Fans React To John Tavares’ Isles Exit

The Island Has Been Home, It’s What I Know; It’s Part Of Me. —
Part of John Tavares’ Farewell Message To Islanders Fans.

Likewise, in a positive statement, Isles hockey boss Lou Lamoriello thanked Tavares “for everything he has done for the franchise,” wishing John and his family “all the best.”

In addition, Lamoriello added, “John has achieved great individual success on the ice, as well as devoted a tremendous time and his energy to the community.”

Courtesy of the New York Islanders

Classy and sincere, Lou’s gracious note comes on the same day that the former captain of the Nassaumen chose to play for his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs rather than remain with the club that drafted him in the first place.

[Read: Tavares Gone; Can the Islanders Survive?]

By contrast, Islanders fans have reacted with considerably less warmth to a player who had been the face of the franchise almost from Tavares’ opening game.

When long-time Islanders season ticket-holder Charlie Razenson heard that Tavares had signed with Toronto, he did what he felt was the natural thing to do.

“I immediately removed the ‘Captain Tavares’ plaque from my collection,” Razenson told The Maven, “and stashed it away. I moved his puck from the top shelf to the bottom.”

Ditto for Vincent (The Vinner) Catania, who was an original “Stan’s Fans” on our MSG Networks between-periods segment at home games.

“I’ve had a Tavares jersey for years,” The Vinner told me, “and that’s going to be going, going — and gone.

“I don’t want anyone on this hockey club who doesn’t want to play for the Islanders.”

The dismay over Tavares cross-border extends far beyond the Metropolitan Area. Ron Rosner, who has followed the Isles for decades, expressed disappointment.

“Tavares said he wanted to stay and I figured he’d be an Islander for life,” the Delmar, New York resident told me. “This is a blow but I have confidence that the new management team can get the team back on track.”

In the Adirondacks, literary agent Doug Whiteman of Lake Placid, a Devils season ticket-holder for decades, empathizes with his frustrated Islanders brethren.

“Apparently,” Whiteman told The Maven, “the $88 million or so the Islanders were willing to pay for eight or so years isn’t enough for Tavares to live on.

“With an attitude like that, this will end up being addition by subtraction for the Islanders. The Isles need a winning culture — with a leader who’s about nothing else. Tavares is clearly not that guy.”

Snowbird Marvin Resnick, who alternates between homes in Florida and Long Island, read Tavares’ message to Isles rooters, where he talked about the “love and support of the fan base.” Resnick, a former Rangers publicist, wouldn’t buy it.

“Tavares deceived the Islanders,” Resnick told me, “and their great fans.”

Manhattan-based attorney, Zachary Weinstock, and co-author — with The Maven — of the Islanders-Rangers rivalry book, told me it’s time to forget about Tavares and be enthused about the club’s future.

“Now that he’s left,” Weinstock succinctly asserted, “it’s time to look ahead and rebuild. There’s nothing wrong with rebuilding — or building the way the Knights did in Vegas.”

An Islanders season ticket-holder since 1987, Andrew Taub of Freeport told The Maven that he figured Tavares would have had stronger more positive feelings about the team. “But,” Taub asserted, “John can be replaced.

“I have confidence that the new management team will get the best out of the roster and improve without JT.”

Fellow (Rangers) contributor, Matthew Blittner, understands that, as a UFA, Tavares earned the right to decide where to play out his career.

“But he should have handled it better,” Blittner concluded. “The fact is, the club could have dealt him at the trade deadline but took him at his word that he wanted to stay. The Isles could have gotten back a good haul had they traded him.”

My younger son, Simon, 40, has been following the Isles ever since he was a tyke, scrambling around Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Now living in Israel, he still follows the club assiduously.

When I asked how he felt about the Tavares’ exit, Simon offered a comparative squelch:

“As a rookie, Mathew Barzal had more points (85) this past season than a veteran like Tavares (84).”

Then, a pause: “The future of the Islanders is Mat Barzal!”

Check out Mat Barzal's best plays from this season, as the the Isles rookie won the Calder Trophy. Catch more of Barzal all week long during Rookie Week on MSG Networks!