From Steve Marcus of Newsday:
“I think for myself, I’ve always shown and talked about my commitment here,’’
“Wanting to have success here and keep building on some of the good things we’ve done. Obviously, this [low] point’s been disappointing.’’
“For myself, I know that I have not been to the level that I expect of myself and the standard that I want to be at,’’ he said. “[I] keep trying to improve and get better. I need to be counted on more, to be more of a difference-maker.’’
“I think I’ve stated enough how much I enjoy being here.’’
My take: Depending on which fan(s) you talk to, this is what happens when the Islanders are on the verge or are out of playoff contention. If it’s not a playoff year or for some a Stanley Cup run, paranoia sets in. To visually witness Islanders fans start believing a city north of the border that thrives on rumors and speculations in that John Tavares will leave the Islanders all because there’s a better team waiting for him? Really?! Now for my younger fans who read this site, you’ll have to at least excuse us and try to get an understanding of the hysteria from us “old” fans who are causing major panic attacks and why we’re on the brink of destruction (sarcasm). At one time, we had players like Pat Lafontaine, Pierre Turgeon, Zigmund Palffy, Todd Bertuzzi, Brian McCabe, Zdeno Chara, Roberto Luongo, Olli Jokinen, and a few other players that should have stayed on the Island a lot longer, but were traded away right before their prime. Fans could only watch them become stars on other teams while the Islanders went from a dynasty, to spoilers (1993) to laughing-stock. Every time there was a new captain, Isles fans knew he was the next to be traded. Every time someone made the AHL All-Star team, that player would be brought up even though he really wasn’t ready for the NHL, just to save a few bucks.
It’s not so much Islanders fans who remember those times are “old” (some of us are, that’s right, looking at you season ticket holder since 72′), it’s more of the emotional mileage and stress that no fan-base should ever have gone through. This is not the past anymore. This is not the 90’s or the early 2000’s. These owners have money, real money and they proved that by spending to the cap ceiling this past summer. The team was built through the draft, and continues to grow that way. Yes this is a stalled season, no one is denying this. However to say that John Tavares will not resign because of one bad season? Just stop it. He knew this rebuild would take time. He knew Nassau Coliseum did not generate enough income for the Islanders to spend to the cap ceiling every year. He knew Uniondale would be a temporary home of NHL games for the Islanders. He’s seen and experienced success as an Islander, granted limited, but he wants the full experience. He wants what Trottier, Bossy and Gillies already have and what the other past star players didn’t get a chance to experience, to be a Stanley Cup winner as a New York Islander.
For my younger, not yet frantic readers, let me put you at ease this way. Next season, John Tavares will probably command around 10 million dollars to resign. First, both Nikolai Kulemin and Mikhail Grabovski contracts will be coming off the books. The total from both of those contracts is around 9.2 million. So that means $800,000 from Tavares’ original contract can be used with plenty of money left over. You never heard that in the 90’s. Second, right or wrong, Andrew Ladd signed a 7 year deal last summer. If he didn’t think Tavares was staying with the Islanders, he wouldn’t have signed. Third, Cal Clutterbuck also recently signed a contract extension. Now Clutterbuck knows Tavares all the way back to their junior days. Do you think he knows if Tavares is going to resign? Pretty sure he does. Finally, there’s been enough in the media, like this one from Newsday, quoting him about his desire to stay. For the younger fans, take him at his word. He wants to stay. We’ll discuss the coach and general manager on another piece, but for now, don’t pay any attention to rumors north of the border and please go easy on us “old” farts who still think Tavares may leave. They’ve been through a lot, but once they realize that Tavares knows a good thing when he see it, they’ll come around too.
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) January 10, 2017