John Tavares has been spending plenty of time at home in Toronto working his way back from the knee injury he suffered during the Olympics that ended his season. So he's heard the rumblings about his supposed unhappiness with the Islanders' direction and that, with four years to go on his six-year, $33-million contract, the team's captain is ready to ask out.
"I signed six years because I wanted to be here. There's no part of me that wants to leave," Tavares told Newsday during Monday's breakup day. "I think [the talk] is a product of the team not winning, and the perception around here from other markets is always a lot different from what actually happens. I know we've still got some great things we can accomplish here and my mindset hasn't changed."
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"I'm excited to come back next year and I've always loved being here."
Tavares said he's been cleared to resume skating next week, which is right on the eight-week mark since he suffered a torn MCL in Sochi.
"Obviously,it will start slowly, like with the rest of my rehab," he said. "I don't have any limitations off the ice now, so hopefully I'm that much closer to being back playing."
Injury bug hit Isles hard
The Isles had seven regulars besides Tavares who suffered season-ending injuries, but those ailments don't appear to affect players' offseason plans.
Kyle Okposo (lower body) wouldn't specify his injury but said he would not have been able to play down the stretch if the games mattered. Cal Clutterbuck (upper body) said his injury nagged him nearly all season and that he reinjured the area against the Panthers on April 1, causing him to be shut down.
Michael Grabner suffered a broken nose from an unpenalized elbow by the Caps' Mike Green in the one game he played in the final month but is otherwise fine. Calvin de Haan was in a walking boot Monday but said his high ankle sprain won't prevent him from being 100 percent in September.
Lubomir Visnovsky was more cautious, having missed 58 games with concussions. "Sometimes I feel good, sometimes not too well," he said. "It's a long summer, four, five months, so hopefully I will be OK . . . [Retirement] is not for me yet. Think positive."