I’m not going to sit here and pretend I’m all over NHL free agency like I am with the NBA. We all know that you’re either a hockey guy or basketball guy in the winter and I’m firmly on the basketball side. But let me say this: you give me fans burning jerseys – no matter the sport – and I’ll be all over it. I love a good fan grudge.
Listen, I do know a little hockey and I definitely know about John Tavares. He was the #1 pick back in 2009 by the Islanders and has been living and dying with that franchise ever since. Last night, he officially became a free agent after choosing not to sign an 8-year deal with the Isles.
Fans took that as a sign that he’s outta there and the rumors around the NHL have connected him to the Leafs. So Islander fans wasted no time breaking out their matches to torch their #91 jerseys.
From what I can tell, this is very similar to LeBron leaving Cleveland in 2010. This is a guy they drafted #1, he grew up playing for the team, became a superstar, and now looks like he’s leaving. Anytime we have a situation like that, we’ll always have the lunatics to bust out the fire. But keep in mind, although it’s unlikely, he could still theoretically resign if he wanted to. He hasn’t officially left yet.