No Tavares, but Islanders will still play pre-season game in Oshawa this week

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Buffalo Sabres’s Kyle Okposo chases New York Islanders forward John Tavares behind the net in early February. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)
Buffalo Sabres’s Kyle Okposo chases New York Islanders forward John Tavares behind the net in early February. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

Well, this is a little awkward.

On Friday the Buffalo Sabres and New York Islanders will make the trek north of the 49th parallel to face off at the Tribute Communities Centre in Oshawa. Call me crazy but, the game, which was announced back in December 2017, seems to make a lot less sense now that former Islanders’ superstar and Oshawa Generals legend John Tavares has signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“Tavares… was a big part of the reason behind the deal and will be a huge draw should he re-sign with the team and play in the game,” wrote Brian McNair for DurhamRegion.com when the game was announced.

Yikes.

This feels like a large group of people planning a huge birthday party for a friend, who then passes away, and the group still having the party anyway. The only difference is I’ve never paid either $85 or $110 (plus fees) for a ticket to a birthday party.

To make matters worse, another former Oshawa General won’t be there, either. Defenceman Calvin de Haan, who played the first five seasons of his NHL career with the Islanders after three years with the Generals, signed with the Carolina Hurricanes as a free agent early in July. On top of that, highly-touted Islanders’ prospect Michael Dal Colle (fifth overall in the 2014 Entry Draft) who also played his junior hockey in Oshawa was sent down to Bridgeport earlier this week.

But not to worry! Former General Cal Clutterbuck is still playing in New York and should be lacing ’em up for the game.

So, sure, the game won’t be exactly what was advertised. However, as mentioned by McNair in his article, the opportunity to bring NHL players to a community for a game is always a special one.

For the sake of the fans that bought their tickets in advance though, it’s just too bad that so much has changed on Long Island in the last nine months.

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