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John Tavares Was Prepared For His Return To Long Island

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

The favorite son grew up and went away, and when he returned home for a visit, well, guess what? He was not welcome.


John Taveras spent the first nine years of his career bleeding the blue and orange of the Islanders franchise he represented with dignity. That barely mattered to the rabid fans who came to the Coliseum to celebrate their first-place team, defend their team’s honor and heap insults on No. 91, who showed up in Uniondale for the first time wearing the Maple Leafs crest after signing with Toronto as a free agent on July 1.

Not necessarily in that order.

“You’re a liar!”

“I expected it was coming,” Tavares said of the constant abuse, as he spoke in the corridor outside the Leafs’ room after a fairly miserable performance that pretty much matched his team’s work product in the 6-1 defeat. “No one’s walked in my shoes. I know that.”


added 8:50am, from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,

Above the No. 91 on their replica jersey, they had pasted or taped or stitched something funny, mean or both over their former hero’s surname.

More than one of them wore LIAR. Several TRAITOR. Too many to count wore PAJAMA BOY.

There was SELLOUT and B. ARNOLD. I spotted a SNAKE and a RAT SNAKE, and a grown man in a camouflaged, numberless Isles sweater with the nameplate SNAKE HUNTER.

Above the bright-orange 91 on their backs, some got deep: WHY?

Some biblical: JUDAS.

Some obscure: PALFFY.


Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Islanders, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: john+tavares


Primis's avatar

And then Isles fans will turn right back to whining “How come nobody takes us seriously?  Why can’t we ever get any respect?”...

Posted by Primis on 03/01/19 at 10:15 AM ET

Red Winger's avatar

That game was one of the most fun hockey games I’ve watched in years. The Islanders fans were fantastic. They make Red Wings fans look like they are at a funeral.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie, MI on 03/01/19 at 11:19 AM ET

TreKronor's avatar

I’d be upset too if the leader of my team quit and went somewhere else.  Say, if Larkin left in a couple years.  Or if Zetterberg had left when he was still in his prime. 

I get all the reasons he left, and I know he had a lot of internal heartache over the decision.  But the fans don’t care - they just want him on the team.

Posted by TreKronor on 03/01/19 at 11:31 AM ET

ChillDistiller's avatar

It took quite a while for Detroit fans to stop booing Federov

Posted by ChillDistiller from Michigan on 03/01/19 at 11:54 AM ET

Steeb's avatar

I haven’t heard a building that loud for a reg season game in a long long time. The fans were merciless with probably every person in on the “we don’t need you” chant. Loved it.
And what I’ve read elsewhere, the thing that really sticks in the fans’ craw is that JT ASKED not to be traded at the deadline last year (don’t know what kind of trade protection he had). Imagine the haul NYI would have gotten if they had traded him, even as a rental. I’d be pretty cheesed off, too, just at that.

Posted by Steeb on 03/01/19 at 12:27 PM ET

Kaszycki and his Krew's avatar

I was at the game.  with only a handful of bad apples in the crowd ( those who threw things) - what a joyous game it was.  We were out of gas halfway thru the third because of six goal song celebrations.  No one is saying he had no right to leave at all.  If you attend the games - they made him the star of the game (last season) just about every single game - and he would tell the crowd how much he loved being an Islander and that he was looking forward to staying.  Word is - he did have a modified NTC/NMC and asked not to be traded.  I am not mad at him - but at ME - for believing him.  He is not a guy who jokes around - I took him at his word. 

My favorite chant was after the Anders Lee goal.  The whole crowd shouted “THAT’s our Captain!”

Other good chants aimed at JT were “Who’s your Daddy?” - “Please don’t trade me”  and “You’re a Liar”

Think if Steve Yzerman left after 9 years…..He could have been that guy for us.  15-20 year player - Captain - and if they won a Cup - would have been legend.  But he handled it bad.  Anders Lee has never told the fans he is staying after this year.  If he leaves - he would be warmly welcomed. 

As far as the person who wrote about respect above - I would accept that from a Wing fan - vs. a Leaf fan - a team that has not won a playoff series or a Cup since NYI has.  However - if you want respect - to quote Ted Nolan - you go out and earn it.  First Place - Metropolitan Division.  Is that respect?


Posted by Kaszycki and his Krew on 03/01/19 at 01:16 PM ET


But he handled it bad.

He handled it as well as he could’ve.

To say that he was lying about liking the city and the organization and the fans implies that he always intended to leave, and there is nothing whatsoever to suggest that is true.

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 03/01/19 at 01:38 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

Posted by Kaszycki and his Krew on 03/01/19 at 12:16 PM ET

You and every Islander at that game should be applauded. It was a blast watching that game. It felt like a playoff game.

I watched the TSN feed, and the panel in-between periods were applauding the fans. Old vets like Bob McKenzie had big smiles on their faces, saying this is what it’s all about.

Well done, Islanders fans. Seeing my Wings will not be in the playoffs, I’m jumping on the Isles bandwagon come playoff time.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie, MI on 03/01/19 at 03:55 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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