The very first live professional hockey game I ever seen was between the Edmonton Oilers and the Los Angeles Kings. The year was 1994 and Wayne Gretzky was a King. Edmonton was leading the game 4-2 with 10 minutes in the third period. I believe it was Louie Debrusk had just been kicked out of the game following a fight/scrum.
In the next 4 minutes the Kings came back, tied and took the lead. The Oilers, try as they might, could not take it back. I was devastated, this was another year in a series of years that Oilers would push and push but just miss that 8th spot, the game itself was in March, meaning this was one fewer game the Oilers had to catch that last spot.
The game, leading up to the 4-2 score, was magnificent. The player that stood out to me, in that game, and too this day is my very favorite... Is Doug Weight.
Anyone who has ever read a post of mine, or even my previous blog, is aware of how ferociously Canadian I am, and also aware of the pride I carry for many of the Canadians that currently play the game of Hockey. So it may come as a shock that my favorite player is not Canadian, and more shockingly American. Here's why;
Statistically he was the last Edmonton Oiler to score over a hundred points in a season (104 pts*25g79a* 95-96). Not many more than the greatest of great can make this claim. Upside vs Downside; in his prime there we 2 out of 5 seasons he played less than 77 regular season games, was a great team player, most of his points coming from assists. While he did not play without spending time in the "sin bin" he consistently kept his PIM less 60 min a season for a better part of his career. On top of all this, I've never heard a player mention he did not enjoy his time on the same team as Doug Weight nor a coach speak ill of number 39.
Doug Weight was pure class, this year when St. Louis was visiting Edmonton, it was Doug Weight's 1000th career game, the team honored him at center ice pre-game, and the crowd was electric, off the hook even. it had been 5 years since he played here, but off those 1000 I believe he played 588 here. He did a lot for the game in this city, and as well him and Mrs. Weight did some great work for the cities various charities.
It didn't sting one bit.. Scratch that, it didn't sting too much to see him Hoist the Cup in 05-06 with the Hurricanes, no one could dispute he deserved it. He is a terrific player, who leads by example, his comments are always positive and he tends to take much of the responsibilty for his teams performance.
Honestly very few highlight reel moments come to mind when I consider my favorite player. One such play that comes to mind is a "only has to work once kinda play" when Dougie was behind the net, and he flicked it almost straight up, over the net and to Bill Geurin who slid it past the goaltender unawares. To me Doug Weight opitomizes hockey both with class and on ice vision and skill. This is why he is my favorite,
Who is yours?