The New York Islanders were quick to defend their former “selfish” captain.
“He’s a good teammate,” said defenceman Thomas Hickey, who played six seasons alongside Tavares in New York. “For anyone to say he’s selfish, they’re just misguided. Maybe they’re looking for a headline.”
That critical tweet from retired Islander Rob Schremp saying Tavares “just collects HIS points and HIS awards” certainly made for an interesting headline last week.
The ultimate “ I did my job “ kind of superstar. He wins when he goes to play for his country as they are loaded with players mostly equal or better. Other than that, he just collects HIS points and HIS awards.
— Rob Schremp (@RobSchremp) February 16, 2019
Sure, Tavares left the Islanders to join his childhood team in Toronto, but his former teammates still have his back — enough for several of them to condemn Schremp’s unsavoury accusations.
“The year John lost the scoring title by one point (to Jamie Benn in 2014-15), in a meaningless play about halfway through the year I shot it and it looked like Johnny tipped it,” Hickey shared with Sportsnet’s Eric Francis. “He got credit for it. After the game he said, ‘I’m going to change that, I didn’t touch it — that was your point.'”
“If the team isn’t having success and he is, it’s not his fault,” said Jordan Eberle, who only spent a season with Tavares in Long Island. “I’ve never seen him be selfish. (The tweet) was a bit surprising. I was shocked, because I know John and played with him and I think the majority of guys who played with him will say the same thing.”
“The way he takes care of himself and all that — he wanted to be the best. That’s his goal. Everything he did was for the group,” echoed Islanders winger Andrew Ladd. “Nothing but good things from me as a teammate. He’s got a good rep in this room.”
While the Islanders sure don’t seem to agree with Schremp, this story line should add a little more fuel to the fire as Tavares prepares to make his highly-anticipated return to Long Island on February 28.
More NHL coverage on Yahoo Sports