John Tavares suffers torn MCL

Updated: February 20, 2014, 11:53 AM ET
By Katie Strang | ESPNNewYork.com

John Tavares suffered tears to the MCL and meniscus in his left knee during Canada's quarterfinal win Wednesday at the Sochi Olympics and will miss the remainder of the NHL season, the New York Islanders announced Thursday.

Tavares was hit hard into the boards by Latvia's Arturs Kulda during the second period of Canada's 2-1 victory and did not return to the game.

"That's tough," Canadian teammate Jeff Carter said. "He was a big part of our team and obviously, you don't want to see anybody get hurt no matter who they are playing for. He was a great guy in the room."

The Islanders' playoff hopes were all but destroyed with a poor stretch heading into the Olympic break, and any hope remaining had to be extinguished with Thursday's news.

"John Tavares has an MCL and meniscus tear in his left knee," team spokesman Kimber Auerbach wrote in an email Thursday. "He will remain with Team Canada for the remainder of Olympics and return home after for further evaluation."

General manager Garth Snow is now expected to move pending unrestricted free agents Thomas Vanek and Andrew MacDonald before the league's March 5 trade deadline, according to a source.

[+] EnlargeJohn Tavares
ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty ImagesJohn Tavares, injured Wednesday in Canada's win against Latvia, will miss the rest of the NHL season.

Just four days and two games are left for the Canadians in the Olympic tournament. They face the U.S. in the semifinals Friday.

The 23-year-old Tavares is the NHL's third-leading scorer with 66 points in 59 games. He hadn't had significant injury problems in his five seasons, playing in 350 of a possible 354 games with New York.

Tavares is the latest player from the league to get injured in Russia, perhaps giving NHL owners another reason to want to keep their players home and playing with them during the 2018 Olympics.

The Florida Panthers sent just two players to Sochi, and both got banged up. Aleksander Barkov is expected to be out for about a month with a knee injury he got while playing for Finland. Tomas Kopecky is out indefinitely after getting elbowed in the head in a game for Slovakia.

Mats Zuccarello of the New York Rangers had a hand injury that ruled him out of Norway's finale against Russia.

Detroit Red Wings and Swedish captain Henrik Zetterberg aggravated a preexisting back injury, which the Olympic team said was a herniated disk, after his Sochi Games opener and is out indefinitely.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Katie Strang covers the NHL for ESPN.com. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
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