SOCHI, Russia (CBSNewYork/AP) — The one guy the Islanders couldn’t afford to lose might be lost for a while.
John Tavares will miss the rest of the Olympic hockey tournament after suffering an injured knee against Latvia in the quarterfinals on Wednesday, Newsday reported.
Tavares went down in a heap following a big hit along the boards by Latvia’s Arturs Kulda during the second period of Canada’s 2-1 victory.
Tavares writhed on the ice in pain for several seconds before skating to the bench and going to Canada’s dressing room.
Canada coach Mike Babcock didn’t disclose the severity of Tavares’ injury, but said he will miss the team’s final two games. The Islanders’ team doctors will examine him back home.
“I don’t know if he’s going home right way,” Babcock said. “He seemed to be in a fine mood, obviously disappointed he’s injured.”
The injury to Tavares must be somewhat severe considering that Canada is under enormous pressure to win the gold medal in Sochi and next faces its rivals, the United States, in the tournament semifinals.
Tavares is the NHL’s third-leading scorer with 66 points in 59 games for the Islanders. He has never had significant injury problems in his five-season professional career, playing in 350 of a possible 354 games with New York. He went scoreless in four games for Canada in Sochi.
Tavares’ injury is just the latest to happen to an NHL star in Sochi. Sweden’s Henrik Zetterberg suffered a herniated disc during preliminary round play and could miss the rest of the Detroit Red Wings’ regular season. Rangers leading scorer Mats Zuccarello suffered a broken hand while playing for Norway and could miss at least 10 days.
The Islanders return to action on Feb. 27 against Toronto.
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