John Tavares #91 of the New York Islanders skates against...

John Tavares #91 of the New York Islanders skates against the Tampa Bay Lightning. (Oct. 13, 2011) Credit: Jim McIsaac

Islanders head coach Jack Capuano on John Tavares, who is tied for the lead league in goals (5) and points (8) after four games:

“I think the biggest thing is, once you mature as a player, you understand puck protection. When he does have the puck on his stick more, he’s knows that he’s dangerous. Maybe early on in his career, with that first check coming in, time and space is limited, and you try to do things that you probably can’t do until you get that experience. The experience has given him the opportunity to control the puck a lot more with his strength.

“I wouldn’t say [he is] calmer, but his decision-making is very disciplined now, the way he handles the puck and the way he uses his body to protect the puck. His skating has improved a great deal. He’s gotten himself in the shape he needs to play the minutes that we need him to play.”

Tavares on Tavares’ job description: “As a centerman, you’re really counted on in all areas of the ice. You’re expected to be around the puck a whole lot, which I love. I love being around the puck. I like having the puck to make plays, like to work down low, more and more I’m trying to use my speed to work through the neutral zone, create some rushes and opportunities that way.”

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