This is a weekly feature appearing every Thursday on Arbour Day.
So, this week’s installment of WATN will focus on a member of the Islanders still currently involved with the team and organization.
That’s right. Doug Weight.
Now, as we all know, Weight came to the Island in the twilight of his career, in 2008 at the age of 37. Before becoming an Islander, he’d done practically everything else — he was drafted 34th overall by the New York Rangers in 1990 (before I was even born… God), played for the Rangers, Oilers, Hurricanes, Ducks, and Blues, won a Stanley Cup with Carolina in 2006, and amassed 969 points. He established himself as an elite playmaking center, above all else.
He was traded midway through the 2007-08 season from St. Louis to Anaheim, where his play suffered. Then came Long Island. Unfortunately, though he had a “renaissance” of sorts in his first season of 2008-09 (38 points in 53 games and a key component of the Isles’ PP unit), Weight struggled with injuries throughout his three seasons here. His final season, 2010-11, saw him play only 18 games and score nine points as Isles captain. (It’s important to note that despite Weight’s injuries and limited ice time, he was voted captain by his teammates, which was not the case with former captain Bill Guerin, a close friend of Doug’s.)
Weight announced his retirement at the end of the 2010-11 season. He finished his career fifth in scoring among American players with 1,033 points (he scored his 1,000th point on Jan. 2, 2009, an assist, against Phoenix). He’s now behind the Isles’ bench as an assistant coach and special assistant to the GM, and did fairly well in his first season in that capacity.
Watching the bench every now and then during this past season, one could tell Weight still loves the game. He was passionate, often more so than head coach Jack Capuano; at some points I wondered whether or not he would have grabbed someone’s stick, skates and gloves and gone out there himself. Moreover, although the power-play — his specialty — did falter a bit compared to last year (80.51%, down from 83.23%), he knows his hockey regardless. He proved as much during this playoffs, doing analysis during broadcasts on NHL Network and on nhl.com.
In short, Weight is a great addition to any NHL bench. He’s smart, he speaks well, and he’s got a great hockey mind. The Islanders did well by giving him an assistant coaching position (though the “assistant to the GM” part is a little… confusing). Next season, we should see more of Weight’s vim and vigor (particularly when it comes to arguing with the refs — be honest, you enjoyed every bit of that).
Until next time.