John Tavares: The best since the great one

Anyone remember what I said about Cindy and AO Before they got into the NHL? Wasn’t a huge fan of either of them. AO I’m a fan of now. Still hate Cindy. He’s better than I expected, still don’t like him. In fact, I’m always skeptical of NHL prospects. But John Tavares is different
Does anyone remember when Scotty Bowman told Steve Yzerman he wasn’t good enough defensively, and he responded by winning the Selke trophy? God, I love Yzerman. This is pretty similar. Tavares has been criticized for all sorts of things, and he’s just used it to get bigger, stronger, more responsible defensively…he takes his criticism very seriously, and handles it very well.

See, the thing about Cindy Crosby at his World Junior championships is that he played second fiddle to Jeff Carter and Patrice Bergeron. If you’ve seen John Tavares this year, you know, it’s his tournament, and it’s his time.

Did anyone else see him effectively make Viktor Hedman, now the number 2 overall pick, his ***** in their game (Canada vs Sweden, December 19th). He physically dominated him, and Hedman was supposed to be drafted because of his strength and physicality. Yeah, right.

But, there are so many contrarians, people constantly try to take shots at John Tavares. He’s lazy, he’s not a leader, wah, wah. I hate the “lazy” tag. Angelo Esposito got cut from three World Junior teams he deserved to play for because someone called him lazy. You can’t prove or disprove laziness. It’s asinine.

Ask anyone on Canada about Alexei Cherepanov when he got drafted, and they’d tell you he was lazy. It disgusted me draft night when former Blue Jackets GM Doug McLean ripped Cherepanov calling him “lazy” all night, most likely due to his own struggles with his own Russian, Nikolai Zherdev. It was the biggest night of Cherepanov’s life and he decided to take shots at him. Since then, we’ve heard nothing but good things from the people who knew him. He was going to be an NHL player, and he’d do whatever it took to get there. It’s tragic that he didn’t, and I’ll never feel any differently than I do now: the world lost the next great NHL superstar when we lost Alexei Cherepanov, his parents lost a good son, and he lost a good future. It’s tragic. Doug McLean has yet to comment on Cherepanov’s passing.

It’s really what any Canadian uses to justify preferring a Canadian to a European. They call him lazy. I’m as anti-European as they come, and I’ll tell you that’s asinine. People throw around certain words like “clutch”, “hard working”, “lazy”, and “choker” when they want to justify the unjustifiable in sports, because you can’t prove or disprove any of it. it’s the most ridiculous asinine thing ever.

Now, watch John Tavares play, and tell me he won’t be great. My friend Scott and I decided we’d sell our souls to the devil to get John Tavares in the blue and white. I kinda have the idea it’s destined to happen. The Leafs are tanking the same year he’s going first. If we come in last and still lose the draft lottery I’ll just have to pray as much as I can that the number one team is dumb enough to take Hedman. Not that Hedman’s a bad player… he’s just no Tavares.

And can you imagine if the Lightning win the lottery again? Stamkos and Tavares together will be like having Sakic AND Yzerman. They’ll be the best combo since Jagr and Lemieux, and they still have Vinny and Marty in town.

And as for his chances of becoming a Toronto Maple Leaf? One can dream.

30 Responses to John Tavares: The best since the great one

  1. leafy says:

    The jury is still out on Crosby.  It's way too early to draw conclusions on his career.

    You say you love Yzerman.  Well then you should know that it took Stevie over 10 years to become a real complete hockey player.  I still remember the reaction of media and fans after the Leafs beat Detroit in '93.  The hockey world was pretty much questioning Yzerman's determination and leadership, and Detroit media largely lobbied that he be traded.  Plus he was left off the '87 Canada Cup team because Keenan felt Yzerman lacked the will to win.

    So if Yzerman took 10 years to become the complete player, what makes you think Crosby needs less time?

  2. leafy says:

    Re Tavares, some will say he's better than Hedman but it's so difficult to predict who's going to fare better at the NHL level.  Even professional scouts often don't know for sure.

    You could be right.  Apparently there isn't anything Tavares can't do.  Skate, shoot, pass, play defense, extremely deadly one-on-one, etc…

    But Hedman is supposed to be a more skilled version of Zdeno Chara, at 6'7" and still growing.  It's a really tough call.

    Most people were too young to remember, but I still vividly remember the 1983 draft when all the newspapers were raving about Brian Lawton…..and he was drafted ahead of Lafontaine and Yzerman!  It's a total crap-shoot.

  3. muckies says:

    I like JT and you can't go wrong in drafting him, and I think he should be ahead of Hedman. But after seeing Hedman play in the WJC in Ottawa, the trust his teammates have in him is so huge it settles the entire team down and gives all the guys even the ones on the bench inspiration.  Hedman does his job so well, all the other guys like the plummers and PK guys have to do theirs, a big time accountability guy that makes  the other 4 guys on the ice better.

