiers)
Mar 8, 2018; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson (65) skates with the puck in the third period against the Buffalo Sabres at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY (Marc DesRosiers)

After the gut-punch of the loss of John Tavares on Sunday, anyone could understand the desire to rebound. Who among us hasn't been dumped, only to dream of bouncing back with someone just as dazzling?

Otherwise, count me in the minority when it comes to clamoring for the Islanders to make a trade for Erik Karlsson. The Islanders will inquire, and would be right to investigate, but it is not the right move at this time for the club. The reasons...

The Price

Tags: John Tavares, Josh Ho-Sang, Chris Botta
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Isles fans angry over Tavares 00:01:34
Islanders fans give their reactions to the news of John Tavares signing with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Islanders fans called in to SNY en masse to bid John Tavares farewell.

Some were furious with Tavares, some understood his decision, and others had vitriol for ownership and departed GM Garth Snow.

What are your feelings about Tavares bolting for Toronto?

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Anders Lee (27) Mathew Barzal (13) Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports (Raj Mehta)
Anders Lee (27) Mathew Barzal (13) Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports (Raj Mehta)

Isles Country was devastated to see John Tavares decide to take his talents home and play for the Toronto Maple Leafs next season. And though fans may see only darkness ahead for the Islanders, NBC hockey analyst Pierre McGuire believes there to be light at the end of the tunnel. 

After analyzing the process Tavares took during his interview period that led up to his ultimate decision, McGuire understood why Tavares decided to fulfill his "childhood dream" to play for the Leafs instead of the organization that drafted him first overall back in 2009. 

"I'm not surprised," McGuire told SNY. "When you grow up in a Canadian city and you grew up dreaming about playing for that team whether it'd be Montreal or Vancouver or Toronto, that's a hard thing to not want to foresee or go through. So I understood that part of it after the fact."

Tags: Anders Lee, John Tavares, Mathew Barzal, Scott Thompson
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John Tavares (91) Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
John Tavares (91) Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

On the day after, as the Islanders turn the page after the most soul-sucking moment for the club and Country in this century, some thoughts as we await Lou Lamoriello's next move…

Lamoriello did not agree to run the Islanders because he was convinced Tavares was staying with the team

Take this to the bank: Lamoriello's decision to tackle this major project did not come down to whether one great player was going to re-sign with his team. His life in the game has always been about the image of "team," not "individual" accomplishments. If anything, Tavares' defection should only further energize the new boss. If this is to be Lamoriello's final act in the game, what better way to close a magnificent career than with the complete exorcism of a team haunted by three decades of mismanagement?

Tags: John Tavares, Chris Botta
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Feb 19, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) plays the puck against the Minnesota Wild during the third period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Feb 19, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) plays the puck against the Minnesota Wild during the third period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

On the day after, as the Islanders turn the page after the most soul-sucking moment for the club and Country in this century, some thoughts as we await Lou Lamoriello's next move…

Lamoriello did not agree to run the Islanders because he was convinced Tavares was staying with the team

Take this to the bank: Lamoriello's decision to tackle this major project did not come down to whether one great player was going to re-sign with his team. His life in the game has always been about the image of "team," not "individual" accomplishments. If anything, Tavares' defection should only further energize the new boss. If this is to be Lamoriello's final act in the game, what better way to close a magnificent career than with the complete exorcism of a team haunted by three decades of mismanagement?

Tags: John Tavares, Chris Botta
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Mar 3, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) looks on against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at PPG PAINTS Arena. The Penguins won 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Mar 3, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) looks on against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at PPG PAINTS Arena. The Penguins won 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

John Tavares asked the Islanders not to trade him during the season. He then flirted with five other teams before bolting the Isles for his hometown Maple Leafs. 

Maybe the Islanders never had a chance to lure Tavares back, with the dream of playing for the Leafs trumping anything the Isles could've done to convince him to stay.

What was your initial reaction to the news? How do you think Tavares handled the decision? What will you miss the most about him? Where do the Isles go from here? 

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Mar 27, 2018; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators left wing Tom Pyatt (10) defends against New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) in the third period at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)
Mar 27, 2018; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators left wing Tom Pyatt (10) defends against New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) in the third period at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)

Former Islanders captain John Tavares wrote goodbye letters to the Islanders organization and their fans after he decided to sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The 27-year-old Tavares spent all of his first nine career seasons with the Islanders dating back to 2009-10 when he was 19 years old.

