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Friday, September 6, 2013
John Tavares ready to wear captain's 'C'

By Scott Burnside

NEW YORK -- Under the heading of "poorly kept secrets," the New York Islanders scheduled a news conference for Monday at which they will announce their next captain.

While that person -- Hart Trophy finalist John Tavares -- would not confirm that he will succeed Mark Streit -- who signed with the Philadelphia Flyers in the offseason as the team captain -- a source told ESPN.com Friday that Tavares will indeed wear the "C" for the Islanders.

Not that there was ever a doubt that it would be the former No. 1 overall draft pick.

Tavares has seen his game grow on an annual basis since coming into the league in 2009. Last season, he redefined himself as one of the game’s top centers, leading the Islanders to a surprise playoff berth and finding himself on the final Hart Trophy ballot with eventual winner Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby.

That he will be tabbed to take on the captaincy was a foregone conclusion once Streit opted to leave the Islanders.

“If it’s me, it’d obviously be a great honor. Pretty special to be a captain across the league but also for an organization like the Islanders that have had so many great captains, great players, a lot of history and tradition. So to be amongst a lot of those names, if it’s me, it would be something pretty special,” Tavares told ESPN.com on Friday during the final day of the league’s annual player media tour.

Tavares, who finished third in the NHL with 28 goals in the lockout-shortened season, said he doesn’t worry that becoming the captain would change his approach to the game.

“I don’t think you try to force anything. I think it just kind of comes with your experience. What you learn in the league. Getting to know Mark Streit so well, becoming really good friends with him, and obviously what Doug Weight’s done for me early in my career, you learn so much from those guys that I think a lot of it just becomes who you are,” Tavares said.

“You don’t try and change who you are. I’ve always been very driven, very focused. I like to think I have the qualities that can represent being a captain of a team. I think it’s something you grow into and you learn and you learn more as you go along and it’s not something you try to force.”