The New York Islanders announced that John Tavares’ #91 will be retired in a ceremony prior to tonight’s Leafs-Islanders game at Nassau Coliseum.

The move has been long rumoured, but only finalized this morning.  While some Isles fans may be unhappy given Tavares’ decision to leave in free agency last summer, the organization has been emphatic that this is the right move.

“John meant an enormous amount to this team, to the people of Long Island, and to Isles fans everywhere,” general manager Lou Lamoriello said in a prepared statement.  “His nine years were among the greatest in franchise history, and John may be the best player ever to wear the blue and orange.  We are proud to pay tribute to his legacy.”

Islanders players, when reached for comment, were uniformly supportive of the move.  “I learned so much playing with John,” said centre Mat Barzal.  “His professionalism, the way he carries himself, his leadership on and off the ice all taught me a lot about how to play. I know I won’t live up to what he accomplished with this franchise, but hopefully I can contribute all the same.”

“It’s the right thing to do,” said winger (and former Leaf) Matt Martin.  “Everyone who’s played with John knows what he brings, and it was tough seeing our fans behave like whiny exes all year, so maybe this will help them get over it.”

Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 PM tonight on the calendar, though we can expect that to be delayed by the ceremony. The Isles’ save percentage is scheduled to regress at the end of next week.

If you are reading this now, this was our April Fools’ Day joke for 2019. I made the whole thing up. The Isles should totally retire Tavares’ jersey though, it’d be great.