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New York Islanders center John Tavares skates against the New Jersey Devils during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 31, 2018, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)
New York Islanders center John Tavares skates against the New Jersey Devils during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 31, 2018, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)

Islanders captain John Tavares has signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs on a seven-year deal with an average annual value of $11 million.

The Islanders had extended an eight-year offer to Tavares on Saturday afternoon, reports Arthur Staple of The Athletic. But on Sunday morning, he informed the team of his decision not to return.

The Islanders were expected frontrunners to re-sign the veteran center.

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New York Islanders forward John Tavares (91) celebrates his goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Buffalo Sabres, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes) (Jeffrey T. Barnes/AP)
New York Islanders forward John Tavares (91) celebrates his goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Buffalo Sabres, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes) (Jeffrey T. Barnes/AP)

The NHL is collectively awaiting John Tavares' free agency decision as the superstar picks where he'll continue his career, be it with the Islanders or elsewhere.

In the meantime, fans have delivered with humor. Check out some of the best #TavaresWatch tweets below.

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Oct 7, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) in the third period against Buffalo Sabres at Barclays Center. Islanders win 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)
Oct 7, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) in the third period against Buffalo Sabres at Barclays Center. Islanders win 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)

Free-agent-to-be John Tavares could make his decision later today.

Tavares, 27, narrowed down his list of teams to five -- the Islanders, Sharks, Maple Leafs, Lightning and Stars -- and has met with each over the past week. He met with with new Islanders head coach Barry Trotz and GM Lou Lamoriello on Monday, and Tavares had previously been a impressed with the Lamoriello hire.

The Islanders drafted Tavares No. 1 overall in 2009, and he has scored 272 goals, 349 assists and 621 points since debuting at 19 in the 2009-10 season. 

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Feb 5, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) skates to a face off against the Nashville Predators during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)
Feb 5, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) skates to a face off against the Nashville Predators during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

"He wants a fair deal, to be happy, and most of all, he wants to win." That is the viewpoint of a former Islanders teammate of John Tavares, the franchise player who will conclude his listening sessions Wednesday and decide very soon if he wants to stay with the Orange and Blue.

While TSN insider Bob McKenzie continues to pound the refrain that Tavares will stay in New York -- "If you ask anyone around the NHL, they'll tell you he's going back to the Islanders," said Bob -- the Tavares camp wants you to know this process has been genuine and his mind is open to a move.

Tavares' pal took exception to the notion, articulated a few times in this space, that the all-star center is "doing his part" for the NHLPA by listening to his agents and visiting with six teams (including the Islanders). He insists that these three days of meetings are about more than negotiating a salary he could proudly put on the board for his fellow stars in the NHL.

Tags: John Tavares, Chris Botta
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New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) plays against the Detroit Red Wings in the third period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, April 7, 2018, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) (Paul Sancya/AP)
New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) plays against the Detroit Red Wings in the third period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, April 7, 2018, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) (Paul Sancya/AP)

The Islanders were one of the first teams to pitch John Tavares, who is about to hit free agency. And if the odds are to be believed, they should be confident in their ability to bring him back

Aside from the Islanders, the Stars, Maple Leafs, Sharks, Lightning, and Bruins are pursuing Tavares. So, who has the best odds to land him?

According to BetOnline, the Islanders are the favorites to land Tavares, which would mean retaining their franchise cornerstone. The Isles come in at +125, followed by the Sharks (+275), Maple Leafs (+500), Bruins (+700), Stars (+800), and Lightning (+850).

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New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) plays against the Detroit Red Wings in the third period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, April 7, 2018, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) (Paul Sancya/AP)
New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) plays against the Detroit Red Wings in the third period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, April 7, 2018, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) (Paul Sancya/AP)

You won't have to wait much longer to learn if the Islanders are still the slight favorites in the hunt for John Tavares. The Steven Stamkos talks of two years ago taught us that.

Although unrestricted free agency begins Sunday, July 1, Tavares will have completed his "listening period" with other teams by Thursday, and possibly Wednesday night. If, when that process is finished, Tavares does not commit to the Islanders soon after - with a press conference by Saturday at the latest - we will know that sincere interest in other teams remains.

Two years ago at this time, Stamkos embarked on his listening period, as overseen by his team at the powerful Newport Sports - the agency led by Don Meehan.

