When the New York Islanders fired Jack Capuano back in January they didn’t have many options for an immediate replacement. Management opted to go with the youngest member of the coaching staff and the man with the most NHL playing experience.
Although it was certainly slim pickings for an interim head coach I for one certainly was not pleased that Doug Weight was handed the promotion. I felt during his time as an assistant coach for the New York Islanders he hadn’t done enough to be rewarded the title of interim head coach.
Weight was in charge of a power play that sat 26th in the league and has failed year after year to show any significant signs of improvement.
Despite my lack of faith in Coach Weight, he immediately made his presence known and felt like the leader this team had been missing. Fans had seen glimpses of Weight’s fire from behind the bench, but now as the head honcho, he gave 100% to the job.
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Most notably I remember Weight launching a water bottle onto the ice and losing his patience no more than five years ago, after a late-game penalty against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Weight’s passion has had an immediate effect on the Islanders who were all of a sudden back from the dead.
The Isles started the Weight era 6-0-1 and found themselves back into the playoff race. The team finally found a pulse and was playing hungry.
Ryan Strome and Andrew Ladd were putting up big numbers and Anthony Beauvillier was finally seeing the ice time he deserved. It seemed like Weight had the magic touch and the fans could not have been happier.
Weight certainly has not been shy to let his players have it. The thing I will remember most from the short-lived Weight era (if this is the end) will be the Islanders February 25th game against the Blue Jackets. Down 7-0, the team was just going through the motions, playing out the final minutes.
Down 7-0, the team was just going through the motions, playing out the final minutes. Weight used his timeout, gathered the troops by the bench and gave them a piece of his mind. Weight expected a certain type of effort from his hockey team night in and night out.
Weight has been a hit with the media. He never uses the same lines and sayings that Capuano would dish out on a daily basis. He refuses to call players out by name but isn’t shy about talking about the team’s play as a whole.
His interview mid-game against the Rangers is an all time classic. He gives the fans what they want to hear and for most of the time, it was the fact that the effort and result were just not acceptable.
Weight is a smart hockey man and it was easy to see that. He was behind his team and they knew it. He gives the refs more than an ear full on multiple occasions and from a fan perspective, that’s just downright awesome. At the end of the day, it just felt like he understood.
New York Islanders
Hitting Midnight Early
After writing these first few paragraphs, I love the guy again. It’s easy to think how fun he has been as the team’s head coach. They could have easily folded in the towel and cruised to the finish line but Weight wouldn’t let them do that.
Unfortunately for the first time head coach, the clock hit midnight earlier than he would have liked.
The Islanders now sit six points out of a playoff spot with six games to go. Barring a miracle the season will end after 82 games.
Since coming back from the circus road trip, the team has gone back to sloppy defense, no offensive authority, and mediocre goaltending. Just when I was starting to believe Weight could actually be the man for the job I felt reminded that the Islanders still lack a veteran man behind the bench.
Although Weight has a more noticeable fire than Capuano did, the play is resorting back to its old ways. The magic of having a new coach is over and they are back to playing the way they have all season.
This article gave him the praise he deserves, but I don’t feel he is the man to take this team to the next level. When he got the job it was a long shot he would be retained.
But as the wins were rolling in it began to feel like more of a reality. That in no way means he won’t find another job as a head coach at some point in his career if that’s the route he chooses.
Weight got dealt a bad hand between injuries and scheduling even if he’d be the first one to tell you that’s no excuse. He knows his own mistakes and hasn’t been afraid to admit it when he is wrong.
Weight has done a tremendous job but the Islanders still need to go out a find themselves a veteran coach in the offseason. If Garth Snow is still kicking the tires this summer, he and the owners need to work together to get this team back on the right track.
Management will certainly have plenty of options to choose from Gerard Gallant to Michel Therrien and whoever else might be on their radar. The Islanders will have plenty to think about, as they possibly will be looking for its new leader.