As the Isles playoff hopes became more and more of a dream rather than a reality, the team decided to do what's best for one of the most respected leaders in the game. Team Captain Doug Weight will miss the remainder of the season with surgery in his left shoulder to repair a torn labrum and torn rotator cuff. He had been battling the injuries since November.
"If Thursday was my last game I have no regrets," Weight said, as tweeted by Newsday reporter Katie Strang this morning. Doug did miss some time this season due to these injuries, having only played 36 games to muster up 1 goal and 16 assists on the year.
"I couldn't finish a check, take a check, handle the puck," Weight told Strang. With Weight out for the last few games of the season, the team will be missing a valuable leader whom many of the players looked up too.
"Even putting on the jersey was hard for him," Moulson told Strang as she tweeted earlier today. "When you see someone that loves the team and game so much, you will definitely miss him."
Weight has been a first class individual and very respectful athlete every time I saw him after a game or practice, even if he wasn't playing. When I interviewed Tavares not too long ago, he was hanging around the locker room in street clothes since he had off for the morning skate to rest his shoulder. He was providing laughs and good humor, something the team needed having been in the middle of a stretch of seven losses in a row at the time.
For example, Islanders PR Staff Seth Sylvan asked for Doug to do an interview with a reporter from NHL.com. He looked at Seth and said, "Ha, no!" and began to walk in the other direction. It only took him a step or two before he turned around, smiled and patted me on the shoulder before walking over to the reporter and giving him long, well put responses to any of the questions he was asked. He is the type of player who will always provide in depth answers and will answer any questions that reporters throw at him. I have even seen him stick around to answer questions after the cameras were turned off and provide one-on-one time with which ever reporter wanted to ask a bit more. As you can see, he filled the role of a leader off the ice just as well as he did on the ice.
When he wore the jersey he was always vocal, doing everything he could to keep his team motivated and ready for their next shifts. However, it was obvious that his injuries were holding him back. But being a man at his age with a young team just inches away from playoff contention during the season, Doug understood his responsibilities and was going to give everything he could to help this team despite the pain he would endure. It was apparent that Weight carried the captaincy with pride.
It's unfortunate that this may be the end to a long career for him, but he does plan on aggressively recovering from the surgery to hopefully get another season under his belt. That all depends on time though.
With the "C" no longer on any players jersey, I feel this is a good time to let Kyle Okposo get the chance to lead his team with the letter on his sweater. Many believe he will be the team's next captain, why not give him a shot to see how he handles the role in a season where they do not have much to lose?
Tonight the Isles host the Devils and tomorrow the Leafs in back-to-back home games, both of which I will be attending, but this time as a fan. Two wins would be a nice treat for the fans that have been coming out to support them all season long, despite the roller coaster ride of ups an ddowns throughout the year.
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