Toronto Maple Leafs: John Tavares criticism unwarranted

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 30: John Tavares
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 30: John Tavares /

John Tavares wrote a farewell article in the Players Tribune but fans and media in New York still take issue with his decision to sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Leaving the New York Islanders to sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs wasn’t an easy decision for John Tavares which is understandable.

Unfortunately, the reaction towards his decision to leave Long Island has received quite a backlash from fans of the team but the media hasn’t been too kind to him.

The one reaction that gained a lot of attention was from WFan Sports Radio where host Evan Roberts sounded off on the former Islanders’ captain’s decision to play for his hometown team.

"“The issue is the way he took this franchise on a rollercoaster for the last 2 1/2 years,” Roberts said. “You’re telling me he didn’t know? He tweets a picture in pajamas with the Maple Leaf logo! Oh, it’s a boyhood dream! He didn’t know he had a boyhood dream six months ago? He didn’t know he had a boyhood dream a year ago? He didn’t know he had a boyhood dream as he’s going past the deadline, Lou (Lamoriello) is standing there, waiting, trying to get this guy back."

In New York, the media landscape is massive with talk shows like this one being popular because of the passion from the hosts and their controversial takes.

Now the Islanders are not on the same level when it comes to their popularity especially with the Yankees, Knicks, Giants, Jets or even the Mets all ahead of them. However, the Tavares’ signing was a massive deal in the NHL so it gained a lot of traction.

It still doesn’t excuse some of the things being said about Tavares with Roberts being the main culprit.

He added another comment that probably came from the heat of the moment but he probably has no regrets with what he said.

"“It’s almost like he secretly hated the franchise and said, ‘How can I hose them as much as I possibly can?” Roberts added. “Oh, I’ve got this great idea. So I’m going to basically whisper sweet nothings into the organization’s ear, to the fans ears, about Belmont, and Brooklyn, and Long Island, and I’m going to wait as long as I possibly can. I’m going to have everybody come to me in LA like I’m a king, and I’m going to make it as painful as I can and then I’m going to leave. But don’t worry, I’m going to write a nice letter.’ Great! Thanks, bro!”"

You can listen to the entire audio clip below.

Tavares added more context around his decision with an article in the Players’ Tribune and you can sense how tough the whole process was for him.

Many of the comments from his tweet have been mixed for the most part but the negative ones do stick out the most.

Fans argued that Tavares is leaving with the team going uphill while others point out that he was with the team for nine seasons and they failed to build around him.

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It doesn’t help that the reaction from Leafs Nation has been like pouring salt on the wound so being upset about that from an Islanders perspective is understandable.

At the same time, Leafs fans have seen players leave without getting anything in return like when Mats Sundin didn’t waive his no-trade clause and seeing Phil Kessel traded and winning in Pittsburgh.

Does it equate to what Islanders’ fans are going through with Tavares? Probably not. However, Leafs fans have also put blame on what management did wrong if something didn’t work out rather than go after the player’s decision when he’s well within his right.

Kyle Dubas said that the decision to go after Tavares didn’t really come about until February so it’s not like they tried to contact the Islanders for a trade or had secret talks with him.

If anything Tavares should be praised for never asking for a trade out of Long Island considering all the tough times the team has been through. He took his role as captain seriously so what more can Islanders’ fans ask for?

He doesn’t control who the team brings in to play, who the general manager is or who coaches the team. That is on ownership and management so if anybody is to blame it should be on them.

Sure Tavares is probably feeling some guilt for leaving New York but sometimes a player also has to think about his future and after nine years of not accomplishing every goal, he hopes that Toronto can offer that to him.

Next: Frederik Gauthier still has a lot to prove

What do you think about the criticism that Tavares has been receiving? Let us know in the comments below.