    Yzerman vs. Lidstrom = Tavares vs Hedman.  Both players are franchise players. I'd take JT the franchise center ahead of  Hedman,  just because he's Canadian.  Stanley Cup teams always have a franchise Canadian center – except for Detroit, which has a franchise European defenceman. But Yzerman is the greatest Red Wing of the modern Era and Tavares would be like Yzerman in terms of winning and statesmanship, Hedman doesn't have that same aura on the ice that JT does.  Yzerman has more aura on the ice than Lidstrom on the ice, that's why I'd take JT over Hedman. He appears to have more leadership, like Yzerman has over Lidstrom. 
  4. sensnation says:

    Both players are excellent players, both worthy of the number one overall selection. It will come down to what the selecting team needs.

    If Tampa picks first, Hedman is the number one overall pick, if the Islanders or Thrashers pick first, Tavares is the number one pick.

    In my opinion, the Leafs will finish ahead of all three of those teams so they only have the slightest chance of finishing 27th and moving up to first overall. If they get th epick, Tavare is the choice.

    As for my opinion, I believe that Hedman would be more valuable then Tavares.  Bottom line is Yzerman is lucky to be in the top 7 forwards (Gretzky, Lemieux, Richard, Messier, Howe, Dionne, Beliveau)  Whereas Lidstrom is in the top three defenseman (Orr, Harvey)  Not saying that this is how it would turn out necessarily, but ask the Tampa Bay Lightning and Los Angeles Kings what is more valuable, a stud forward or stud defenseman, both will say defenseman.

  5. RealisticNick says:

    Unless the Leafs dismantle I could actually see them making the play-offs (as much as I don't like the idea).  They are hot and cold, but seem to be picking up enough points to stay in the play-off race and out of the Tavares/Hedman race. 

    Tavares is showing his dominance currently, although if I was a team I would take Hedman.  Simply the fact that other than last year when D-men were top heavy in the draft, it is more rare that a player like Hedman comes along.  There is usually a big forward name every year like Stamkos, Crosby, Ovechkin, Kane (I know you will say Johnson (X2) for D-men, bit they are rare).  But how often is there a 6'5" 212+ d-man at 18?  If you could go back to 93' and pick Daigle, Kariya, Arnott or you could take Pronger, which would you take?  On the market D-men are at an all time high right now, especially puck-moving ones that aren't even 6'3".

  6. mojo19 says:

    In 1996 the Red Wings and Senators had a deal in place that would send Yzerman to Ottawa for Yashin straight up. Detroit pulled out last minute. Imagine how much this would have changed the modern history of hockey had that deal gone down.

  7. mojo19 says:

    I'm with you McLeaf. At the time when Crosby was a junior I also thought he was a little overrated and didn't like the guy personally. I'm starting to come around. And also like you, I'm a huge fan of John Tavares.

    Living in St.Catharines, just 5 minutes away from the arena I watched the Generals take on the Ice Dogs in the playoffs last year and I can tell you that in my opinion, Tavares is the best OHL player I've ever seen. He's amazing, I really think he's going to be a superstar.

    As for the best since Gretzky, no. That honour goes to Mario Lemieux and Eric Lindros (who's talent and career didnt reach their full potential because of the injuries).

  8. mojo19 says:

    I'll also throw the great Jagr out there too. Love that guy. And Steve Yzerman would also be classified as 'since Gretzky' so JT has a lot of talent to leap frog here.

    But you are known for your bold statements. Keep up the good work

  9. Kramer says:

    Team Canada beat the Kazaks 15-0 today, which means that Canada needs to find ways to get the offense going.  The Slovakian chicks scored 82 goals on the Bulgarians a few months ago.  15 goals is not enough.  They gotta produce more.

  10. greatlife15 says:

    IF leafs do end up with 1st pick and take Hedman..

    Hedman-Schenn combo for years to come anyone??

  11. RealisticNick says:

    I'm guessing your source on that one was TSN.

  12. KingCanada says:

    Pfffft  Jaromir Jagr is the Wince Carter of hockey.

  13. Kyleton says:

    Dude, you kinda make it seem that you just learned the word asinine today and decided you wanted to write a article just so you could use it repeatedly.

    Now to discuss the actual article.  Every player will be criticized by someone, get over it.  JT gets criticized because he is so skilled and often times does not have to play as hard as he can because he does not need to all the time, which some people see as a lack of determination. It's not so much laziness its more so they see it as a lack of drive.  Now if he did play his hardest all the time he'd be lengths ahead of most of the other players and then people would call him a show boater.  You can never please everyone so arguing this is really pointless.

