A Letter to John Tavares: “Get What You Can, ‘Cause Johnny T, You’re The Man!”

John Tavares
TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 27: John Tavares #91 of the New York Islanders addresses the media during Media Day for the 2018 NHL All-Star at the Grand Hyatt Hotel on January 27, 2018 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Dear Mr. John Tavares,

My name is Christian Holmes and I am a Humber College student turned Last Word On Hockey editor and Grandstand Central “hype master”. One of these days, my hope is to be one of those insiders that can call your agent Patty B and ask him where in the hell is Johnny T going? Those days are far away, but I still do have something to offer now.

The Big Question

What is that you may ask?

I offer you advice!

Maybe it’s not as good as Patty B’s, but hey, it’s free. (Besides, why go outside and cut the grass on a humid 39 degrees Celcius day, when I can instead write to you. That’s, of course, if you actually read this before watching a Steve Dangle video or looking up The Leafs Nation on Google. That’s to not say that they’re bad, but simply put, they’re not me. Maybe that was a tad bit too cocky? Just like the time, I said I could handle hot sauce on my pizza without complaining but in fact, I could not. I should get back on track here. I know you’re busy. Heard you were flying to YYZ tonight?)

Why in the hell should this “Christian Holmes guy” be writing to me, John Tavares?

In my 19-year life in this beautiful place we call “Earth” or “Mother Earth”, I have held very close ties to the “best game on ice” – hockey. I have written about how hockey has affected my life various times. I guess it’s so interesting that a publishing company called Simon & Schuster wanted to include it in their upcoming book, Everyday Hockey Heroes: Inspiring Stories On and Off the Ice.

Some say I am a spiritual guy. Mind you, I’m no James Van Praagh. I can’t reconnect you with your chances of winning a Stanley Cup in the Island. That being said, I can share some of my wisdom, and that is what I’m giving you today. Consider it a “gift of knowledge”.

The advice?

Mr. Tavares, you are one of the best free agents to potentially hit the NHL market in quite some time. Yeah, Steven Stamkos once hit the market, but I think we all knew he wasn’t going anywhere. Why would he leave a potential contender? It’s silly. Stamkos wanted to cash in with the Lightning. Maybe that’s exactly what you’re looking to do? I don’t know you personally, so I can’t say for sure, but I wouldn’t blame you for trying to put the fear of God into Lou.

I understand why New York has a special place in your heart. They drafted you, gave you your first NHL contract, and more importantly, they gave you a place to play. It’s easy to give your blind loyalty to a team like that. I’d probably be the same way. It is sentimental and leaving a place that gave you some good memories is hard. It’s almost like the idea of breaking up with a significant other and hearing your favourite song playing on the radio. It’s bittersweet. The memory of something that once was; a tough pill to swallow. It’s hard to hold a candle in the cold November rain (or in our case, the hot summer days. It’s probably pretty hot. I wouldn’t want to hold it #ThanksCaptinObvious).

That being said, this might be the time to push aside those sentimental feelings and do what’s best for you and your family. Even if that means some sort of a breakup with Islanders. You’ve had a nice run with them so far. Maybe it continues or maybe it doesn’t. That’s up to you. You’re loyal, from what I’ve read and heard, and it’s an admirable trait.

Loyalty is overrated

Honestly, John, loyalty is overrated. You can give your whole life to someone or something. One day it can mean something. The next day, not so much. I think we, as a human race, all know this to be true in some way, shape or form.

Yeah, you’ll have one or two people whom you pledge allegiance to. Usually, it’s a parent or a spouse. I’d be willing to bet it’s your mom and your dad. Fiancee? After that, all bets are off.

My great uncle once said, “When you get to lovin’, it’s always easy to get your clothes off. Your partner will usually help you. But once they off, no one will help you get them back on. Moral of the story: no one helps you after you’re, for lack of a better word, fucked.” The same can be said for sports.

There are no loyalties in sports – from players and/or owners

The media loves to idolize players who are loyal to their team. Shane Doan, the Sedin brothers, and Martin Brodeur come to mind when I think of loyal franchise players. Great players in their prime. Awesome teammates. Three of the four are future Hall of Famers and the other is a recent Hall of Fame inductee.

In the later years of their careers, it seems as if their loyalty to their team did not reward them down the road. Doan was run out of town by the Arizona Coyotes. Brodeur, it felt like the same thing happened. Although the situation was different (minus the Sedin brothers).

Point in case, once your old and broken, the past doesn’t matter. If you have value, they’ll trade you out of town. If you don’t, they won’t offer you a contract. They loved you once, but when the times comes, you’re nothing but another number in the system. I’m not trying to be harsh. To me, a middle-class gentleman like myself, I understand the reality that I’ll always be a number in the system. That’s why I always do what’s best for myself. John, you should do the same.

If Lou’s offering you a hometown discount and a team, one that may even be better, offers you something better – take it. Make the most of your opportunities, because they do not come all the time. Like Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t think.” So take the shot, because you’re a shooter and you shoot! Plus, your peers at the NHLPA would appreciate you signing a nice contract. Helps out the others a bit. #StickingItToTheEstablishment

I know it’s not all about money for you. You want to win a Cup. Who doesn’t? Don’t hesitate! Go where you think you can win. You do you.

Look at all the options

I think you’ve done your fair share of research. YOU READ A 77-PAGE BOOK! That’s impressive! You know what’s there. Go be with your family and talk things over. There’s so much that goes with a potential move like this. I understand that your partner has worked very hard to get an education and would be conflicted with certain moves. So it’s good to talk things over and see where her head is at.

Don’t rush to conclusions

It’s easy to look at things and go, “Holy lock ness monster balls, that’s a lot!” I’m sure your agent has been talking to you and getting you to think about the long- and short-term effects over your potential decision. If you act without thinking, sometimes you’ll regret it. Kind of like I did today when I could move my living room table and without thinking, I decided to lift the table up at the one end and the table legs popped off from the base. Now I have to use my drill and drill the legs back into the base. Honestly, if Jim Ross was there, he would have been like, “BAW GAWD. With God as my witness, he just broke the table in half!” Point of the story, think before you act or else you’ll get IT.


I hoped this reached you well. If you read this, thank you. You’re a bro’s bro.

I wish you good fortune and luck with your big decision. You’ve earned it!

Get what you can, ’cause Johnny T, you are THE man!




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