What happened to John Tavares? Tavares’ New Approach to Pre-Season

A year ago, Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe delivered the news that their captain, John Tavares, would be sidelined for a minimum of three weeks due to an oblique strain.

Tavares had logged significant playing time in a pre-season game just days before this announcement, shedding light on his approach to the upcoming season.

Fans are wondering what happened to Jon Tavares and waiting for updates on his injury and his return to the game.

This article delves into Tavares’ experience with an injury-influenced pre-season led to a new perspective on training and preparation for the NHL season.

A Lesson in Training and Timing

For Tavares, missing a substantial portion of training camp was an unfamiliar experience. The previous year presented a new data point in his career.

This situation prompted a conversation between Tavares and his head coach, Sheldon Keefe, about potentially altering their approach for the upcoming season.

Tavares recognized the importance of the work put in during the offseason and the need to build rhythm and timing gradually, rather than expecting to be in peak form from day one.

What happened to John Tavares?

John Tavares is back in the season opener after his injury. After his return, he focuses on regular games rather than pre-season. Tavares initial injury timeline suggested that he would miss the first three regular-season games.

What happened to John Tavares
What happened to John Tavares?

However, his dedication to rehabilitation and recovery allowed him to make a surprise return for the season opener.

He started the season with a strong performance, recording two assists against the Montreal Canadiens and maintaining a prolific scoring pace in the first nine games, accumulating four goals and six assists.

Tavares’ Modified Approach

This realization led to a different approach for Tavares in the current season.

While he participated in practices with the main groups, he was deliberately held out of the team’s first two pre-season games.

Instead, he aimed to make his pre-season debut on Wednesday against the Buffalo Sabres, which coincided with the annual Kraft Hockeyville celebration in St. Thomas, Ontario.

Valuable Data Points

Tavares’ decision to skip most of the pre-season games provided him with valuable data points. At 33 years old, he understands the importance of maximizing his performance during the regular season.

This raised a pertinent question: Is it necessary for veteran players like Tavares to play numerous pre-season games when the stakes become significantly higher once the regular season begins?

Tavares’ Competitive Spirit Fuels

Tavares’ competitive spirit fuels his desire to play at a high level, execute with precision, and compete intensely. He recognizes that, as a competitor, there is an inherent drive to perform at one’s best, even in pre-season games.

Tavares emphasized that he does not approach these games casually but instead views them as opportunities to maintain his competitive edge.

Line Composition

Throughout the pre-season, Tavares has been skating on a line alongside Matthew Knies and Sam Lafferty. This combination will be deployed in the upcoming game against the Buffalo Sabres.

While Tavares currently occupies the center position, there is room for potential experimentation as the season progresses, including a shift to the wing if it benefits the team.

Team-Oriented Approach

Tavares’ adaptability and willingness to embrace changes in his role exemplify his team-oriented mindset. Head coach Sheldon Keefe praised Tavares for his commitment to the team’s success.

Keefe emphasized that Tavares is fully on board with the team’s vision and supportive of the scenarios presented by the coaching staff.

John Tavares’ experience with an injury-influenced pre-season last year has reshaped his approach to training and preparation for the NHL season.

His decision to skip most of the pre-season games this year, despite being a competitive player, reflects his understanding of the importance of peak performance during the regular season.

Tavares’ adaptability and team-first mentality make him an asset to the Toronto Maple Leafs as they navigate the challenges and opportunities of the upcoming season.

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