Entries with the tag: john tavares
I know we live in a “Win now!” era, but it seems kind of ridiculous for the media to be getting on John Tavares for an extended slump in his first NHL season. These must be the same folks that called Steven Stamkos a bust because he didn’t have 90 points in his rookie year.
Tavares is 19 and hit the first long slump (one point in eight games) of his career. When I was 19, I spent my days pondering which of my college neighbors would have the best house party, not how I could revive an entire franchise from the money pit that is the Nassau Coliseum. Give the guy a break. He’s a rookie, and rookies hit slumps. Isn’t it a bit unrealistic to expect absolute consistency out of a teenager in the NHL?
What would be considered a successful rookie campaign for Tavares? Do we expect every #1 pick to be another Alexander Ovechkin or Sidney Crosby? That seems a bit far-fetched. Look at the point totals for previous forward Calder winners NOT named Ovechkin or Crosby:
In his first NHL game, John Tavares scored a goal and put up a secondary assist on a Mark Streit goal. For what it’s worth, those two points beat out the first games of Sidney Crosby (one assist), Patrick Kane (scoreless), and Evgeni Malkin (one goal). Of course, those guys turned out to be ok players (though not necessarily the best car passengers), and history has given us plenty of brilliant starts that tailed off into oblivion.
Then there’s the slow starters: Steven Stamkos took a half-season and a mullet-less coach to get going while Eric Staal and Joe Thornton had pretty unspectacular rookie years. Where will Tavares end up? Let’s look at how Crosby, Kane, Malkin, and Alex Ovechkin did in their first ten games.
With all but one team at the halfway point of the season (Ottawa’s played 40 games, but they’re out of the picture anyways), we’ve got a little bit of separation now between the haves and have-nots. The problem is that there’s still a bunch of teams in limbo, and the trick to getting that magical 8th spot isn’t winning as much it is a combination of your own team winning and every other team losing.
Consider the wacky Western Conference, where 8th-place Colorado leads 14th-place Los Angeles by a mere five points. In the east, things are a little more settled, where four teams (Buffalo, Carolina, Florida, and Pittsburgh) are battling it out for the last two spots.
Here’s the question, though. Sure, miracle runs to the Cup final are possible (see: Edmonton, 2006) for teams that just squeak into the post-season…but how often does that happen? As fans, we want hope, and what gives more hope than a new franchise player?
So if your team is in that bubble where they are just barely on the outside looking in, what would you prefer? Do you want a complete tank for the rest of the season to ensure the John Tavares pick (good luck being worse than the Islanders) or do you want to scratch and claw for an 8th-place spot because, you know, anything can happen?