As a child prodigy in Ontario, John Tavares heard the ubiquitous question tossed at all teen scoring machines rising from the Great White North: Will he be the next Wayne Gretzky? The answer, of course, was no, since no one will put up those kinds of numbers again—unless the NHL returns to the defense-optional posture that marked the Gretzky Era. But Long Island has witnessed the next best thing in Tavares, a rare combination of sniper-scorer and gifted passer who doesn’t shy away from the heavy traffic. He may be the most electric athlete in New York, though you likely wouldn’t have noticed, since he makes his home at the Nassau Coliseum. But come 2015, the Islanders will be moving to the Barclays Center, and New York City will finally get the hockey dynamo it deserves.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 16, 2013