New York Hockey: Doug Weight

Weight to announce retirement, what's next

May, 24, 2011
In a move that comes as little surprise, New York Islanders team captain Doug Weight will announce his retirement at a team press conference Thursday at 11 a.m.

The team has been tight-lipped on the nature of the announcement, but it is likely that the 40-year-old center will also be assuming a position within the Islanders organization. The details of that role remain unknown.

After spending much of this past season on the sidelines -- he played in just 18 games before sustaining an injury that resulted in nerve damage in his back -- Weight took on a tutoring role for the Islanders' up-and-coming players. In April, several days after telling the media he was leaning towards retirement, the veteran center took up an informal position behind the bench offering advice to his teammates.

"Really, I'm just trying to be positive reinforcement to the guys," Weight told the Islanders' team site at the time. "I get along well with them, but I'm also just trying to get a little experience back there to see what it is like. I'm not reading too much into it, the coaches are just letting me be a part of the game while we finish up the year. I've enjoyed it."

It would not be a shock to see the Islanders make that position a more permanent one on Thursday, particularly given the role Weight has played in the development of the team's franchise player, John Tavares. Not only did Weight help tutor the former No. 1 overall pick on the ice, but he sheltered him off of it, letting Tavares live with his family during the rookie's first season in the NHL. This season, Tavares lived on his own.

The pending announcement will signal the end of a career that began in 1990 when he was selected 34th overall by New York Rangers. He broke in on Broadway in 1991, the first of six stops during Weight's 19 seasons and 1,238 games in the NHL. The Warren, Michigan-native recorded 278 goals and 755 assists for 1,033 points during that time, ranking him 214 in NHL history. It's also the sixth-highest career point total by an American skater. He was a four-time all-star and a Stanley Cup winner with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006.

Coach Doug Weight?

December, 1, 2010
The Islanders sure picked a good time to get off their 14-game winless streak, what with this nearly week-long respite they’ve been enjoying before battling the Rangers Thursday. And they’ve been making use of the time to improve a power play that has gone eight games without a goal.

The Islanders’ team site tells of an interesting tutor in that area, as captain Doug Weight took a turn as a player-coach, drawing up plays and issuing instructions at practice Tuesday while still recovering from injury.

Given how much players respect Weight and his lengthy experience around the game, it feels like he’d be a perfect fit behind the bench when his playing days are done. And given the Islanders’ coaching situation, you can’t help but wonder if Weight may be inadvertently auditioning for a gig next season. There’s nothing to that beyond my opinion, but hey, on a team that made the back-up goalie the GM, anything can happen.

Here’s the rest of the view from the Isles’ media.

Morning Links

Isles look to stop skid

November, 9, 2010
Seven games and counting. That’s where the losing streak stands for the Islanders as they prepare to take on the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday, the start of a three-game California road trip.

Simply put, the Isles have been outplayed in just about every facet of the game during the skid. Their D has been exploited. Their goalies have been porous. And they’re averaging just 1.71 goals per game over this sad span.

In practice Monday, Doug Weight offered some encouragement, by recounting some of the losing streaks he endured with the 1993-94 Edmonton Oilers to One of which included an 0-13-1 stretch.

In order to get off the slide though, the Islanders have to do more than talk. Here’s a look around the media landscape on Tuesday morning.

Morning Links
  • Jon Lane of The Examiner recounts the weekend loss to Philadelphia and looks ahead to the West Coast.
  • Chris Botta writes (via Newsday) that Garth Snow believes his club will get out of it. Also in line change news, Josh Bailey is moving back to center.
  • Hey, did someone say line combinations? Lighthouse Hockey breaks down the productivity of each of the Isles’ line combos. One very dubious number from the intro to that piece: The Islanders currently own a .40 goals for/goals against mark at even strength. That’s easily worst in the NHL and a figure that absolutely must improve for the Islanders to halt their skid.
  • And here’s a reminder that brighter days lay ahead, as Hockey’s Future writes that the Islanders prospect charts exhibit depth at every position.

Tavares, Weight won't live together

September, 21, 2010
Not exactly an earth-shattering headline, I know, but John Tavares will live on his own this season after spending the last living with mentor Doug Weight and his family.

The Weight's house for this season won’t have space for Tavares, who just celebrated his 20th birthday, so the young center is out on his own. The Toronto Sun has a deeper examination, including a look into the culinary skills of chef Tavares.

Morning Links

Tavares: 'Pros and Cons' to long-term deals

September, 15, 2010
Following the fallout from the Ilya Kovalchuk signing, long-term contracts have become a hot topic heading into the 2010-11 season. That's particularly true concerning players like Islanders C John Tavares, who will hit his first year of restricted free agency following the 2011-12 campaign -- the same time the league's collective bargaining agreement is set to expire.

With the NHL and NHLPA having already altered the current CBA, the Isles may want to lock up the former No. 1 pick and future franchise center with a career-length contract before any more restrictions are added. But if they did, would Tavares even be open to accepting one?

