It’s the stuff nightmares are made of. A NHL star has been lost for the rest of the season due to an injury that happened on Winter Olympic ice. On Wednesday, news broke that New York Islanders star John Tavares suffered a knee injury and would miss the rest of the Olympic Games. That news has been updated; Tavares will not only miss the rest of the Olympics, but he is out of action until September.
The injury occurred during Team Canada’s game yesterday. Tavares and Latvian player Arturs Kulda ran into each other during the second period yesterday. Tavares was unable to return. An update written by Allan Muir on SI.com says that an MRI has shown a torn MCL and a torn meniscus.
For the Islanders and the NHL, this is just another black-eye on their players competing in the Olympics. Having a player like Tavares go down for the rest of the year may spark the debate between the NHL and the IIHF. TMMOTS has posted several stories about the NHL sitting out in 2018, and this injury is why I think it needs to happen. There is an argument to be made that it’s an honor and the players’ right to compete in the Olympics, however there are outstanding issues here. Players are under contract to play in the NHL, and some contracts have limits to what a player can and cannot do during a season. Maybe it’s time to add the Olympics to the do not do list.
While this is bad news for the league and for the Islanders, one team must be smiling from ear to ear. The Buffalo Sabres are in line for the Islanders 2014 or 2015 top pick. With Tavares going down, the chances of that top pick being in the top ten or even a top five pick are getting higher by the minute.
It would seem this one injury could have a ripple effect on many levels. It could affect the future of two NHL teams and it could hurt the IIHF’s chances of seeing NHL talent in 2018.