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Report: Tavares has torn MCL, done for season

Feb 20, 2014, 7:54 AM EDT

Canada forward John Tavares is helped up off the ice by a trainer during the second period of a men's quarterfinal ice hockey game against Latvia at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. Tavares is out for the rest of the Olympics with an unspecified leg injury. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) AP

It sounds like John Tavares is going to miss a lot more than the remainder of the Olympics.

The 23-year-old forward underwent an MRI that showed he had a torn MCL and torn meniscus, according to Newsday writer Arthur Staple’s source. Consequently, Tavares might undergo surgery and will miss the remainder of the 2013-14 campaign.

The good news is that Tavares should be ready for the start of training camp in September.

He sustained the injury while playing in Canada’s quarterfinals match against Latvia.

Assuming the report is true, this brings an unfortunate end to what had been a productive season for Tavares. He had 24 goals and ranked third in the scoring race with 66 points going into the Olympics.

The New York Islanders were already all-but officially eliminated from the playoff race. Once the breaks over, their focus will likely be on building for the future by trading some veteran assets like forward Thomas Vanek.

  1. chiadam - Feb 20, 2014 at 8:03 AM

    This is why NHL players don’t belong in the Olympics. Tavares doesn’t feel any better knowing his team is out of contention. Neither do Oilers fans, or the team itself. And this could easily have been a Toews, Crosby or Backes. Then what?

    • ibieiniid - Feb 20, 2014 at 8:12 AM

      I have a feeling the league will see it your way. don’t help them get to that conclusion tho. i love watching the NHL in an olympic format.

    • jsutan - Feb 20, 2014 at 9:16 AM

      Injuries are going to happen whether you play in the Olympics or not

      • barkar942 - Feb 20, 2014 at 11:00 AM

        He could have done the same damage to his knee by tripping over a wasted Vanek crawling back into the darkened hotel past curfew.

      • stakex - Feb 20, 2014 at 12:24 PM

        That’s true, but put yourself in the shoes of an NHL owner/GM…. do you want someone you have built your team around, and whom you are paying several million dollars going to risk injury playing for someone else?

        He gets hurt on the job, that’s life…. but its a much harder pill to swallow when he gets hurt playing in what pretty much amounts to a meaningless tournament, at least in the eyes of said owners/GM.

    • joey4id - Feb 20, 2014 at 9:29 AM

      Says who? It was players who asked to participate in the Olympics. Get hurt there, or get hurt in the NHL. Welcome to a contact sport. Injuries are part of the game, and if you don’t like it play chess.

      • thailer35 - Feb 20, 2014 at 9:42 AM

        But for the love of God, don’t let those injuries happen while willingly punching eachother in the head, right Joey?

      • joey4id - Feb 20, 2014 at 9:54 AM

        Does MCL cause a degenerative brain disease? Now! Moved on! Kid!

      • thailer35 - Feb 20, 2014 at 11:45 AM

        You move! On! Fighting is! Part! Of the game! And! This! Is another! Example of! How to misuse! Exclamation! Marks!

      • joey4id - Feb 20, 2014 at 12:30 PM


      • thailer35 - Feb 20, 2014 at 11:52 AM

        And no, having (an) MCL does not cause a degenerative brain disease. We all have MCL’s. Tavares tore his.

      • joey4id - Feb 20, 2014 at 12:31 PM

        Big F deal. Fix it and be ready for Sept.

    • timmyp716 - Feb 20, 2014 at 10:40 AM

      what do the oilers have to do with all this?

    • barkar942 - Feb 20, 2014 at 10:54 AM

      Well, what it really comes down to is the insurance company who backs their NHL contracts if they get hurt at the Olympics are cringing when they hear news like this.

  2. chiadam - Feb 20, 2014 at 8:04 AM

    *Islanders. oops.

    • dani82000 - Feb 20, 2014 at 9:19 AM

      Ha! I was just going to say I’m sure the Oilers are going to be fine with it, considering he doesn’t play for them.

  3. godsmacked1 - Feb 20, 2014 at 8:08 AM

    Time to move Vanek.

    • ethanmacleod1685 - Feb 20, 2014 at 9:56 AM

      Oh there’s no doubt they’ll have to move him now, but the question is, for what? Will a contender give up peices for him, doubt it. Will a bottom feeder give up picks for him, doubt it. What is he worth anyway, what team is going to risk him going to free agency?

      • islesjb - Feb 20, 2014 at 10:28 AM

        Apparently there’s a lot of interest in him. A contending team looking for a player to push them over the edge will be willing give up some solid prospects and or picks.

      • Lupy Nazty Philthy - Feb 20, 2014 at 11:08 AM

        Seems like a good fit for LA. They could use someone with a scoring touch.

    • jl9830 - Feb 20, 2014 at 12:34 PM

      Again, it was already time to move Vanek. This literally changes nothing about Vanek.