In a one-on-one interview this morning, Tavares supplied his view on that matter.

"There’s always pros and cons to it. You’d love to be in one place your whole career and you’d love to not have to worry about your contract coming to an end or talking to the media about it," Tavares said when asked if he could see himself signing a 15-year-plus deal with the Islanders. "But as we’ve seen with Kovalchuk’s contract, sometimes with these long-term deals there can be issues. Still, I think when you have that security and can be in one place for your whole career and not have to worry and just focus on playing, I think that can be beneficial for some guys."

Take it as you will, I'm sure we'll hear plenty on the subject over the next two seasons.

In the meantime, here's what Tavares had to say about Kovalchuk's courtship by the Islanders and ensuing deal with the Devils, as well as a few notes on the past and coming season:

Did you follow the summer drama with Kovalchuk’s contract?

"Yeah, everyone was wondering what was going to happen. I was hearing what was going on with us and thinking he could come here for a bit, but now he’s going to be in our division and be a weapon for the Devils. As for that contract itself, obviously it was sorted out and it’s probably something that will be sorted out more in the next labor talks."

Given what the Devils had to go through to get him, would you have liked to have him on the Islanders?

"[GM] Garth [Snow] said he was always inquiring and I think he thought we would improve with the team we’ve got going. So, he felt it was best to stay away and I think that’s going to allow a lot of our young guys to grow. You know, [Kovalchuk] is kind of at that point where he’s in his prime and we’re still a little young. Obviously he would be a good addition, but at the same time, you don’t want to mess up the chemistry we already have."

What was the hardest thing about last season for you?

"Just getting acclimated to everything on and off the ice. It’s a lot at first. I was lucky that Doug Weight was able to help me quite a bit. That took a load off so I could just focus on playing. That helped me to some early success."

How happy are you that the Islanders re-signed him?

"I was pumped. He’s been huge for me, a big mentor, also a great friend. I’m pretty close with him and his family, who have welcomed me with open arms. I think everyone likes him, our core guys benefit from his experiences and he’s still a great hockey player."

Around the middle of last season you had a bit of a scoring slide. Were you getting tired or how do you look back on that stretch?

"I think it was a combination of things. For a week or two I was trying to just get over the hump mentally, but after I thought I was playing some really good hockey. Some of those weeks when pucks weren’t going in I thought I was playing well and making things happen. It’s one of those things; you just have to tough it out. I really learned a lot about myself and how I could contribute in other ways. It was a good test for me and I think it will benefit me in the future."

What do the Islanders need to do this season to take that next step?

"In our division, we haven’t done so well the last couple of years. Last year, we were in the playoff race pretty late, which shows we were a competitive team. We were really close, but I know we didn’t have enough success in our division [Ed. note: 7-15-2 against the Atlantic in 2009-10], especially on the road with some teams [Ed. note: combined 0-9 against the Devils, Flyers and Penguins], and that’s tough when everyone in your division is trying to get in [the playoffs]. I think if we can finish .500 or better that will give us a great shot at the playoffs."

The Morning Links (Kovalchuk free!)

September, 1, 2010
If you didn’t already know, today’s a (the?) big day for the Devils in their quest to retain Ilya Kovalchuk. I’ll have a separate post on that matter shortly, but for those fans whose interests lie outside of Prudential Center, here are the morning links.

  • Blueshirt Banter looks at former Ranger No. 16 Mark Pavelich in its Blueshirts By The Numbers series.
  • Rangers fans already on the Henrik Lundqvist bandwagon can now get on the bus as well. And this one’s not even metaphorical. Here’s the recap from yesterday’s Gray Line launch.
  • The Daily News adds some more color to Lundqvist's day on the bus via Jesse Spector’s Blueshirts Blog.
  • Length is the holdup in the Marc Staal contract talks, says Adam Rotter of SNY’s Rangers blog. A third year would eclipse Staal’s first year as an unrestricted free agent, which would be good for the Rangers, but less so for Staal.

Islanders gain Weight

August, 31, 2010
Doug Weight (finally) finalized his one-year contract extension today, signing on for another go with the Isles after an injury-plagued 2009-10 campaign.

Staring down his 40th birthday this coming January, Weight’s production has declined since his all-star days, but the vet’s value will likely be derived from his leadership and ability to share his experience with the Isles’ young roster.

Don't expect Weight to be content merely riding herd on the team’s young players, however.
“I’m not a teacher,” Weight told in a February article. “I think it’s all about being who you are. Sure, I’m going to take more time with the young guys since that’s part of my job, but I’m here to play. When I get off the ice, I want to make sure the coach is looking at my number and wants me right back out there.”

Shoulder problems shortened Weight’s season to just 36 games last year, in which he posted a goal and 16 assists. A year earlier he played 53 games for the Islanders, but produced at a .7 ppg clip. Safe bet the Islanders would take that figure again, but doubtful they're expecting it.