John Tavares is about to join Jeff Carter, Steven Stamkos, Brad Richards and numerous others on the list of people who, for one reason or another, still aren’t Toronto Maple Leafs. Despite all of the rumours and the message board threads and the radio call in shows and the Twitter rumblings, it looks like Tavares will sign a contract extension with the New York Islanders.
What? Doesn’t he want to play in the center of the hockey universe? Didn’t he grow up with dreams of wearing the blue and white and finally bringing another Stanley Cup back to the City of Not-Really-Champions-At-All? What’s wrong with him?
Didn’t he grow up with the Leafs? Didn’t he say that he “was always a Leafs fan?” And yet here he is, on the verge of signing a contract extension with another team!? This kid sure has some nerve!
Just look at the Google search results for “John Tavares Leafs.” There are about 211,000 of them.
Look, we can all forgive John for refusing to opt out of the NHL entry draft in favour of signing with the Toronto Marlies a few years ago. He was young and confused and he didn’t quite realize that heading to the draft wouldn’t guarantee that he’d be a Maple Leaf in the future. We thought the Leafs would win the lottery for sure too!
Obviously we can forgive him for being drafted by the New York Islanders, because he really didn’t have a say in the matter. Sure, he could have pulled an Eric Lindros and refused to play for the team that drafted him but, in retrospect, we’re kind of glad he didn’t.
But re-signing with the Islanders? That may just be unforgivable. Okay, we’re kidding. It’s not unforgivable. John, we’ll tell you the same thing we told Eric back in the day: We’ll see you at the tail end of your career.
We’re just upset because this one was supposed to work out. Sure, the trade for Jeff Carter a while ago fell through thanks to Tomas Kaberle. Then Brad Richards signed with the New York Rangers. Finally, for some reason, Stephen Stamkos decided to stay with the Tampa Bay Lightning who made the Eastern Conference Final last season instead of heading to the Leafs. All of those situations were painful for Leaf fans, but the loss of Tavares may be the worst.
Come on, the New York Islanders!? They may not even have an arena in a few years! The Leafs have an arena! It’s the greatest arena on earth for checking your email during the play! Besides, the Islanders have an even dimmer recent past than the Maple Leafs! And they wear orange! Why John, why?
What John Tavares still doesn’t understand is the same thing that so many other NHL players don’t understand: He should want to play for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Not only should he want to play for the Maple Leafs, but he should give up almost anything to sign in Toronto. Wait, scratch that. He should give up EVERYTHING. The league’s 29 other teams shouldn’t even be considered! This is the Leafs! THIS IS CANADA’S TEAM! Didn’t he see that girl walking across the country picking up water!? He could be skating on that water EVERY DAY.
But no, he’s going to stay on Long Island. We think he said something about Michael Grabner, Kyle Okposo and Matt Moulson, but we have no idea who those players are. (Do you think any of them want to be Leafs? Of course they do!) You could have played with Phil Kessel, John. But now you’ve ruined it.
Maybe the Leafs can still trade for him. Do you think the Islanders want some draft picks? If the Leafs do trade for him, we hope he understands that this entire post is a joke and that we’re not mad at him at all for signing with the Islanders. We hope that you understand that too.