Before representing Team Canada in the Winter Olympics, John Tavares had played in 350 of 354 games with the New York Islanders since his NHL debut. Then he suffered the first major injury of his pro career when he partially tore his MCL.
“Certainly, it ain’t easy. Would love to be playing; wish I was playing, helping out the team,” Tavares told Newsday.
The Islanders were a longshot to make the playoffs before the Olympic break and the loss of Tavares killed what little hope there was for a comeback. They currently rank 26th in the NHL with 72 points in 76 games.
The timing of the injury means that Tavares will have to go roughly eight months in between regular season games.
“That’s tough to grasp,” he admitted.
The good news is that his rehabilitation is going well and he expects the summer to be mostly normal from a training perspective. Had it not been for the injury, Tavares might have finished in the top-three in the NHL’s scoring race. He’ll get an opportunity to replicate that level of success next season while trying to lead the Islanders back into the playoffs.
Mike Babcock’s reign with the Detroit Red Wings ended in another first-round defeat, yet it may be lost in time just how close that series was.
Yes, the Tampa Bay Lightning shut down the Red Wings to win Game 7 at home, but Ben Bishop deserves a ton of the credit. The Red Wings snagged the puck for much of the contest, just not enough to beat the big goalie.
While change is in the air in Detroit, the Bolts are largely the same squad that generated a nice showing in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. We’ll get to see if the Red Wings gain a measure of revenge on NBCSN tonight, with home-ice advantage this time around.
Damon Severson was a healthy scratch on Saturday.
It’s the last game he wants to miss this season.
“I had a good chat with a few people and just pretty much said, ‘I want to be in the next 80 games,’” Severson said, per The Record. “I sat out my game and that’s all I want to be out for for the year.”
Severson is one of the Devils’ most important young players. But this is also the 21-year-old defenseman’s sophomore season, and that’s when slumps can occur.
Hence, the early message he was sent by the coaching staff.
Severson is expected to be back in the lineup tonight when New Jersey hosts Nashville.
“He doesn’t have to be perfect,” coach John Hynes told reporters. “We’d just like to see him have a high compete level. We know he’s ready to go. We had a couple of good meetings with him. He’s in a good spot mentally. I know he’s ready to roll.”