New York Islanders coach Doug Weight knows exactly what to say to get this fan base all hot and bothered. His latest statement has him saying he’ll play rookies over vets if they deserve it. Music. Pure music to all of our ears.
If there was one thing that encapsulates former New York Islanders coach Jack Capuano’s regime, it was his reliance on veterans. Rookies would be made to sit and wait for their chances in favor of vets, some of which had no right to be playing as much as they did.
Veterans are great to have, but when they stifle the chances of your talent rookie core there’s a problem. And good ol’ Jack was a master at it.
How many rookie careers did he stall to have players like Brian Strait play a ton of minutes every night?
Nino Niederreiter’s name comes to mind. The former fifth overall pick in the 2010 NHL draft requested a trade from the Islanders on account of his usage under Jack Capuano. And now he’s scoring 57 points in Minnesota.
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The same can be said for Ryan Strome. Sure he had that 50 point season back in 2014-15 but he could never bounce back. Much has been documented on the rocky relationship both Strome and Capuano had.
And then when both Barzal and Beauvillier were making their starts last season they were restricted to just a handful of minutes under Capuano. The guy just didn’t have faith in rookies to get the job done.
The Weight Difference
And then we get a nice little tidbit from Brian Compton over Twitter about how current New York Islanders coach differs greatly on the subject of rookie opportunities.
That’s exactly what we want to hear. It still leaves the door open for Weight to play veterans over rookies. But it shows us all a head coach with an open mind. A head coach that will play a player based on merit rather than one based on experience.
Because as we can all agree, if a roster decision comes to either Ho-Sang or Nikolai Kulemin (for example). My and I assume your vote is always going to be Josh Ho-Sang. Irrespective of who else is already on the roster.
It’s an incredibly small statement to make, but it makes the world of a difference to a fan base that is practically all members of the Bald Brother/Sisterhood thanks to the former head coaches roster selections and deployment decisions. Doug Weight knows what we’ve gone through and is at least seemingly ready to address those concerns.