A homecoming can be a tender moment. It can be a time to reflect on fond memories and to acknowledge and honor past accomplishments. This can be specifically legitimate for a professional athlete that returns to his or her previous longtime “home.”
That was not the scenario for Toronto Maple Leafs alternate captain John Tavares when he returned to his outdated Very long Island stomping grounds at Nassau Coliseum final Thursday.
This was Tavares’ 1st time back again to the home of the New York Islanders due to the fact he built his no cost agent determination to indication a 7-calendar year, $77 million contract with the Leafs final summer months, and the Isles supporters welcomed him back again with the warm appears of booing and name calling.
“Liar!” “Traitor!” “We never require you!” These were just some of the “cleaner” words that were yelled at Tavares throughout the night, not to point out the a lot of signals that depicted Tavares as a snake, outdated Tavares jerseys that displayed the phrase “traitor” across the back again nameplate – supporters even burned Tavares jerseys outside the house the arena before the video game – and the many rubber snakes that supporters threw on the ice at him.
Certainly, the outdated Isles captain obtained a “warm” welcome home alright, and I imagined this would serve as an ideal time to draw some comparisons to the night the Tampa Bay Lightning’s ninth-captain, Martin St. Louis, built his 1st return to the beforehand-named Tampa Bay Situations Forum right after he was traded to the New York Rangers back again in 2014.
Additional from Bolts by the Bay
To begin, St. Louis asked for to be traded. He did not wait around for no cost company nor was this a move that was absolutely out of his control. This was a response to previous Lightning common manager Steve Yzerman leaving St. Louis off of Group Canada’s roster for the 2014 Sochi Olympic Game titles, though it has been reported the determination was also affected by St. Louis’ motivation to be closer to his loved ones and their Connecticut home, in accordance to the Tampa Bay Situations.
There is no denying the challenging thoughts that were felt by lots of Bolts supporters, but there is also no denying the real warm welcome St. Louis obtained on his return to Tampa the subsequent season, this time donning Rangers red, white and blue.
Confident, there were some boo birds flying that night, but there was also genuine cheering and applauding for a player that spent approximately 13 full seasons with the Bolts, winning two Art Ross Trophies, 1 Hart Trophy and a Stanley Cup.
It unquestionably does not review, on any degree, to this sort of homecoming reception:
What Tavares went as a result of was so poor, the Maple Leafs felt the require to acknowledge No. 91 at their upcoming home video game.
It is hardly ever an simple factor for a passionate fan base to permit go of somebody that grew to become their “franchise player.” Fans want to maintain onto them without end, continue to keep them in their team’s colors without end and be equipped to say that they hardly ever performed for any other team in the league…ever. But when it comes down to it, these are professional athletes and this is a professional league. It is a organization.
Is loyalty concerned in the determination-creating system? Of system it is…occasionally. Is cash concerned in the determination-creating system? Of system it is…all the time.
In the scenario of John Tavares, this was his option to return to his hometown – just 30 minutes from Toronto – to fulfill a childhood dream of participating in for the team he grew up viewing and to income in on some critical coin in the system.
A further illustration that compares just about identically to this predicament was when Patrick Marleau selected to indication with Toronto and go away the only team he experienced ever performed with in his NHL vocation, the San Jose Sharks. Despite the tries by Joe Thornton to lure his longtime teammate to resign with the Sharks in 2017, Marleau selected the Leafs.
Now, what occurred when he returned to the Shark Tank the subsequent season? The online video speaks for by itself.
Anyone else finding choked up? Move the tissues make sure you.
What a welcome back again that was for Marleau. Not 1 boo fowl there that night, that is for guaranteed.
So why bash Tavares so harshly Isles supporters? Why destroy and tarnish what was an wonderful past time in the Islanders franchise? Why toss snakes and outdated jerseys at your franchise’s fifth-primary all-time scorer, with the 1st 4 possessing retired quantities in your rafters?
Probably it’s irritation in excess of repeated a long time of just ordinary on-ice performances – whilst the team is neck and neck with the reigning Stanley Cup winner Capitals atop the Metropolitan Division – or the reality that all home online games are remaining break up between two venues this season. Probably it’s a cry for the team to bring back again all those typical “Gorton’s fisherman” sweaters forever. Consider me I would enjoy to see all those way too! Or it’s possible Leafs head coach Mike Babcock was proper when he stated in a report by The Athletic, “they only boo you if you’re vital.”
To be reasonable, the New York Islanders firm did honor Tavares with a tribute online video which was adopted by adhere salutes by the total Isles team bench. This was the only elegant move that night.
It will be fascinating to see if Tavares ever joins all those 4 other Islander primary scorers in the rafters down the line, inspite of this serious tough patch in the Islanders-Tavares romantic relationship.
Marty St. Louis observed his selection 26 retired by the Lightning in 2017 as the 1st in franchise background. It was a enjoyable ceremony that observed Yzerman and St. Louis truly burying the hatchet, as Yzerman gave a speech on St. Louis’ exceptional vocation.
It is stated that hatred and enjoy are separated by a slim line and this may quite properly be the scenario for Isles supporters and their thoughts in the direction of Tavares. But for the time remaining, that line is a wall and Tavares is Very long Island community enemy No. 1.
Just one can only hope that someday the Islanders devoted will appreciate what John Tavares gave them just as the Tampa Bay Lightning fanbase appreciated Martin St. Louis.