The Islanders' Feb. 28 game against the Toronto Maple Leafs will be played at Nassau Coliseum rather than Barclays Center -- and John Tavares, for one, is looking forward to it.
The former Isles captain knows he'll hear plenty of boos after leaving his longtime team to sign with the Leafs this past summer. But Tavares told The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun that he's nevertheless excited to return to where he developed into an NHL star.
"Yeah I mean, it's really out of my control,'' Tavares said of how Islanders fans will receive him. "However they feel is how they feel. All I hope is that they saw me give all I had for nine years and that I was completely invested in being an Islander. I loved it there. I made a decision that I thought was best for myself and my career. That place still means a lot to me. A lot of great people who had a big impact in my life and a big reason I am who I am today. But obviously they're very proud and protective of their hockey team and what it means to them. They're not very nice to the visitor, at least when I was still part of it, and I'm sure it'll be similar for myself. But it'll be fun to play in.''