Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Isles' Tavares Has Kinds Words for Departed Moulson

Speaking to members of the media on Monday at Nassau Coliseum, Islanders' Captain John Tavares came out with some high praise for his departed friend and linemate Matt Moulson.

Tavares, 23 and in his fifth year with the Islanders, wanted to set the record straight when it comes to the public's perception of how much he impacted Moulson's rise to prominence as an NHL sniper. Many believed that Moulson would not have the success he achieved had he not been placed on Tavares' line on Long Island. Not exactly true. It was a two-way street, said Tavares.

"I don't think Matt's ever gotten the credit he's deserved for the success I've had," Tavares said. "A lot of the things he's done so well … the little things he's done that's helped my game. Living together that first year (2009-10), door-to-door neighbors our second year, how long we've known each other, the impact he made -- him and his family -- how much they helped me off the ice. Words can't really describe how much he was there for me.

"It's part of the game, part of the business and you understand that. It's sad to see him go, but it's what the team felt was best, and we have to move forward, starting [Tuesday night]."

Tavares, like the rest of his club, was shocked by the deal that sent Moulson and two draft picks to Buffalo for two-time 40-goal scorer Thomas Vanek. But now that it's sunken in, he's resolved to move on and roll with the changes.

"I assume if things were going the way we wanted them to, I don't think there'd be too many changes," Tavares told reporters. "Obviously, [it's] a significant one. We know we haven't played our best and we haven't gotten to the level of consistency that we talked about. There's still a lot of hockey left, and it just goes to show that we have to be better. There's no waiting around for it, and our expectations have to be higher than what we're achieving right now." Tavares and Vanek will debut on the same like tonight along with Kyle Okposo as the Islanders renew their rivalry with the New York Rangers.