Islanders players come to Tavares' defense after Schremp's criticism
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New York Islanders players are sticking up for John Tavares after a retired former teammate questioned his leadership.

Several of Tavares' old running mates dismissed Rob Schremp's insinuation that the Toronto Maple Leafs center is a selfish player when they were asked about the comments.

"He was by no means a bad leader or a bad teammate," New York forward Matt Martin told Sportsnet's Eric Francis. "I think he was a good captain, led by example, played hard every night, and really cared about the organization and the team."

"It's silly to me," Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey said. He then added an anecdote about when Tavares lost the 2014-15 scoring title by a single point after asking for his deflection to instead be credited to Hickey on a goal about halfway through the season.

"He’s a good teammate," Hickey continued. "For anyone to say he’s selfish, they’re just misguided. Maybe they’re looking for a headline.”

Jordan Eberle agreed.

"If the team isn’t having success and he is, it’s not his fault. I’ve never seen him be selfish," he said. "(The tweet) was a bit surprising. I was shocked, because I know John and played with him and I think the majority of guys who played with him will say the same thing."

Tavares had individual goals but the team was his top priority, according to Andrew Ladd.

"The way he takes care of himself and all that - he wanted to be the best," he said. "That’s his goal. Everything he did was for the group. Nothing but good things from me as a teammate. He’s got a good rep in this room."

Tavares spent nine seasons with the Islanders, including five as captain. He ranks fifth on the club's all-time points list.

Schremp spent parts of two of those campaigns with Tavares and New York. He was a first-round pick in the 2004 draft, but last played in the NHL in 2010-11 and spent his final seven seasons playing in Europe.

Tavares signed with the Leafs as a free agent last July.

Islanders players come to Tavares' defense after Schremp's criticism
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