Kukla's Korner Hockey

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Tavares on the Islanders' changes

08/20/2016 at 8:12pm EDT

From Newsday's Arthur Staple:

John Tavares knows how much his Islander team has changed this summer. Even though longtime teammates and friends Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielsen and Matt Martin departed July 1 in free agency and Tavares knew long before then that there was a chance all three could leave, it’s still hard for the Isles captain to believe.

“It hasn’t even really sunk in, maybe until you don’t see them at training camp or during the season and that hasn’t happened yet,” Tavares told Newsday earlier this week. “I don’t think people realize how much I lean on Kyle and Frans, as well as guys like Travis , Clutter [Cal Clutterbuck], Johnny Boychuk. Having those different perspectives is a huge help. And personally for me, you go through a lot of ups and downs and you’re trying to manage a lot of things. When you have people you can rely on, especially with those friendships I have with Kyle and Frans are deep.”

The challenge now, with a little over a month until the Islanders open training camp, is how to handle the loss of three such deeply ingrained players in the fabric of this organization — Okposo and Nielsen were Tavares’ alternate captains the past three seasons — while integrating three veterans in Andrew Ladd, Jason Chimera and PA Parenteau.

Oh, and there’s another wrinkle: When players come to Long Island for physicals on Sept. 21, the captain, the coach and the two most experienced goaltenders won’t be around.

Continued

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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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