Tags: John Tavares, Chris Botta
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Feb 19, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) plays the puck against the Minnesota Wild during the third period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Feb 19, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) plays the puck against the Minnesota Wild during the third period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Islanders were one of the first teams to present their pitch to top free-agent C John Tavares during the interview period that began on Monday, per SportsNet's Chris Johnston

The meeting on Monday night lasted approximately two hours and 15 minutes, and it appeared successful as Isles GM and president of hockey operations, Lou Lamoriello, and new head coach Barry Trotz walked out smiling. 

Tavares has been an Islander his entire life, and though entering the interview period may seem like a slight to the only franchise he's known, Lamoriello doesn't mind it at all. It's his right to do so.

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New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) plays against the Detroit Red Wings in the third period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, April 7, 2018, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) (Paul Sancya/AP)
New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) plays against the Detroit Red Wings in the third period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, April 7, 2018, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) (Paul Sancya/AP)

The race to win John Tavares' talents next season kicked off on Monday when the interview period opened up. Teams other than the Islanders are allowed to pitch Tavares as they look to sign the NHL's top free agent this summer. 

In their pitch, every team will have their added incentives to piggyback the large amount of money Tavares is likely to receive. For the Islanders, they can add bagels to that list. 

Bagel Boss, one of the most renowned bagel shops on Long Island, has vowed to send Tavares and his wife fresh bagels to their home every morning if he signs an extension with the Islanders next season...

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New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) plays against the Detroit Red Wings in the third period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, April 7, 2018, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) (Paul Sancya/AP)
New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) plays against the Detroit Red Wings in the third period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, April 7, 2018, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) (Paul Sancya/AP)

Islanders captain John Tavares is expected to decide on whether or not he will enter the interview period on Saturday, per TSN's Darren Dreger. 

The interview period, which allows teams to pitch the free-agent Tavares before contract talks can begin, starts on Sunday. 

Islanders co-owners Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin have set everything up on a hockey operations standpoint to entice Tavares to re-sign with the team that drafted him first overall back in 2009. They hired Lou Lamoriello as their new team president, and 2018 Stanley-Cup winning coach Barry Trotz joins the Isles as well. 

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The Islanders' courtship of John Tavares is now over. It's up to him to decide whether he wants to stay or leave.

While it's possible the current roster will be upgraded by the end of NHL Draft weekend in Dallas, it won't be done for the sake of winning over Tavares.

The inevitable acquisition of a No. 1 goaltender, the possible bold trade to add another star like Erik Karlsson or subtler moves to shore up the defense -- that's simply Lou Lamoriello's job: to make the Islanders better for the near future.

As for Tavares, he's already seen everything he needs to see - commitment, a complete culture change, the extermination of the losing mindset that infested the organization for more than a decade.

Tags: John Tavares, Chris Botta
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New York Islanders' John Tavares during warm-ups prior to the start of an NHL hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers, Friday, Nov. 24, 2017, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)  (Tom Mihalek/AP)
New York Islanders' John Tavares during warm-ups prior to the start of an NHL hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers, Friday, Nov. 24, 2017, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Tom Mihalek) (Tom Mihalek/AP)

Not even the Islanders confirming Stanley Cup winning Barry Trotz as the team's new head coach could distract media and fans alike from focusing on impending free agent John Tavares. 

Trotz was announced as new Islanders head coach on Thursday and, if he didn't already know, he quickly found out that all roads lead to Tavares at the moment.

"I think the Tavares situation is in good hands," Trotz said on a conference call on Thursday. "The great thing is that Lou is in constant contact with John and they've had great dialogue. Obviously I've reached out to him and had a great conversation."...

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New York Islanders center John Tavares skates before a game against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center. (Robert Mayer/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center John Tavares skates before a game against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center. (Robert Mayer/USA TODAY Sports)

There has been some cautious rejoicing in Islanders Country over the last 24 hours, in the wake of reports about John Tavares from the very reliable Darren Dreger and Pierre Lebrun, and why not?

Prior to Lou Lamoriello mercifully ridding the Islanders organization of the dark clouds brought by the Garth Snow administration, there was little chance Tavares was staying with the Islanders. Now, there is hope.

NEWS

Dreger and Lebrun have reported that Tavares and agent Pat Brisson have been focused entirely on discussions with the Islanders, and there is a possibility the franchise player could re-sign with the club before the listening period with other teams begins in the last week of June...

Tags: John Tavares, Chris Botta
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Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)
Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

Lou Lamoriello is moving quickly in his search for the next Islanders head coach. According to a source, the new boss wants to have a head coach in place by the middle of next week - prior to the NHL Draft in Dallas on June 22 and 23.

