No surprise, John Tavares says he’s committed to the Islanders


It’s not fair to say that the New York Islanders are John Tavares and nothing else. There have just been times during the darker moments of this very dark 2016-17 season when it at least feels this way.

With this being such a disappointing start to the season, and with all of the other issues surrounding the Islanders franchise as a whole, it’s understandable if people are wondering about his future with the team.

To little surprise, Tavares is saying all the right things.

“I think for myself, I’ve always shown and talked about my commitment here,’’ Tavares told New York Newsday. “Wanting to have success here and keep building on some of the good things we’ve done. Obviously, this [low] point’s been disappointing.’’

Here’s the one thing we know for sure: he’s signed on with the Islanders through 2017-18.

The rest of that Newsday article discusses his regrets about not generating the points he was expecting to produce, but let’s be honest. Most of us focus on how little support he’s been getting.

Consider his most common linemates: Josh Bailey and a grab bag of other guys. That group is … not ideal.

Now, the Islanders have time to improve the talent around him. Still, how many years is Tavares willing to throw away? Does he want to squander his prime with a franchise that might not be able to put him in position to win a Stanley Cup?

Those are questions that people will probably hammer until we know where Tavares will end up with his next contract.

Don’t blame him, though. He’s saying all the right things.

Fight video: Flyers’ Manning vs. Penguins’ Gaunce

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Breaking: the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers don’t like each other.

The stakes might be higher for the Penguins than the Flyers – aside from those who still believe Philly has a shot at a playoff run – their rivalry rarely subsides.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Sunday featured at least one fight, with Cameron Gaunce squaring off against Brandon Manning in a pretty spirited bout.

Manning isn’t shy about fighting, by the way; this was his seventh bout of the season, according to Hockey Fights.

Higher on the radar for the Penguins is the situation for Conor Sheary, who has been absent from the ice since about midway through the first period. PHT will keep an eye out for updates on what could be yet another injury for the health-challenged Pens.

Dreading the work week? Watch this dog get ‘ice time’ with puck

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Life is difficult, complex and confusing. Good thing we have dog videos.

Forgive this video being one night late, but for those of us who watch cute animal clips, time is a furry circle. Or something like that.

Anyway, this golden retriever got a little “ice time” before the Washington Capitals’ game against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday in what would end up being a 4-1 win for the Caps. It’s an excellent video featuring a top-notch, hilarious pooch.

Alternate joke: Now that is some puck retrieval.

Patrik Laine’s out sick for Jets on Sunday

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Patrik Laine and Auston Matthews are locked with identical goals (34), assists (27) and points (61) on Sunday, which is remarkable since Laine has played in 67 games versus 75 for Matthews. He won’t get a chance to beef up his numbers on Sunday, either.

It looks like the high-scoring rookie is missing the Winnipeg Jets’ contest against the Vancouver Canucks because of an illness, according to TSN’s Sara Orlesky.

The Jets are almost assured to miss the playoffs, so seeing Laine lose a chance to bolster his Calder argument adds a little extra sadness to the night.

NHL schedules hearing for Micheal Haley’s sucker-punch on Calle Jarnkrok


The NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced a Monday hearing for San Jose Sharks tough guy Micheal Haley for his “roughing/sucker punch” on Calle Jarnkrok of the Nashville Predators.

The league didn’t specify if Haley will face a telephone or in-person hearing on Monday afternoon. They did, interestingly, use the phrase “sucker punch” in that official announcement.

Haley received a match penalty during the game. Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer was highly upset about the hit that inspired Haley’s actions.

“When you run someone from behind in a game like that, you probably deserve to get a punch in the mouth,” DeBoer told reporters.

In other bad news for the Sharks, CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz reports that Logan Couture‘s situation isn’t looking promising after he was hurt on Sunday.