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NHL’s Worst Nightmare Realized: Star Player John Tavares Hurt During Winter Olympics

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Canada's John Tavares receives medical assistance during the Men's Ice Hockey Quarterfinals on February 19, 2014. (ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)

Canada’s John Tavares receives medical assistance during the Men’s Ice Hockey Quarterfinals on February 19, 2014. (ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)

WBZFM_Bio_Toucher_Rich Toucher and Rich
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BOSTON (CBS) – New York Islanders star John Tavares is done for the NHL season after tearing his medial collateral ligament and meniscus in his left knee during Team Canada’s Winter Olympic win over Latvia in quarterfinal play.

At 22-30 and possessing one of the worst records in the NHL, the Isles lone bright spot is their forward and captain John Tavares, who will likely need surgery and require a long rehabilitation.

It might not mean as much to folks here in Boston, but the people in New York are livid.

Islanders GM Garth Snow had this to say to Newsday:

“Are the IIHF or IOC going to reimburse our season-ticket holders now? It’s a joke. They want all the benefits from NHL players playing in the Olympics and don’t want to pay when our best player gets hurt.

This is probably the biggest reason why NHL players shouldn’t be in the Olympics, it should just be amateurs. And it could have happened to anyone; it just happened to be us that lost our best player. A lot of people pay to see John play. It wouldn’t matter if we were 10 points clear of a playoff spot or 10 points out. We lost our best player and he wasn’t even [injured while] playing for us.”

Up until this point commissioner Gary Bettman has been noncommittal for his players participating in the 2018 games in South Korea, but risk for injury and the stoppage of NHL games during the Olympic break could be enough reason for Bettman to shut the practice down entirely.

“During the next few months they’re going to have a decision about whether to go to Korea or not. I don’t expect that they will go,” said Ryan Johnston on Friday morning.

“I just don’t see the value in those games. They will literally be on in the middle of the night eastern time, so people aren’t going to be able to see them. It’s a few more hours difference than Sochi, so that’s even further away. You have the potential of a gold medal game starting at 3 o’clock in the morning. It’s not going to create a buzz around the sport and I don’t think the NHL players would be terribly upset to not go to Korea.”

Johnston cited the Tavares injury, but also pointed to the injuries of Mats Zuccarello and others as a negotiating point for the NHL to prevent its players for participating in the 2018 Olympics.

“If I’m an NHL general manager or owner I’m telling the players, ‘I know you want to play for your country, but we’re paying you millions of dollars and your job is with us. We’re trying to win a Stanley Cup,’” said Johnston.

Mike Flynn was also hosting Friday morning alongside Ryan Johnston, and he flipped the script and presented a more local scenario.

“If you’re a fan of the Islanders how pissed off are you? What if Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara went down? The Bruins have a team that compete and losing those two guys would totally change your season,” said Flynn.

Despite the risk, Flynn acknowledged that it’s good for hockey and the NHL should continue to allow it.

Listen below for the full discussion and vote in our poll below:

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