Timing is Everything
John Tavares, it's pretty clear, has the talent to be a major NHL star.
But he sure needs to work on his sense of timing.
Here we are, smack dab in the middle of what has turned out to be a rather disappointing Super Series between Canadian juniors and Russian juniors - disappointing because its been so one-sided - and Tavares is being quoted across the land, but not about his team or the games.
Talking about himself. His future. His NHL plans.
|John Tavares, right, apparently forgot he's competing for Team Canada at the moment.|
You can bet Brent Sutter is doing a slow burn over this one.
It's strange, too, because Canadian juniors are pretty well schooled these days in the art of saying nothing of any substance at all to the media in the middle of these major international competitions.
Tavares, however, was quoted extensively in a Canadian Press story about how hard it is for him to have to wait until the 2009 NHL entry draft while so many of his Canadian teammates have already been drafted and are looking forward to attending NHL camps.
Tavares, and his agent, Bryan Deasley, have made it abundantly clear they believe Tavares should be eligible for the 2008 draft, if only because his birthdate - Sept. 20, 1990 - makes him ineligible by only five days for the '08 proceedings.
Now, whether Tavares is right or wrong, or whether he should be looking to be evaluated differently than every other junior player on the planet because of his skill level, isn't really the point at this moment.
It's that he should be talking Team Canada first, second and third.
It might even be different if he was ripping this competition up, but he's not. In fact, he's struggling to find his way.
Being publicly quoted as saying, in effect, that you believe you are so much better than every other junior-aged player that special rules should be invented for you and the NHL and NHLPA should immediately seek to amend their collective bargaining agreement just isn't appropriate at this moment. Deasley, in fact, knows just as well as anyone that the NHLPA is in a state of disarray at the moment and has bigger fish to fry than working on special dispensation for Tavares.
If Tavares thinks the rule Sept. 15 eligibility deadline is unfair, he should consult with Alexander Ovechkin, who missed it by only two days but seems to have adapted just fine to the disappointment.
Sure, it can be tough to continue playing and developing at the junior level. And sure, it would be nice to hit the big money a year earlier.
But this is simply the wrong time to be even talking about this issue. Moreover, Eric Lindros is an example of a player who, even if he was fighting the good fight, made himself a target in many ways because he chose to challenge the rules.
Tavares needs to play and play well - maybe help the Oshawa Generals win a championship? - and wait for his turn. It'll come, just like it did for many, many players equally - or even more talented - before him.