John Tavares scoring his 1,000 point against the Islanders would be too perfect

Photo credit:Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Jon Steitzer
7 months ago
Mathematically we are likely looking at what will be a pretty special week for John Tavares. At no point in Tavares’ career has he been far off a point per game pace and now just two points shy of 1000 and four games between now and Saturday, the reality is it is going to happen soon.
There would be something poetic about John Tavares returning to Long Island for his 1000th point. While I am not a particularly big fan of poetry, I can appreciate the devastation that this would bring to the already fragile Islanders fan base. Playing against the team for whom he recorded most of his points and spent the majority of his career so far probably has some appeal to John Tavares. If he’s a person who would like to respond to the “we don’t need you” chants and the accusations of being a snake by manchildren who haven’t grasped the concept of unrestricted free agency, it will be doubly special.
What is also cool about this Tavares milestone is that in many ways John Tavares is also sticking it to many Leafs pundits as well. With Tavares’ 7 year, $11M AAV contract there was an expectation by many that John would be running on fumes by the time year six of the contract rolled around. Instead, here he is, still a point per game player, a player who would be the first line centre on many teams around the NHL, and he’s making a case for getting paid on his next deal as well.
This event seems like a great opportunity to reflect on all things John Tavares and while making $11M a year and wearing the “C” in Toronto still makes him a bit of a lightning rod, it’s hard to argue that in many ways he has conducted himself in the exact same quiet dignity that was so greatly admired in Mats Sundin. He’s opened his home to rookies, he’s modeled the healthy living and work ethic required of an NHL player and while he doesn’t have the exciting things to say that you might get from other players on the Leafs, his monotone reciting of hockey cliches probably better serves the Leafs than Auston Matthews telling reporters what he actually thinks on a more regular basis.
If John Tavares’ moment doesn’t come tonight against the Islanders, he will get another go tomorrow night against the Rangers or Thursday against the Blue Jackets. It seems unlikely that we will still be talking about him trying to hit 1000 on Saturday against the Penguins, but there is something poetic about Kyle Dubas being in the building for that too. Whether it is Tavares achieving the milestone that night or not, hopefully the Leafs choose to honour him that night as the milestone warrants the national audience of Hockey Night in Canada and having the GM who made Tavares to Toronto possible.
As for tonight, you better believe there will be some money on the board and it will be interesting to see if the Leafs are trying a little harder to find Tavares in the shooting lane.

Pregame Details:

Maple Leafs Lineup:
Matthew Knies – Auston Matthews – William Nylander
Tyler Bertuzzi – John Tavares – Mitch Marner
Nicholas Robertson – Max Domi – Calle Jarnkrok
Noah Gregor – David Kampf – Ryan Reaves
Morgan Rielly – T.J. Brodie
Simon Benoit – Jake McCabe
Maxime Lajoie – Conor Timmins
Islanders Lineup:
Anders Lee – Bo Horvat – Mat Barzal
Pierre Engvall – Brock Nelson – Kyle Palmieri
Simon Holmstrom – Jean-Gabriel Pageau – Julien Gauthier
Hudson Fasching – Casey Cizikas – Cal Clutterbuck
Alexander Romanov – Noah Dobson
Samuel Bolduc – Robert Bortuzzo
Mike Reilly – Scott Mayfield
Projected Goaltenders:
Ilya Samsonov (TOR) vs. Ilya Sorokin (NYI)
Sportsnet, 7PM
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