Although Lamoriello is not operating under a hard deadline, his reasoning is obvious:

Tags: John Tavares, Chris Botta
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Feb 13, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) and Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Josh Anderson (77) pursue a loose puck during the first period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Feb 13, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) and Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Josh Anderson (77) pursue a loose puck during the first period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

Islanders President of Hockey Operations Lou Lamoriello has been in "near daily" contact with John Tavares' agent, reports Frank Seravalli of TSN

Tavares, who is set to become a free agent on July 1, seemed to approve of the Islanders' decision to hire Lamoriello last month, according to Andrew Gross of Newsday.

The Hockey Hall-of-Famer recently heaped praise on Tavares, calling him "one of the elite players," but wouldn't elaborate upon his future with the team.

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Mar 3, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) looks on against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at PPG PAINTS Arena. The Penguins won 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Mar 3, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) looks on against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at PPG PAINTS Arena. The Penguins won 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

The Islanders said they were going to make a change to their hockery operations, and they certainly made a large splash in that area by hiring Hockey Hall of Fame member Lou Lamoriello as their president of hockey operations. 

Well, Lamoriello's championship pedigree joining the Islanders has reportely impressed captain John Tavares, per Newsday's Andrew Gross. He states that what Lamoriello and Tavares want for the Islanders has a "convergence there."

Lamoriello said that he doesn't view the Isles as a rebuiling team, but instead, a few pieces away from being a true contender.

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New York Islanders center John Tavares (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center John Tavares (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports)

With the Islanders' 2017-18 season officially under wraps, the biggest storyline for the offseason will be what captain John Tavares decides to do for next season.

At the moment, his mindset is staying with the team that drafted from first overall back in 2009. But Tavares didn't close the door on checking out the free agent market as well.

"This is obviously where I hope to be. I've always stated that," Tavares said. "But obviously, I have some time to think about my situation and go from there...

Tags: John Tavares, Scott Thompson
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Apr 7, 2018; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Islanders center Anthony Beauvillier (72) skates with the puck against Detroit Red Wings center Frans Nielsen (51) during the first period at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports (Raj Mehta)
Apr 7, 2018; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Islanders center Anthony Beauvillier (72) skates with the puck against Detroit Red Wings center Frans Nielsen (51) during the first period at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports (Raj Mehta)

The Islanders rallied from a 3-1 third-period deficit to score three unanswered goals en route to a 4-3 win over the Red Wings in their season finale on Saturday. << Box score

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 (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
(Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

On Thursday night, the Islanders played their last home game of the season. For John Tavares, it could be his last home game as a member of the team.

Tavares' contract is up after the season and he will be one of the most coveted free agents of the summer. After the game, Tavares tried to downplay its significance and reaffirmed his public desire to stay with the team...

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New York Islanders center John Tavares skates before a game against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center. (Robert Mayer/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center John Tavares skates before a game against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center. (Robert Mayer/USA TODAY Sports)

If Isles fans want a little reassurance that captain John Tavares would be in blue and orange next season, don't ask Tavares himself. 

Finishing up the final year of his six-year, $33 million deal, Tavares notes that he wants everything to work out with the franchise, but he wouldn't promise that he will still daunt an Islanders jersey next season. 

"The fan base has been tremendous since I got here," Tavares told Newsday's Andrew Gross. "People say certain things. I hope it all works out, too, and I'm back as well. I just want to focus one game at a time and finishing the season strong and in the days and weeks ahead there will be plenty of time to think about it and start looking at the future and move forward."

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Mar 3, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) looks on against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at PPG PAINTS Arena. The Penguins won 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Mar 3, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) looks on against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at PPG PAINTS Arena. The Penguins won 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

As is often the case when it comes to this franchise, the Islanders need their fans once again.

Thursday night. For John Tavares.

There should be no mistaking this. If you care about keeping Tavares in orange and blue, this is a code red...

Tags: John Tavares, Chris Botta
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 (Anne-Marie Sorvin)
(Anne-Marie Sorvin)

For some Islanders players, there is still something to play for with three games left in a disappointing season. 

One of those players is RW Tanner Fritz, who is trying to showcase his skills to be a mainstay with the Islanders next season. Recently, he is doing a good job of that by collecting two points in the past three games, with one being a goal against the Devils this past Saturday. 

"I want to try to get them thinking over the summer that I can be a player that can play in the NHL and prove to them that I'm worthy to play in this league," Fritz told Newsday's Andrew Gross.

