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Tavares the Right Choice

The Islanders named John Tavares their 14th captain in team history on Monday

Monday, 09.09.2013 / 1:29 PM / News
By Travis Betts
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Tavares the Right Choice
The Islanders named John Tavares their 14th captain in team history on Monday

The New York Islanders turned the page on a new chapter in team history Monday, naming John Tavares the 14th captain in the team’s 42-year history. Islanders General Manager Garth Snow made the announcement at Bethpage State Park, the site of the annual Islanders Children’s Foundation Golf Outing.

Taking the stage before a room filled with teammates, management, media and ICF supporters, Tavares put on the jersey with the captain’s “C” for the first time and acknowledged the two former captains he played with on Long Island, Doug Weight and Mark Streit.

“It’s obviously one heck of an honor to be named captain of the New York Islanders, to have the respect of your teammates, the organization, our great fans and everyone involved with the club,” Tavares said. “There have been so many great past captains and obviously the last two have meant a lot to me. Hopefully I can carry the team in a way they did and learn from the great friendships that I have with them.”

The 22-year-old Tavares has paced the club in points during each of his four seasons with the Islanders. He was named a finalist for the Hart Trophy (league MVP) in 2012-13 after ranking third in the league with 28 goals and leading the Islanders to their first postseason appearance in six years.

But captaining an NHL team is about more than goals and assists, and the 2009 draft pick has stepped up to the plate consistently in his career, handling the pressure and responsibility that comes with being selected No. 1 overall.

Snow believes the example Tavares sets for his teammates on and off the ice made him the natural choice for the captaincy.

“He’s a top player in the league, but he has a grinder’s mentality when it comes to work ethic and practicing the right way,” Snow said. “He’s a great leader and deserves to be the 14th captain in Islanders history.”

The Mississauga, Ont. native is under contract with the Islanders through the 2017-18 season. He’s made it clear that he wants to stay with the Islanders for the long haul, a mentality that has rubbed off on his teammates. Since Tavares signed his deal in September 2011, Michael Grabner, Frans Nielsen, Kyle Okposo, Matt Martin, Travis Hamonic and Josh Bailey have followed suit in signing long-term deals to stay with the club.

Bailey, who was the Islanders first-round pick the year before Tavares, applauded the team’s choice.

“I think a huge quality in someone you want as a captain is someone with the determination and drive to be successful and win,” Bailey said. “I think those qualities can make you a great leader. When you throw into the mix him being a great guy and a good friend – I think he’ll do a great job as captain.”

Tavares says he doesn’t feel any extra weight on his shoulders after Monday’s announcement, and that he’ll go about his duties the way he always has. True to form, Tavares was eager to talk about what’s ahead for the group as a whole.

“I don’t think being named captain is going to change a whole lot, but it’s a great honor,” Tavares said. “We certainly have the opportunity to build on last season’s strong performance. It’s up to us to prove ourselves and it’s not going to get any easier for us this year. What we’ve accomplished so far doesn’t mean anything unless we can take advantage of what’s ahead of us.”

PHOTO GALLERY | PRESS RELEASE

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 63 41 17 5 171 139 87
2 NYI 65 41 21 3 207 182 85
3 NYR 62 39 17 6 196 153 84
4 TBL 65 39 20 6 213 171 84
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 81
7 WSH 65 35 20 10 193 162 80
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 64 28 23 13 156 181 69
10 PHI 64 27 25 12 170 186 66
11 OTT 61 27 23 11 173 166 65
12 NJD 64 27 27 10 144 165 64
13 TOR 64 26 33 5 173 195 57
14 CBJ 63 26 33 4 163 201 56
15 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
16 BUF 64 19 40 5 123 215 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 65 30 35 4 65
K. Okposo 46 14 30 -2 44
R. Strome 65 14 28 23 42
B. Nelson 65 17 20 7 37
F. Nielsen 65 11 25 13 36
A. Lee 59 21 13 13 34
J. Bailey 53 13 19 11 32
J. Boychuk 55 7 23 14 30
N. Leddy 65 8 18 16 26
T. Hamonic 55 4 21 16 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 33 13 1 .911 2.47
C. Johnson 8 8 1 .889 3.08

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