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.