  4. imgoingtowichita - Feb 20, 2014 at 8:26 AM

    Devastating! I hope he comes back at 100%. That organization needs him.

  5. bucrightoff - Feb 20, 2014 at 8:44 AM

    If Tavares never is the same after this, the Islanders lost a potential top 3 player for, to them anyways, absolutely nothing. This certainly will be used as ammunition to prevent players from going in 2018. Will it actually prevent them? Depends if the IOC and IIHF are going to give the NHL what it wants (i.e. money).

    • pftfan - Feb 20, 2014 at 9:12 AM

      While any kind of torn ligament is bad, Tavares is the type of player who will bounce back from this. What makes him a top 3 NHLer isn’t his blazing speed or skating ala Stamkos, he’s top 3 because of his on-ice vision, stellar stickwork and ability to be lethal from within 5 feet of the net.

      He does rely on a sprint every now and then, and he puts in a lot of work behind the net which might have to evolve now. But I still think he will return to an all star level once the knee is fully rehabbed.

    • phillyboy20 - Feb 20, 2014 at 9:40 AM

      This type of injury is rarely career altering. The MCL scars down on its own with rehab and is rarely surgically repaired. My guess is that he tore his meniscus in a spot that receives good blood supply and the doctors think they can tac it down and repair it rather than snip it out.

    • gtthom86 - Feb 20, 2014 at 12:53 PM

      well bucrightoff knows nothing of knees obviously. if the report is true, and all he tore is his mcl, he will be fine. its nothing like tearing an acl, and the surgery/rehab is also much much easier. with todays surgeries even an acl is hardly career threatening, but an mcl is cake.

  6. tdrusher225 - Feb 20, 2014 at 9:01 AM

    Fortunately the Islanders season was going nowhere, but hopefully he can come back 100%

  7. patshal - Feb 20, 2014 at 9:01 AM

    Big loss for not only Canada but the Islanders. They lost their captain. That’s huge. That will drastically change the leadership off the ice. I guarantee they will lose more games than they win without him. I would bet money on it.

  8. jpelle82 - Feb 20, 2014 at 9:08 AM

    if they medal, does he still get one? anyone know? hope so, otherwise this is more than a damn shame.

    • canadiansportsfan77 - Feb 20, 2014 at 11:08 AM

      He played, he gets a medal. Like the player traded from the stanley cup winning team at the deadline, he still gets his ring

      • jpelle82 - Feb 20, 2014 at 11:22 AM

        wasnt sure if he had to play a certain qualifying game(s) to do so. good, hope its just bronze for any of the canadians though…

      • canadiansportsfan77 - Feb 20, 2014 at 12:12 PM

        Nope just the same Mike Smith will get a medal if Canada does win one for being the 3rd string

  9. penvik - Feb 20, 2014 at 9:25 AM

    Olympic hockey needs to be more controlled. I’m finding that the reffing, particularly against Canada or the USA is terrible. They let the bottom feeder teams run around without repercussions and this is the result. I love Olympic hockey but I don’t agree that NHL players are on the ice with amateurs.

    • pftfan - Feb 20, 2014 at 11:24 AM

      I agree that bad things can happen when you put an ECHL-caliber amateur from some former Soviet Bloc country on the same ice surface as a Sidney Crosby or John Tavares. The variables are just too high and obviously the impact a reckless play can have can be incredibly disproportionate.

      • gtthom86 - Feb 20, 2014 at 1:01 PM

        what the hell are you guys talking about? i’ve seen almost every game and there is nothing to suggest that the lack of skill/talent from players on one team has added to the injury risk to one team or another. its a contact sport, people will get hurt. stop being to butt-hurt yourself

  10. flylikearaven88 - Feb 20, 2014 at 9:26 AM

    As a Flyers fan, I feel bad for the Islanders. They haven’t had much to cheer about in a long time and this happens to their young star. Exactly why I was personally happy Giroux got snubbed twice from Team Canada’s roster. Get well soon Tavares.

    • matthewmacisaac - Feb 24, 2014 at 8:36 AM

      As a Flyers fan, I also feel bad for the Islanders and their fans. I totally agree with you on breathing a sigh of relief when Giroux was snubbed. I rooted against any team that had a Flyer on it so they could get back, get rested, and most importantly stay healthy. I hope the next Olympics don’t have the NHLers in them. Besides the extra wear and tear, there is the injury risk and it screws up the season with too many back to back games. The Olympics were supposed to be for AMATEUR athletes.

  11. jb8588 - Feb 20, 2014 at 9:51 AM

    I have my national pride and all that, but these tournaments seriously aren’t worth it. I would love to see anybody with a straight face tell me that potentially losing your franchise player for the rest of the season is worth the risk because “it’s the Olympics”. And injuries happen, yes…but you can’t say that because he got hurt in Sochi that the exact same thing would of happened to him if it were an NHL game. I feel bad for the Isles fans right now…but this is exactly why I wanted Stammer to stay away from Sochi. It’s not worth it!

