Most people figured John Tavares would be a pretty good pro when he was drafted first overall by the Islanders in 2009. The progression he made from his first season to his second season showed that he was growing into being one of the top playmakers and scorers in the league.
So far, the start of his third season is showing that he’ll be a force to be reckoned with this year.
Through the first four games of his season, Tavares has five goals and three assists and finds himself atop the NHL leaderboard for points scored and goals. After back-to-back four point nights against the Lightning and Rangers, including earning a hat trick against the hated Rangers, Tavares is showing everyone the talent he’s got to be one of the best in the game.
After all the debate in 2009 for Garth Snow and the Isles as to who to take first overall, be it Tavares, Victor Hedman, or Matt Duchene, it’s Tavares that’s seeing his star rise the fastest this season. With the future looking bright on Long Island and Tavares locked up for the future, the time is now for Tavares to show just why he was worthy of the top pick and help lead the Islanders on a hunt for the playoffs this year.
Well, the NHL’s two new initiatives for ’15-16 seem to be going swimmingly.
Not long after Ottawa successfully made the second-ever coach’s challenge, fans got their first look at 3-on-3 overtime.
And what a look it was.
In the span of 137 seconds, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers combined for eight shots on goal, a few breakaways, some tremendous saves — including one on a penalty shot — and, finally, Jason Garrison‘s game-winning goal on a breakaway from center, giving the Bolts a 3-2 win.
It was, in a word, fun.
Lots of fun.
A quick sampling of reviews:
Of course, not everybody was a fan:
Now, to temper things a bit — this was the first time we’ve seen 3-on-3 with something on the line, so there was a novelty factor at play. There’s also no guaranteeing future OT sessions will be as exciting as this.
But none of that takes away from the fact 3-on-3 made for appointment viewing, and immense entertainment value. The prospect of future games like this? That’s pretty exciting.
Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.
Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:
Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).
The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.
Update: Bergeron stayed in the game, but B’s head coach Claude Julien was none too pleased with the hit. Following the game, he called for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to look at it…