Tags: Anders Lee, John Tavares
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

With the loss to the Panthers Monday, it's official. The Islanders have missed the playoffs for the second straight season. 

New York was shutout in their own building, as the Panthers continued their push to secure a wild card berth with just a few games left in the regular season. Now, the Isles have nothing to play for, and captain John Tavares doesn't like that feeling again. 

"The odds just kept getting worse and worse with every loss,' Tavares told Newsday's Andrew Gross. "We just sealed our fate. It's tough to know you're not going to be playing postseason hockey."

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Mar 11, 2018; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee (27) skates during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports (Sergei Belski)
Mar 11, 2018; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee (27) skates during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports (Sergei Belski)

With another loss Saturday night to the Chicago Blackhawks in what could have been billed as a tankathon, the Islanders slide into disappointment (and potentially into a better draft slot) continued. 

Tags: Anders Lee, John Tavares
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Mar 18, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a pad save against the Carolina Hurricanes during the third period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)
Mar 18, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a pad save against the Carolina Hurricanes during the third period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

John Tavares broke up a shutout late in the third period, but the Islanders were unable to complete a rally and fell to the Blackhawks, 3-1, on Saturday at the Barclays Center.  >> Box score

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Aug 8, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow speaks at a press conference at Yankee Stadium. Two outdoor regular-season NHL games will be played at Yankee Stadium during the 2013-14 season as part of the 2014 Stadium Series. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)
Aug 8, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow speaks at a press conference at Yankee Stadium. Two outdoor regular-season NHL games will be played at Yankee Stadium during the 2013-14 season as part of the 2014 Stadium Series. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

Christopher "Mad Dog" Russo famously asked this question of Mike Milbury in 2003, and now it is appropriate to ask of Garth Snow:

How is he still the GM?

Tags: John Tavares, Chris Botta
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Feb 22, 2018; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) talks to right wing Josh Bailey (12) against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre. The Maple Leafs beat the Islanders 4-3 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports (Tom Szczerbowski)
Feb 22, 2018; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) talks to right wing Josh Bailey (12) against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre. The Maple Leafs beat the Islanders 4-3 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports (Tom Szczerbowski)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

The New York Islanders' 2017-18 season is speeding down an icy highway in a blizzard with no brakes, as a 15-24-8 record since Dec. 1 has all but assured another season out of the playoffs, sitting home watching other, better teams contend for the Stanley Cup.

  • Surely, big decisions are looming on the horizon for a franchise that can never seem to sustain any sort of consistency or dependability. After beating Florida in the 2016 playoffs, its first series win in two decades, and coming off back-to-back 100-point seasons, this season can only be classified as a severe regression.

  •  
Tags: Anders Lee, John Tavares, Josh Ho-Sang, Mathew Barzal, Nick Leddy, Andy Graziano
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 (Evan Habeeb)
(Evan Habeeb)

With 11 games left, the Islanders know they're season won't see a playoff berth despite not being mathematically out of the race. In turn, head coach Doug Weight is doing a little experiment with his star players. 

Weight wants to see what John Tavares and Mathew Barzal can do on the same line, which is why he is moving Tavares to left wing ahead of Sunday's matchup against the Hurricanes at Barclays Center. However, he warned not to take the move to heart being that Tavares has played center all these years. 

"It doesn't mean he's going to play wing and it doesn't mean he's not a centerman," Weight told Newsday's Andrew Gross. "It's an experiment. Moving forward, it gives them some experience together. I'm excited to see it."

Tags: John Tavares, Mathew Barzal
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New York Islanders center John Tavares skates before a game against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center. (Robert Mayer/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center John Tavares skates before a game against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center. (Robert Mayer/USA TODAY Sports)

John Tavares hasn't made up his mind on where his future lies, but if he is to leave the Islanders this offseason, it may be by way of sign and trade, according to TSN's Pierre LeBrun.

Tavares, 27, is a free agent after the season ends but it's possible that the Islanders would be able to get some sort of return if they lose their captain. Tavares has remained tight-lipped about his future.

This season, Tavares is tied for the team lead in points with 69 (31 G, 38 A). He's spent his nine-year career with the Islanders and has 606 points in 656 games played.

The Islanders have slipped to last place in the Metropolitan Division, as their playoff hopes on a once-promising season are bleak. They trail the second wild-card place by nine points with 13 games remaining.