    • hockeyflow33 - Feb 20, 2014 at 1:20 PM

      Look at how Stamkos is back early and gets to play in more games because of the break. There is a large benefit to the majority of players with a week off during the season.

  12. pitpenguinsrulez - Feb 20, 2014 at 9:53 AM

    This is why I say this will be the last year of nhl players in the Olympics.

  13. canadiansportsfan77 - Feb 20, 2014 at 11:11 AM

    We’ll if Tavares can fully heal back to normal, maybe its a blessing in disguise. They get to use Strome in the centre slot to get him ready for next year, they most likely lose some games to lower this pick, hey who knows, maybe they slot in for Sam Reinhart at the draft.

    They next year, they take a centre line of Tavares, the more prepared Strome, the 2 way Neilson and someone like Nelson or Cizikas as their 4th line centre.

  14. bcisleman - Feb 20, 2014 at 11:24 AM

    Believe it or not, this is good news considering that the fear yesterday was for a torn ACL & missing 2014-15 as well. This year was done anyway and it will give other members of this young team an opportunity to show what they are able to do w/o JT.

  15. stakex - Feb 20, 2014 at 12:41 PM

    I’ve said it a couple times this week, and I’ll say it again…. this is a prime example of why NHL players have no place being in the Olympics. Two teams have now lost their leading scorers to injuries sustained at the Olympics. That’s simply unacceptable.

    Yes, injuries could happen at any time Olympics or not… however the Olympics add 4-7 extra games to a players season. Also the more compressed NHL schedule, as well as the quick turn around in Olympic games, all help make injuries more likely.

    There are obviously a lot of other teams that NHL players should be left out of the Olympics (for one it would actually make the Olympics competitive), but NHL teams suffering devastating loses is by far the big one.

    • canadiansportsfan77 - Feb 20, 2014 at 1:01 PM

      It’s part of the game and this is the best tournament available. No one will care about a World Cup of Hockey because it will never compare to an Olympic gold. The best players on the planet playing against each other with this kind of intensity with entire countries of support is something unmatched in hockey

      • jpelle82 - Feb 20, 2014 at 2:36 PM

        it would compare to an olympic gold if the olympic gold wasnt an option anymore.

      • jpelle82 - Feb 20, 2014 at 2:38 PM

        when the olympics was full of amateurs what did the players look forward to? what was the best tournament then? the canada cup. if the olympics goes back to the amateurs then a canada cup type alternative will gain importance again.

      • canadiansportsfan77 - Feb 20, 2014 at 3:15 PM

        Players never refuse the Olympic games because it is the ultimate honor to represent your country. You won’t get that level of committment or honor in a world cup. You would never have seen Stamkos working his butt off to make the target date, nor Datter, nor any of the other players.

        It’s not about letting a lesser country have a miracle, its about seeing who the best hockey country is. Shouldn’t be Canada, USA, Russia, Swedens, ect job to lessen themselves to other countries. It’s on the other countries to make teams that can compete, and that’s why teams like Slovenia and Latvia’s victory in this Olympic were so special because they were able to show they are in the right direction.

        If you need another sport to compare a World Cup to, look at the World Baseball Classic. Majority of the star players reject the offer, and then it is considered a side event that doesn’t draw near enough casual fan interest.

        You want the sport to grow, take the largest international sporting event, put your best players in the main event sport, and let them show the casual fan what hockey is about.

      • jpelle82 - Feb 20, 2014 at 3:53 PM

        look at the world cup of soccer though…better than the olympics. hockey is more comparable to baseball i guess as far as international competition goes though, soccer is just way too big. there’s only 5-6 countries in baseball just like hockey whereas soccer is a little more widespread worldwide. i get your point but i dont pay to see the olympics and i dont see them 82 games a year. i want my nhl guys to play in the nhl where they can win a cup for us fans. this thing with tavares is exactly why they shouldnt compete. i’m still rooting for the usa and am enjoying the games for the most part but if malkin or crosby was out for the year i would be mad as a hornet that the penguins’ chances at a cup were greatly reduced.

    • jpelle82 - Feb 20, 2014 at 2:42 PM

      if the nhl players werent allowed this year slovenia couldve won the whole thing. that was the magic of the olympics before professionals could play…a team like the usa could have a miracle on ice. things like that wont happen anymore. now its just the same old same old 4 or 5 teams every time around, unless you’re from one of those countries why even bother sending a team.

  16. djshnooks - Feb 20, 2014 at 2:44 PM

    Oh this is BEAUTIFUL for Buffalo…

    Whatcha gon’ do now, Garth Snow? Keep the draft pick this year, giving Buffalo a potential top-10 pick in the McDavid sweepstakes…or give them #2 overall this year? Awesome…we’ll gladly take either.

    I sure do hope he returns fully healthy…but for a rebuilding Sabres team this is huge.

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