MONTREAL - John Tavares' illness caused a stir in the hockey world over the weekend. He missed all the hubbub, though.
"I basically didn't leave my room for two days," Tavares said. "I'm just trying now to get myself back to where I need to be and put a little weight back on."
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Tavares practiced with his Islanders teammates before they traveled up here for tonight's game against the NHL-leading Canadiens, his first full skate with the team since he woke up Saturday morning feeling the full effects of a bug that confined him to that room until Monday.
But the Isles' captain is already planning his next move, which may involve convincing Jack Capuano that he is ready to return after missing the last three games.
"I want to play," he said. "I feel good, I felt pretty good on the ice today and I just want to get back out there."
The Islanders missed their leader and leading scorer, netting only five goals in the three games Tavares missed while going 1-1-1, including Tuesday's 2-1 win over the Devils on Casey Cizikas' goal with 2:12 to play.
Tavares was all set to play those same Devils in Newark on Saturday when he started to feel ill at the hotel in New Jersey on Friday evening.
"By the next day, I couldn't get out of bed," he said. "I was honestly thinking, 'How am I going to get to the rink?' I finally pulled myself together, saw the doctors at the rink and they sent me home.
"I didn't sleep much all weekend and Sunday night was really the peak, when it was the worst. By Monday I finally had an appetite again."
Tavares said he didn't want to see how much weight he'd lost, but he's finally starting to feel like himself. "I'm certainly close to that," he said.
Whether that's enough to get Tavares into tonight's game is still up in the air. But after a few days of wondering what happened to the Isles star, this is still good news.
McDavid musings:Tavares said he felt terrible for Oilers rookie phenom Connor McDavid, who suffered a fractured clavicle and will miss several months of his first NHL season. "He was playing so well, starting to really get in a rhythm and understand the game at this level more and more," Tavares said. "It's going to be a long process, but he's such a good player I think he'll learn a lot just being around his teammates, around practice and in meetings."