John Tavares
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Former New York Islanders captain John Tavares defended himself against recent allegations in an article published Wednesday in The Players Tribune.

John Tavares knows that you may not care what he has to say. He understands that he might not be able to explain himself out of this situation. But to those willing to listen, Tavares is trying to elucidate what happened in those final hours on Long Island as the New York Islanders captain.

On Tuesday, Tavares wrote a piece on The Players’ Tribune entitled, “To the Islanders Faithful.” In it, he describes how difficult the decision to leave the Isles was, because of how the organization “raised me,” in how they “protected me like I was family — like I was their own kid.”

He spoke about his teammates — “If you take away one thing from my time on Long Island, though, honestly — please let it be this: I came across some of the best teammates in the world.”

He spoke about the future — “The new regime has done amazing things in their hockey careers, and they’ll continue to push the team forward.”

He spoke about the fanbase — “I’ll never forget the times when I came home from the rink, after a big win, and telling Aryne how it felt like the roof was going to blow off the building.”

Perhaps most germane was the section in which he addressed the accusations against him — that he refused to be traded, that he protracted the process, that he screwed the Islanders over.

No matter your opinion on the guy, it’s a good idea to read the article. In his words. From his point-of-view. But if you don’t, here’s a summary of what he says.

Speaking about his decision not to request a trade, or to request not to be traded, Tavares writes about how, in the moment, he was the captain of the team, and took that extremely seriously.

On the accusation that he purposely took a long time to make a decision, he said, “I didn’t … and if you know me, this one’s pretty funny.” On the charge that he had always intended to end up in Toronto, Tavares maintains that that is wrong. He was genuinely torn.

While he was born in Toronto, Tavares says that he grew up on Long Island, and apologizes for things not working out. “But I gave it all I had…” Tavares writes. “I can’t tell you how grateful I am for how you gave me all that you had in return.”

Take these comments with a grain of salt, or not at all, but at least you now have both sides of the story.

Now, on to the future …

Justin Weiss is a staff editor at Elite Sports New York, where he covers the New York Islanders and Brooklyn Cyclones. In 2016, he received a Quill Award for Freelance Journalism. He has written for the Long Island Herald, FanSided and YardBarker.