If you missed it this weekend, Doug Weight was the subject on the NHL Network's "Day in the Life," where they follow a player on game day, essentially from morning rise to post-game drive home. I've quoted a couple highlights below, which shed a glimpse into his move to the Island, life under coach Scott Gordon, and the difference in the NHL game between now and when he came up with ... some other New York team.
Weight's always a good interview. Longtime pal and frequent teammate Bill Guerin seems to constantly rib him about his willingness to talk (and talk...) to press. No surprise, then, that he was an engaging subject and likely target for this show.
Typical hockey "good guy," too. A tidbit not in the special: When Weight won the Stanley Cup as a four-month "rental" in Carolina, part of his day with the Cup included taking it back to a hospital in St. Louis (where his family still lived) and letting every kid in his son's youth hockey program -- something like 300 kids -- get their picture taken with the chalice.
For something you dreamed about achieving from the crib, to share it with so many strangers who had no natural interest in your team winning it -- that says something. Anyway, on to the highlights:
Doug Weight, on the tedium of morning skates for a 17-year NHL vet:
"I don't know who the heck came up with these morning skates ... they say it was Russia in the '60s, but I don't know ... the guy should be shot."
Doug Weight, on coach Scott Gordon's "overspeed" philosophy -- which, remember, is more about running drills at a high tempo above a player's comfort zone during practice, and not so much about his in-game forechecking system:
"Flash likes to get right into the drills. He calls it 'overspeed,' I call it 'groin pain.'"
Doug Weight, on what this Islanders squad needs to master Gordon's system (this was filmed on the day of the game vs. Dallas, when the Isles were 2-3 on the young season):
"I've been on a lot of teams, seen a lot of systems ... The most important thing for our young team right now is repetition. Just want to beat it into our heads. Hockey's such a fast game, you want everything to be second nature."
[Note: at this point as I'm watching this, Mrs. Lighthouse -- who is grading papers, not really watching this program, and doesn't follow the Isles except by osmosis -- looks up and deadpans: "They've been doing the wrong kind of repetition lately." Ouch. Rough crowd.]
On Nassau Coliseum and new buildings around the league (they didn't touch the Lighthouse Project -- at least not in the final cut):
"Montreal is great, I could play in that building every game. But some of the new buildings, it really takes something away. So it's cool to be play in one of the old ones."
On the extensive use of video, and how the game has changed:
"They can see you all over the ice now. It used to be, 'Oh yeah, right where the video ended, that's my stick right there at the edge of the frame, I was backchecking like crazy.' In reality you were about three lines behind the play.
"Now they have cameras everywhere. It's not about dogging it -- it just wasn't a style back then. It was, you pick your point man up. You throw a check in the corner, you just make sure that guy doesn't beat you back down the ice. It's not so anymore. Now, once you're done forechecking you either change or you go a hundred miles an hour back into your own zone. That's the game. There's no room out there. You see that on a nightly basis."
There was also a great part where Weight and his wife independently are interviewed about the March 1993 day he was traded to Edmonton for Esa Tikkanen. Apparently, the Rangers were playing Edmonton that day, and Weight's wife is walking into the Garden to see the game, when she overhears Rangers fans discussing the breaking news: "Weight for Tikkanen!" She ended up asking fans to clarify -- "Did you say Doug Weight?" -- and that's how she learned her beau would be on the other side of the ice that night ... as well as that he'd be moving to Edmonton.