Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Source: Doug Weight to retire
By Mike Hume
Special to ESPNNewYork.com
In a move that comes as little surprise, New York Islanders team captain Doug Weight will announce his retirement at a team news conference Thursday, according to a source familiar with the matter.
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 214th 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.
Mike Hume is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.