John Tavares is undoubtedly one of the top players in the game today, but even the best athletes work hard every day to improve their game. Arthur Staple of Newsday writes about what Tavares is doing this summer to try to avoid the lengthy slumps in production he experienced during parts of the 2015-16 campaign.
Tavares tied for 10th in the NHL in goals with 33 so it’s not as if his performance should be described as disappointing. But this summer he’s implemented a new workout schedule trying to find ways to stay fresher during the rigors of a long regular season. Tavares offered up this explanation for the change:
“I got sick really early in the season and I felt like I was overcoming some fatigue a little bit still after that. I just tried to manage this summer a little differently, making sure I got some really good recovery, some really good rest. I actually started training pretty early but I didn’t kick it into high gear for a little while. I tried to be on the ice a bit more, but just tried to make sure my quality was really high, that I didn’t try to do too much. So just to change up some things, stay fresh, stay healthy, work on some things you want to improve on in your game.”
Within the same post, Staple relays comments from head coach Jack Capuano, who wants his defensemen to generate more offense this season. Even though the team’s blue liners finished the 2015-16 season with nearly as many points as the previous season, Capuano felt the unit simply wasn’t as “dynamic” as they were the year before.
The Islanders did see a drop off in overall team goal scoring, falling from 252 goals in 2015-16 to 232 this past campaign. If Capuano can find a way to squeeze more production from his blue line corps, they should return to being one of the more prolific offenses in the league.
Elsewhere in the Metro……
- Despite suggestions that the New York Rangers would be among the busiest teams in the league this offseason, the club’s foray into free agency was minimal with Michael Grabner and Jimmy Vesey – who represented a unique case – being the only outside free agents to be given multiyear deals. On the trade front, the team did move top-line pivot center Derrick Brassard but acquired a suitable long-term replacement in Mika Zibanejad in exchange. For a team that has been in “go-for-it” mode for the last several years and consequently moved a ton of futures in deals to acquire veteran players – such as Martin St. Louis, Eric Staal and Keith Yandle – this summer has been strangely devoid of blockbuster acquisitions. But as Matt Larkin of The Hockey News writes, the team’s philosophy this summer was to inject youth and speed into the lineup and it appears general manager Jeff Gorton has been able to do so without making the kind of splashy moves expected.
- The Colorado Avalanche hired Jared Bednar this week to be the team’s new head coach, filling the void created when Patrick Roy abruptly resigned from his post. Bednar was formerly employed by the Blue Jackets organization and had been the head coach of the team’s AHL affiliate the last two seasons. But as Terry Frei of the Denver Post notes, Bednar was not the only candidate with Columbus ties that the Avalanche considered for their coaching vacancy. Frei points out that current Colorado assistant general manager, Chris MacFarland, formerly held the same position for Columbus. Part of his responsibility with the Blue Jackets was overseeing the team’s minor league organizations which would have put him in direct contact with Bednar. Additionally, the Avalanche interviewed Bob Boughner, who spent a single season as an assistant in Columbus while MacFarland was employed with the club. Scott Arniel, who was head coach in Columbus for a year-and-a-half, and current Blue Jackets assistant Brad Larsen were also both considered to some level for the job.