EAST MEADOW, N.Y. — Tonight’s game against the New York Rangers will be viewed through a microscope, with the specimen being John Tavares.
The Islanders’ captain could be playing in his final home game as a member of the franchise, a thought that makes fans of the team feel queasy. They’re not alone, however, in their anxiousness over whether or not John Tavares ultimately stays with the Islanders.
“This is the last home game and you kind of see it all come to fruition,’ Islanders head coach Doug Weight said following the morning skate. “I think the nervousness was early. Now it is what it is. He’ll make a decision when he makes it. Unfortunately, we can’t control that…
“I don’t have nervousness, I mean anxiety is probably a closer word, but you have to do what you have to do as an organization no matter what. With or without him we’re going to move forward and try to win. We’d like him here.”
Tavares has remained non-committal when asked whether or not he was going to re-sign with the Islanders throughout the season. He has never wavered from his message that he would like to remain a part of the team and made similar mention of that when Tavares spoke with reporters on Wednesday.
“I hope it all works out, too, and I’m back as well,” Tavares said.
In the meantime, the Islanders have two games left on their schedule starting tonight against the Rangers. It is anticipated game, not because of the rivalry, but because of the clues that may be obtained about Tavares staying or going.
Weight wasn’t trying to dig too deep into the significance ahead of the game.
“I’m going to go down the road of John and just look at it as another game,” Weight said. “I think he earns his ice time and we hope (him leaving) is not the case. You can’t get too deep into that thought process. I don’t think it’s healthy for me or anybody else. We’re hopeful that John will be here, but only he knows how special tonight will be.”