    Now to Cherpanov. This kid was skilled no one was denying that.  Why many were questioning again was his drive because he did not always play hard, or even practice hard.  Mclean had every right to say what he said about Cherpanov at the draft because its his opinion and assessment of him, which was supported by many scouts, so its his right to say it.  He also does not need to comment on Cherapanov after his death so I don't even know why you hold that against him.

    The leafs are not tanking. They are not doing great, good, or even well, but they are far from tanking.  They will have to trade up to get Tavares if they want him.

    JT's position in the draft will come down to which team has first pick.  Like a few have stated above it comes down to team needs. Both JT and Hedman have the potential to be superstars, and both also could just flop. You never know.

  14. mojo19 says:

    Typical Jagr hater. Jagr has 5 scoring titles (would be 6 if Joe didn't catch him 2006 right at the end, still Jagr put up over 120 pts that year).

    Jagr in terms of talent is in that elite group. And he adjusted his game in the same way Sundin did. When those guys got older they had to rely on brute strength and they became the two best players in the league along the boards, protecting the puck and walking out front or making good passes.

  15. mojo19 says:

    Actually Kramer's right. The score of that womens game was a remarkable 82-0. Almost seems impossible really.

  16. Kyleton says:

    Did you see any of it played? It looked like the timbits hockey.  I think Bulgaria has only 3 arena's in the country and under 40 registered pro female hockey players

  17. leafy says:

    People might read that now and find it strange.  Amazing how hindsight vision is different.

  18. KingCanada says:

    Im well aware of Jagr's elite talent.  Carter at the time was the best dunker in the league as well.  I just heavily dislike both players because of their attitude.  BOTH players when they didnt get what they want started to play badly and it cost the team.

    Carter refused to dunk.

    Jagr refused to put effort in.

    I think it is unnaceptable ESPECIALLY if your already one of the highest paid players in the league.  You swallow your pride, you play your best and you accept your very GENEROUS paycheque.

  19. mojo19 says:

    a Hedman and Schenn combo could be the best since Pronger-Niedermyer '06, Stevens-Niedermyer, or a Pronger-MacInnis calibre combo (this being the only of the 3 combos to not win the cup).

  20. mojo19 says:

    I don't think Jagr was like that. He played through a lot of injuries that people didn't know about. And people took a lot of libraties on him. After the lockout Jagr made it his goal to win the scoring title and put in his heart into every game and he came damn close. I just think he's amazing, and he's so creative. I love him.

    I HEART 68

  21. RealisticNick says:

    I know he is right, I said that because I heard it on TSN during the game.

  22. Kyleton says:

    exactly…lol… Timbits hockey…lol

  23. mojo19 says:

    He posted it on here a long time ago too like right after it happened.

  24. BlueOrangeWhite says:


  25. Kramer says:

    The Leafs should call up Tavares and send someone else down to the Marlies.

  26. blaze says:

    Crosby played in the 05 Juniors as an 18 year old and still put up more goals than 20 year old Patrice Bergeron, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Mike Richards, Nigel Dawes, Anthony Stewart, Andrew Ladd,  and one goal and point less than Jeff Carter, also 20.

    This years edition features a squad without a single 20 year old. Had Crosby played for a team like this he would've easily been the top scorer of the team.
    Imagine if Staal, Toews, Brassard, Stamkos, Turris, Gagner, Sheppard, Matthias, Lucic, or Little was playing on this team. Tavares would fade into the background.

    Hedman isn't being drafted for his physicality, it is well known he doesn't play a physical style at all. Taveres is an amazing prospect no doubt but I will be shocked if he produces at Crosby's level.

  27. tacitus says:

    ya i been a Red Wing fan and Yzerman fan since 1985.. I laughed in the late 80's and early 90's when people said Yzerman wasnt a winner…he put up 155 points playing with Probert and Gallant, somehow Yzerman was expected to do more then that, which is hard to believe considering the only guys to do more then that in one season is Lemieux and Gretz….I never doubted Yzerman….I got his Biography he was almost in the Lindros trade too but Quebec wanted too much

  28. greatlife15 says:

    The thing wrong with your statement is that Hedman even with all his height and weight does NOT play a physical game. Pronger on the other hand does and that’s what makes him super effective around the boards and in the corners. Tavares MAY turn out to be the Next One and even if he doesn’t, he’ll be a solid 70-80 point scorer per year which is more than lot of teams could ask for.

    If you ask me who’ll be the better player 20 years from now Tavares or Stamkos, I’ll have to say Tavares hands down.

    PS: I’d love to see this kid in the Blue and White. I hope it isn’t a pipe dream and Burke makes some moves to make this dream possible.

  29. mojo19 says:

    the 19 in mojo19 is for Stevie Y. Love him

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