Tuesday, September 4, 2007


After taking the long holiday weekend off from hockey to just enjoy life, family and the great outdoors, I come back to little news going on. No major news was tempting enough to comment on as I scanned the web this morning searching for some tidbit to put my two cents in. Then suddenly I found it. TSN.com ran a story about Oshawa Generals wonder-kid John Tavares and his agent pushing for an early entry into the NHL draft. On the surface I immediately notice a few things wrong with the request. One being that rules are rules and they are in place for a reason. Another being that we have an agent pushing the request and it just reeks of a more personal interest involved than the interest of the kid. Lastly, as good as this kid is, I see absolutely no need to rush him up the ladder when guys like Crosby and Lemieux had to wait. When you dig a little deeper things get a bit murky. Considering that Tavares was fast-tracked into the OHL early, has been playing with older kids and excelling (breaking Gretzky’s records) and misses the draft eligible age by a mere 5 days you start to see how the request gained its steam. Factor in that this kid now has to watch the majority of the guys he’s been playing with get drafted and head to NHL training camps while he waits another 2 years for his chance, one has to wonder if a case for such an exemption is warranted. There are two sides to the development issue in Tavares’ case, one being that he is still very young and another year or two in Major Juniors will only make him that much better when he is eligible, the other being that if he is dominating at this level will his development be held back due to the lack of challenging opposition. The whole situation surrounding this kid makes me think of all of the things that could go wrong if not handled correctly so let’s do a little weighing of the pluses versus the minuses in this case.

Fact: 16 years old, 6’- 0” 183lbs., 2 years of Major Juniors under his belt, 134 points last season for a 2 year total of 211 points.
Plus - size and skill playing against older competition at a higher level and excelling.
Minus – 16 years old
Fact: Having your agent push the issue for an amendment to the rules so you can enter the draft early while tossing about a threat of playing in Europe next year if you don’t get your way.
Plus – none
Minus – Every NHL GM now views this as whining and will factor that in when you do become draft eligible.
Fact: The rule states that players who turn 18 before 9/15/08 are draft eligible, you miss the cut by 5 days.
Plus – 5 days isn’t much when you look at the big picture.
Minus – rules are rules and everyone must follow the rules regardless of the situation.
Fact: The way it stands now, it will be another 2 years before you are draft eligible and are faced with another 2 years in the OHL.
Plus – 2 more years of domination and skill honing will make you that much better when you are drafted.
Minus – your development levels off from lack of a challenge and you risk career ending injuries before you can start a career.

I could go on and on with this and never get to an answer that would satisfy all parties involved so I will just state my personal feelings about it instead. Listen kid, you are very talented, no one will dispute that, but rules are in place to protect you for your own good not to keep you down or to diminish your abilities. Do yourself a favor and stop pushing for this amendment. Suck it up and follow the rules like everyone else before you and everyone after you. For God’s sake don’t let your agent dictated the future for you, he only smells the money that’s in it for him. He will promise you the moon and do and say whatever he can to convince you that it is all for your benefit. The fact remains that you are only 16 and I know that you feel ready for the next jump and I don’t doubt your ability to do so, but take your time, enjoy being 16, enjoy having another 2 years to continue to mature before all of the pressures of a career start weighing on you. You are truly in a unique situation, but don’t let that become your battle cry because that will end up being how you are viewed and judged. Believe me, the press will have a field day with that angle and NHL GM’s will be hesitant to go down that road with you as they have seen it before. Take these next 2 years to show the world that you have maturity beyond your years and better your chances of going #1 overall when your time finally comes. Don’t view these next 2 years as a punishment, rather view it as a challenge and make the most of it. As my grandfather used to always say when I was faced with a challenge growing up: “What doesn’t kill you kid, only serves to make you stronger.”


Anonymous said...

hey its tara, here is the website i was talking about where i made the extra summer cash.......... the website is here

GREGSKY said...

tara - thanks for posting, but this is a hockey blog so please try sticking to the topics, thanks.