COLUMBUS, Ohio - A day after he took control of a game at the finish and all but personally delivered two key points for his team, John Tavares was honored for his place as one of the NHL's elite players. He was named to the All-Star Game, which will be held here two weeks from Sunday.
"It comes from the team's success and the hard work that everyone has put in," Tavares said. "Really, I think there are plenty of guys from our group who could be there and I'm actually a little surprised that some other guys didn't get named. But certainly I'm lucky enough to be named, and I'm honored."
There had been some thought that goalie Jaroslav Halak would have been chosen as an acknowledgment for a run that has the Islanders in first place in the Metropolitan Division. But he was not among the list of five goalies led by the hometown Blue Jackets' Sergei Bobrovsky. The others were Jimmy Howard (Red Wings), Roberto Luongo (Panthers), Carey Price (Canadiens) and Pekka Rinne (Predators).
No one was shocked by the inclusion of Tavares, who proved his elite status against the Devils on Friday night when he scored the late tying goal, then stole the puck and seemingly willed it into the net in overtime.
"I think elite players have that drive to them," coach Jack Capuano said. "Let's face it. I say 'elite players' -- every player in this league is elite or they wouldn't be here. But there are special players in this league, and Johnny is one of those guys.
"He wants to lead by example. That's what great players do. They come to the rink every day and they have that vision, they have that focus: 'I'm going to be the best player today.' He's one of those guys who gets out of his comfort zone every day when it comes to practice. It's not about the effort, it's about the second and third effort."