How John Tavares' Spurning of the Islanders Ignited Their Resurgence

bleacherreport.com
5 min read
fairly easy
UNIONDALE, New York — The newly-crowned New York Saints went marching into third round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a touchdown in a convincing 6-1 win over the Boston Bruins on Wednesday at the Nassau Coliseum...
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. The old barn on Long Island lives to see yet another round of play with the Islanders capturing the East Division title and moving on to face the Tampa Bay Lightning.

While Boston coach Bruce Cassidy had a point when he complained about the officiating in Game 5, but his argument that the Islanders were getting preferential big-city treatment carried little weight and only fueled the fans at the Coliseum.

For the second straight season, the Islanders have advanced to the semifinal round. When you consider who is in charge of the organization, it's not completely unthinkable. Lou Lamoriello is a Hall-of-Fame executive and Barry Trotz coached the Washington Capitals to a Stanley Cup three years ago.

But few predicted this after the events that unfolded in the summer of 2018 when center John Tavares, the Isles' franchise player and one of the most talented centers in the league, left for his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs.

Shortly after Lamoriello joined the organization and hired Trotz, the club's best player left the organization that drafted him for the high-money, high-profile organization that was built to compete for Stanley Cups year after year. Former general manager Garth Snow could have traded him at the deadline and received assets to build around but the Islanders were left nothing. They were a laughingstock.

Some fans promptly burned their jerseys. But some didn't really blame Tavares for leaving. The Islanders had won only five playoff series in 34 years before 2018. The future of the Islanders was unclear, but Tavares was swayed by the prospect of bringing home a Stanley Cup to his hometown team. And an $11 million annual salary. That helped too.

But the prospects of the two organizations have turned. The Maple Leafs are cap-crunched and suffered yet another early-round exit. The Islanders, on the other hand, gave gone on to win five official playoff rounds and one…
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