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

For the last two years, Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin - who ushered in their era of ownership by proclaiming the Islanders franchise would be "world-class" - have stood behind Garth Snow's lack of leadership and accountability, and his ineptitude in the art of roster management and building a winning culture.

After failing to make the playoffs last season, the Islanders are now near the merciful end to one of the most painful in their history. Getting by for two months on an explosive offense and the emergence of Mathew Barzal as a young star, the Islanders never improved on defense and Snow slept and made excuses instead of trying to fix his flawed roster. When all hope was nearly lost, he blamed his team's collapse on the injury in November to the oft-injured Calvin de Haan.

This entire season, the only notable move made by Snow was to banish Joshua Ho-Sang to the minors (just stating a fact: the Islanders' record this season is far worse without Ho-Sang).

Tags: John Tavares, Chris Botta
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Mar 24, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders head coach Doug Weight (top) reacts after a video review disallowed an Islanders goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Islanders won 4-3 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Mar 24, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders head coach Doug Weight (top) reacts after a video review disallowed an Islanders goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Islanders won 4-3 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

'It ain't over 'til it's over' is one of the oldest, greatest sports quotes, muttered by Yogi Berra. It also became the lyrics to a song by Lenny Kravitz. It's a line that has become difficult for Islanders fans to say these days.

If you look at the NHL standings as of this morning, you see the Islanders sitting on the outside looking in, trailing the Columbus Blue Jackets by six points with both teams even in games played at 67. That gives New York 15 games (30 points) to make up ground, which will be more difficult than it looks on the surface considering they have to pass the Carolina Hurricanes and red-hot Florida Panthers on their way to even approaching the Jackets.

New York's league worst defense (241 goals allowed) has torpedoed a once promising season that saw them sitting at 15-7-2 at the end of November. Since then, it's been a free-fall of epic proportions. The Isles have stumbled to a 14-22-7 record with nary a move to improve a roster that, to be completely honest, needed an overhaul in January.

Tags: John Tavares, Andy Graziano
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Mar 5, 2018; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen (18) scores against New York Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak (41) during the third period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports (Anne-Marie Sorvin)
Mar 5, 2018; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen (18) scores against New York Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak (41) during the third period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports (Anne-Marie Sorvin)

With a day off on Tuesday, the Islanders had time to reflect on their recent seven-game skid. And it wasn't pleasant. 

Monday was another instance of New York getting ahead early just to lose the lead and the game later on. The Canuck, who own a 25-32-9 record after the win, should have been an easy opponent for the Isles to snap the losing streak. However, a 4-3 overtime loss ensued instead, forcing angered words to leave the mouth of many, including head coach Doug Weight after the game. 

What's even worse is the Blue Jackets moved up in the Eastern Conference wild card race with a win over the Golden Knights on Tuesday night. Now, the Islanders sit six points out of that coveted playoff berth, and they realize if they want to see the postseason, their window of opportunity is closing fast. 

Tags: Anders Lee, John Tavares
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 (Anne-Marie Sorvin)
(Anne-Marie Sorvin)

The Islanders lost their seventh straight game Monday night, and head coach Doug Weight says, "It's getting old."

New York did secure a point after forcing overtime late in the third period, but that meant nothing to a team trying to snap out of their current skid. 

"We just seem to find ways to lose," captain John Tavares told Newsday's Neil Best.

Tags: Anders Lee, Anthony Beauvillier, John Tavares, Jordan Eberle, Josh Bailey
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 (Anne-Marie Sorvin)
(Anne-Marie Sorvin)

The Islanders lost their seventh straight game Monday night, and head coach Doug Weight says, "It's getting old."

New York did secure a point after forcing overtime late in the third period, but that meant nothing to a team trying to snap out of their current skid. 

"We just seem to find ways to lose," captain John Tavares told Newsday's Neil Best.

Tags: Anders Lee, Anthony Beauvillier, John Tavares, Jordan Eberle, Josh Bailey
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General view of the ice before a game between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers (Brad Penner)
General view of the ice before a game between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers (Brad Penner)

The majority of owners of major league teams prefer not to get too close to the customers, but not Jon Ledecky - the very public face of Islanders ownership.

There he is, riding the LIRR with fans, sometimes with a reporter nearby, and often with a publicist or social media staffer to capture all of the endearing interactions with fans.

There's Ledecky after the win in Las Vegas on Jan. 25, visiting with a passionate pack of die-hards for a few beverages - posted for posterity on the Islanders' Twitter feed.

Tags: John Tavares, Chris Botta
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