After the New York Islanders lost dynamic forward John Tavares to free agency last summer — a decision he announced by posting a photo of himself as a child wearing Toronto Maple Leafs pajamas — they had every excuse to collapse. Instead they’ve united under coach Barry Trotz and are among the NHL’s best defensive teams, an asset they used Saturday in a 4-0 victory over the Maple Leafs at Toronto in the teams’ first encounter since Tavares left for a seven-year, $77-million contract. Tavares described the defeat as a “like-you-got-punched-in-the-gut kind of feeling,” but Trotz said the Islanders are focused on moving forward. “Any time you lose a John Tavares, that’s a big piece,” Trotz told reporters in Toronto. “We’re not looking back, though. We have to look forward, and that’s what our organization is wanting from the players, wanting from everybody. That era is done and we’re trying to create a new era.” Kudos to them for being surprisingly competitive in this new era.
Source: latimes.com – Los Angeles Times