John Tavares Finally Opens up on Players’ Tribune- What Does It Really Mean?
Let’s put it this way; John Tavares showed more personality in one article than he showed in nine years as the face of the New York Islanders franchise. Player Tribune articles are usually written by ghost writers who are given instructions and bullet points by the player. Whether or not this was actually written by John Tavares we’ll never know, but there are a few key points I’d like to hit before I put this saga to rest once and for all.
It gives some fans closure
After reading through the article, then reading the responses on Twitter, I got a mixed bag of reactions from fans young and old. Some fans were willing to accept his apology to Islander fans and move on. Some were still spiteful over the fact that he left and chalked it up as too little, too late.
I was somewhere in between forgiveness and complete scorched earth. I will absolutely never forgive Tavares for abandoning his team even though it wasn’t all his fault, but I appreciate the fact that he at least took the time to go over what was going on in his head. It’s the first time he’s really opened up after all those years of canned answers and a quiet demeanor. Either way, him giving fans more than just a screenshotted iPhone message will at least simmer the hatred for him, although I can’t foresee Islander fans ever getting over this.
He’s had his mind made up for a while
It’s contradictory to the article because he states over and over that he was torn until the very last moment and refused to make a decision, but us as Islander fans know that his heart has been in Toronto the moment he focused on free agency. While I do believe that he wanted things to work out on Long Island, I can’t imagine he was as torn as he said he was, pacing around the pool, having a panic attack, and barely being able to eat.
The telling sign of this is the fact that he used half of his apology letter to talk about how he grew up a Leafs fan and goes on to explain that it was all he knew growing up. Couple that with that ridiculous pajama tweet after ripping the hearts out from Islander fans, and you have yourself a guy who never wanted to come back.
If playing at the Coliseum (which he claimed was such a crazy experience that he thought “the place would collapse”) was so special to him he could have done that for another two years. If Long Island held such a special place in his heart, he wouldn’t have said NOTHING to the Islanders until after the free agency period started. If he loved the Islanders so much and had such a tough decision, he wouldn’t have used the half-hearted excuse of requesting not to be traded “because I was the captain of the team and took that job very seriously” and would have at least left the Islanders in better standing than he did. Hey John, the Islanders don’t have a captain now, so what’s the difference?
In no way did firing Garth Snow and Doug Weight make an impact on his decision
That’s kind of a long-winded point, but it’s absolutely true. I’ve read many Toronto media pieces that state to “read between the lines” over John’s admiration for Doug Weight and more specifically Garth Snow. They state that if Snow had still been in place he probably would have stayed on Long Island, and that he was extremely upset with the Islanders after they fired the both of them.
Neither of this is true, and if it is then John Tavares is a moron. One playoff series win in nine years on the team doesn’t grant Garth Snow unlimited loyalty. Keeping a guy who played Brad Boyes on the first line with John doesn’t bode well for the franchise. There’s a reason why all those billboards were made, and there is no chance in hell that Tavares’ decision would have changed if Garth Snow had still been at the helm.
Tavares wants to win and felt the Maple Leafs gave him a better chance to get a Stanley Cup. He had a 77 page booklet breaking down each team by roster, prospect pool, on and off the ice amenities, etc., so GARTH SNOW had zero influence in his decision. If Tavares was going to stay, maybe Snow could have pulled the trigger on a few big deals instead of trading for Brandon Davidson and Chris Wagner. That’s just my opinion though.
The Tavares saga over the past few weeks has been nauseating for all Islander fans and media alike. They feel slighted, abandoned, and are ready to move on with Mat Barzal as the face of the franchise. Quite frankly, I’m sick and tired of talking about this. This is my last thought on Tavares before I never mutter his name again; He didn’t think that this decision and the way he went about it would cause as much controversy as it did. I’m sure he’s genuinely sorry for spurning the Islanders, but I think the only reason why he wrote this was because of the backlash. I don’t think he’s being completely sincere about his decision making. It really is a classic case of too little, too late. It was a good effort, and I’ve gotten some closure from it, but it’s time to move on. This is Mat Barzal’s team now. Let’s go Islanders.