John Tavares returned to Nassau Coliseum and it was quite a memorable experience for him and the Islanders fans. Well, maybe not so much in a good way. It wasn’t the warm welcome many would probably expect for a long time Islander captain on his return for the first time in New York. It was a night filled with booing and ended with a loss from the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Why All the Hate for John Tavares?
Fans are powerful. It really makes up a big chunk of any sports league, including hockey. John Tavares started out with the New York Islanders. In fact, he played his first nine seasons since he was selected in the 2009 NHL Draft. He also served as their captain since 2013-2014 through his very last season with the Islanders before signing with the Toronto Maple Leafs on July 1, 2018.
It came as no surprise that many fans were crushed by his decision and Tavares felt that on his return to the Nassau Coliseum as they played against the New York Islanders.
Loss Has Nothing to do with Hostile Fans
Hostile really is exaggerating it but according to Maple Leafs coach, Mike Babcock, it wasn’t because of the crowd that brought about the Maple Leaf’s loss. In fact, the hockey team from Toronto played a great start. It was the way their play through the neutral zone that really made a difference in the game, which led to them losing against the New York Islanders 6-1.
The rest of the players with the Maple Leafs took everything with great stride. Even coach Mike Babcock even said that it was such an honor the way the crowd at the Naussau Coliseum were treating the Tavares. They didn’t even know the rest of the team, but only Tavares, which just goes to show how special of a player he was to the Islanders and is to the team.
What’s Tavares Got to Say?
John Tavares was expecting the rather unpleasant welcome. According to him, he knows that not everyone would be pleased with the decision he made to sign with the Maple Leafs after having been with the Islanders for so long and even serving as their captain. He’s moved forward since and is just trying to play for the team he’s in.
As a team, they tried their best to score a victory. Hyman was able to give the Maple Leafs a one point lead at the first period with a backhand.
New York Islanders Finished Well
Both the New York Islanders team and the fans sure came out pretty happy after the match concluded. The Islanders played well, led by their new captain, Anders Lee, who even admitted that the energy at the game was really crazy, but that it was the energy of the fans that made it easy for the team to feed off on. The New York Islanders finished well with a 6-1 win.
Despite the commotion from the crowd, the New York Islanders still chose to honor former player and captain, John Tavares with a video that was received with warm welcome from the player himself. Thanking the team and the crowd with a wave.