Edited at 1:04 – Tavares elected to All-Star Game
By Mike Carver
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As we hit the halfway mark of the NHL season there is little doubt that the Islanders have not reached the heights that some of us set for them back in October.
Another season, another November freefall, another hole to dig out of in the second half.
Yeah, I guess I was a little crazy with that 6th seed in the East prediction…
But the one constant in this Islanders season has been the play of John Tavares.
This was pegged to be Tavares’ big breakout season. Entering his third NHL season he had progressively increased his production and after signing a long term deal before training camp there was nothing left to focus on but his game. And he has done that. He’s done it so well in fact that it’s time for him to skate with the best in the game two weeks from now in Ottawa.
Now I know the NHL All-Star Game has lost its luster. You never know if the game is East/West, North America against the World or if they pick the teams out of a hat (which is pretty much what they do now). But I love it, and it’s still a showcase of the best in the game and Tavares has earned every right to be there this season.
Tavares is on almost a point-a-game pace this year with 14 goals and 25 assists in his first 40 games. He is among the league leaders in points, assists, shots on goal, power play goals, and game winning goals. Playing on a team that has scored the least amount of goals in the East, his line IS the Islanders’ offense.
Tavares and Matt Moulson have combined for 34 goals of the Islanders’ 96 total. Add in the goals that Kyle Okposo and PA Parenteau have scored while playing with Tavares and we are talking almost 45% of the Islanders offense. Basically, the guy gets NO help. Stats aside, he’s done much more.
He has raised the game of Moulson to another level and breathed life into a once fading Okposo on the ice. He showed he can score highlight reel goals like the one he scored on December 29th against Calgary (check the tape, it’s a good one). He’s showed he can lead the team in a big spot with a hat trick against the Rangers back in October. And his toughness was on display Tuesday night when after getting drilled with a puck in the face, he got right back on the ice and scored a goal against the Red Wings.
The guy has been everything for this team, and he’s still only 21 years old.
Later today the NHL will announce the rosters for this year’s game. They no longer have to select a player from every team. The rule has been done away with for good reason and last year the Isles felt it. No players in the game, nor did any really deserve it.
This year is different.
John Tavares is one of the best in the NHL no matter what the Islanders record is. Now let him join the rest of the best for his first of many All Star game appearances.
Do the right thing NHL, and send JT to Ottawa!
Do you agree that Tavares deserves a spot on the roster? Sound off below…