The moment John Tavares was hit by Latvia defenseman Arturs Kulda at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, the New York Islanders captain knew something was wrong.
"I just felt like there was some movement. Right away, I just didn't feel good," Tavares, who was representing Canada, told reporters at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Tuesday. "But then I got up and skated to the bench and I was like, 'OK, I was able to skate to the bench.' Our therapist then asked me to try just a couple of standing tests and that's when I realized I might be a little unstable and probably need to get checked out."
The initial thought was Tavares would need surgery, but after a visit with the Islanders' medical staff Monday, he learned it would not be required. However, New York's leading scorer (24 goals and 66 points in 59 games) is expected to miss 8-12 weeks with a torn MCL and torn meniscus in his left knee.
With the Islanders 14 points out of a wild-card Stanley Cup Playoff spot with 22 games to go, it's likely Tavares won't play again until October. But because he won't need surgery, he's expecting to be able to train throughout the summer and prepare normally for camp in September.