John Tavares is not looking to escape the woes surrounding the Islanders. Rather, he reaffirmed his commitment to remain with the organization despite the opportunity to test free agency after the 2017-18 season.
“I think for myself, I’ve always shown and talked about my commitment here,’’ said the four-time All-Star, who signed a six-year, $33-million extension in 2011, on Monday at Northwell Health Ice Center. “Wanting to have success here and keep building on some of the good things we’ve done. Obviously, this [low] point’s been disappointing.’’
The Islanders, who have played 38 games, are last in the Eastern Conference. Tavares has only 27 points (11 goals, 16 assists) and has scored two goals in the last 11 games.
“For myself, I know that I have not been to the level that I expect of myself and the standard that I want to be at,’’ he said. “[I] keep trying to improve and get better. I need to be counted on more, to be more of a difference-maker.’’
Jack Capuano has no issues with his captain. “He could have 50 goals in 30 games and want to play better. That’s the type of guy he is,’’ Capuano said. “He wants to win, he wants to perform. He’s got a lot of pride in his game, too. He knows he has to lead the team, so if you just watch the performance he’s had over the last six periods of hockey, even before, he’s been tremendous for us.
“He’s getting a lot of chances, five or six a night, and if he wasn’t getting that, you’d be concerned about his offensive production. But he just goes about his business as a pro and does the right things. As I told him, ‘You just keep playing the right way, it’s going to start happening for you.’ ”
Tavares said he has taken the temperature of the room and believes everyone is on the same page.
“I think a lot of guys in the room on a daily basis are trying to stay positive, keep the focus on the right things,’’ he said. “It obviously can be very frustrating at times with the way things have gone to this point in the season, but it’s important just to keep having a good attitude, keep working hard together, having fun, whether it’s practice, showing up to the rink on game days in the morning and just sticking together, knowing there’s a long way to go.’’
At 26 and in his eighth season with the Islanders, Tavares apparently isn’t going anywhere, saying, “I think I’ve stated enough how much I enjoy being here.’’
Notes & quotes: D Travis Hamonic, who was injured in Saturday night’s game against the Coyotes, did not practice. Capuano said he was to be examined later Monday. “He’s a tough kid,’’ he said. “For him to be getting checked out [by the doctor], it could be something.’’