2:45 pm – John Tavares jumped on the ice, put down his left foot, and then his right just like everyone else. He skated as 1-of-20 in Group 1 from 11:00 am until noon at Islanders Prospect Minicamp today.
Besides his obvious skill, the only eye-opener of the one-hour drills session was when he accidentally high-sticked fellow 2009 first round pick Calvin de Haan across the nose and near the eye. (Said de Haan, “My first thought was, ‘Oh crap, this isn’t good.” He’s fine). In line drills, Tavares centered Matt Martin and Rhett Rakhshani.
The first overall pick faced a media scrum for 5 minutes at 1:45 pm that included John Liu of TSN, cameras from News 12 and SNY, Post writer Dan Martin and Newsday journalists Arthur Staple and Greg Logan. A pretty good crowd for a Friday hockey practice in July.
Tavares looked good. de Haan had this insight when asked about his former Oshawa teammate’s skating. “He’s not the worst skater, believe me,” said de Haan. “He makes up for it with everything else. You know, with players like that, they’re (critics) always going to find something to pick on.”
Later, de Haan added, “John makes you a better player. He pushes you at practice to make you better. He’s a great teammate.”
Scott Gordon said he didn’t pay any extra attention to Tavares on the ice at his first Islanders workout. “Right now, he just wants to fit in and be one of the guys,” said the head coach. “This is a great opportunity for him to get a feel for things before training camp.”
Liu of TSN told Tavares that his jerseys and T-shirts were out-selling those of his future teammates at the shop in Iceworks. The 18-year old phenom looked a bit embarrassed, then said he was thankful for all the support in Islanders Country. “It makes me feel a little more comfortable, a little more at home,” said Tavares.
Comments. Non-John stories later today and all weekend.