It now appears that John Tavares is staring at more than lost games at the Sochi Olympics men’s hockey tournament.
Various media outlets are reporting the Canadian centre, who plays for the New York Islanders, will also miss the NHL team’s final 22 regular-season games after suffering damage to the medial collateral ligament and meniscus in his left knee.
In the second period of Canada’s 2-1 quarter-final win over Latvia on Wednesday, Tavares was checked by Arturs Kulda, pinning the Canadian player’s leg against the boards.
Tavares left the bench and didn’t return to the game as Canada gained a berth in Friday’s semifinals versus the United States (noon ET).
While Tavares might need surgery, he will first have a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam. A source told The Canadian Press that the initial test on Tavares’s knee “does not look good.”
"You feel for him as a friend, as a teammate and, quite honestly, as a Canadian," Islanders defenceman Travis Hamonic told Newsday in New York. "Johnny is one of the best players our country has and he was relied upon a lot for that team.
"He's given a lot of himself for Canada in a lot of tournaments. It's just terrible."
Tavares is third in NHL scoring this season with 66 points on 24 goals and 42 assists in 59 contests. He didn't have a point in Canada's first four games in Sochi to go with a plus-3 rating.
The Islanders sit last in the Metropolitan Division with a 22-30-8 record and12 points out of a playoff spot.
The team will allow Tavares to stay in Sochi for the remainder of Canada's tournament to allow him to participate in a medal ceremony.
Colorado Avalanche centre Matt Duchene, who sat out Wednesday's contest against Latvia, will take Tavares's spot in the Canadian lineup, likely centring the fourth line between Patrick Sharp and Rick Nash.
New York resumes its season Feb. 27 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.