There are three kinds of New York Islanders Fans. People who see the glass as half full. People who see the glass as half empty. And people who don’t care about volume, and think weight is the issue. Weight is the issue.
Those of us on the outside of the Islanders inner circle never really know what goes on behind the closed doors of a hockey team’s locker room, or even what is said on the bench. So maybe Doug Weight has done a hundred and seventy-three wonderful things for the New York Islanders that I just don’t know about.
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Maybe he turned Thomas Greiss from a career backup, into a starter. Maybe he was the one that taught Thomas Hickey how to score in overtime. However unlikely that might be.
But I only know of three things that Doug Weight has been responsible for as part of an Islander management team. And none of them are good.
Doug Weight runs the power play that has been the worst in the NHL over the past four and a half years. Not just “bad”, which can be a subjective measure. Statistically worst in the NHL.
By all accounts, Doug Weight was the person who convinced Garth Snow that Andrew Ladd was the missing piece, and convinced Ladd that this was where he wanted to play out his career. Ladd may end up showing more than he has thus far. But it doesn’t look good to me.
And it was Doug Weight, according to scuttlebutt at the time, who convinced the rest of the front office that a kid with Nino’s attitude would never make it in the NHL. And no, that didn’t mean that Garth had to listen. Nor did it mean that Garth had to trade him for a fourth line winger. So there’s blame to share. But come on Dougie, get over yourself.
So I challenge you. Specifically, those of you who say, “Thank goodness Cappy is gone. Anything is better.” Is there one single piece of evidence that Doug Weight has had a positive influence on a single player, or aspect of this team’s play?
Do you think his creativity has rubbed off on Strome?
Is that patented Doug Weight feistiness motivating Nelson?
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And if this guy has any answers, why has he been holding them back… for FIVE YEARS? Oh, because he was merely the assistant? Yeah, ok, he was intimidated by the presence and resume of legendary hockey innovator, Jack Capuano.
Speaking of Capuano, I have some thought on his failures as well. Talk all you want about the team Snow constructed, and the failings thereof. But Jason Chimera has eight goals at the halfway mark. Didn’t we all say we’d be thrilled if he got anywhere near 15 this year?
Andrew Ladd scored six goals in the second quarter of the season. Twenty-four would have him right on his normal pace.
Lee and Nelson are on pace for 30 and 18. Bailey for 12.
Ok, I grant you that most of those players have been horrible at hockey for most of the games this season. But they are putting up acceptable old fashioned stats.
If you go back to the most recent off-season, the summer of 2016, there was one thing I heard from fans and bloggers pretty consistently. I even wrote it myself. The key to the season was going to be Ryan Strome.
Strome fell from a 50 point pace the previous year to about 28 last year. And it was his bounce back — a reasonable assumption given his resume — that would make the difference in closing the gap left by Okposo and Neilsen.
Well, he hasn’t. He is right on that 28 point pace again.
The good news is that we were right. Strome was the key. The bad news is that we were right. Strome was the key.
I think the failure of Jack Capuano to develop Ryan Strome, is the reason he sits at home in Rhode Island tonight instead of Brooklyn.
But what if Cappy had someone on the staff he could have leaned on for this task? A guy who had been a productive, all-star center during his NHL playing days? A highly drafted guy who was a hard working creative pivot who made it to the Olympics, and has his name engraved on the Stanley Cup?
A guy like that could have been counted upon to help develop Ryan Strome’s talents and confidence. But the New York Islanders didn’t have that guy. All they have is Doug Weight.
Maybe I am wrong, look his first game in charge was a 3-0 win over the Dallas Stars. It happens all the time. But Doug Weight seems more like part of the problem than part of the solution.