The sun is the same in a relative way, but you're older...
Periodically throughout his 19-year career (19 years! Where'd the time go?), I would think of the moment I first became aware of Doug Weight: It was in a trading card shop, back in the days when collecting hockey cards was still fun, when there was an explosion of brands beyond Topps/OPC and it hadn't yet become the blatant "investment" it was about to become. This was pre-WWW, when your information about NHL players came from the local paper, game night programs, The Hockey News and Hockey Digest -- and Stan Fischler's byline seemed to appear in all four.
The trading card pricing publication Beckett had caught wind of hockey, and I remember thumbing through it at a shop to see what cards from that year were "hot." Usually that meant instead of a "commons" card being worth 29 cents, it was worth over a dollar or so. There were certain "commons" cards that were worth more than your average Berube -- not 29 cents and not two dollars, but maybe 80 or even 90 cents. (My memory could be botching the values here, but you get the idea.)
Anyway, there were two upcoming Rangers rookies I'd never heard of, Tony Amonte and Doug Weight, whose cards were valued at about 90 cents instead of your common 29. I scoffed at the sight of their unhockey-like names and their supposed value. "Sure, overhyped Rangers. Whatever," I remember thinking.
Back then trading cards were actually great sources for information to supplement the publications mentioned above -- before their soul was pillaged as a business investment. It was when packs still came with chewing gum, you could still buy a pack for 50 cents, and the all-gloss, all-the-time fad hadn't yet hit the hobby.
Nowadays I can Google Weight's stats in a millisecond. I can find out the top 200 17-year-olds on their way to the NHL in a minute, so that no Weight or Amonte can take me by surprise. Not to go Garrison Keiller on you, but it was a simpler time in that regard. In that way, I miss it -- but it's more than compensated by the literally thousands of Islanders fans I can interact with in a blink of an eye.
Sorry. That's a meandering tangent. But Weight's career spanned two-thirds of my hockey-conscious life, so that and the
Black Bush Chivas has me reflecting on those days when Weight had a fine mullet and no permanent 5 o'clock shadow.
Islanders Links: Doug Weight Lovefest
Doug Weight is that type I suspect you'd want to run through a wall for:
Since I was two-years-old, all I wanted to do was skate and to this day, my love for the game burns just as much inside of me. I’ll miss my teammates a lot. I’ll miss the locker room, the excitement of setting up a teammate for a big goal, the competitiveness of a faceoff, pregame butterflies, a playoff road win, looking around a tense room prior to a game seven and seeing the focus, commitment and sacrifice in a teammate’s eyes and knowing that we could not and would not let each other down. All of that, I will miss dearly.
That's hockey, baby.
I'd venture Weight borders on that Hall of Fame category, and if it ever comes to that he might gain by having advocates in multiple cities. Here are some of the perspectives on his retirement:
- Local angle: Post (Cyrgalis) | Times (Klein) | Newsday | Eyes on Isles blog
Islanders Official site (which went hog-wild on Weight puns): The fans who won the drawing to be there for the announcement | Some of the one-liners from the day | Official rendition of things | His teammates reflect on his influence | Weight's wife Allison rocks, too. | Tons more videos from teammates and Bill Guerin and Weight's father and such
- Team USA Generation angle: Puck Daddy (Leahy) | nhl.com (Brian Compton) | USA Today (Allen) | Slideshow at USA Today
- Edmonton: They got to see his best hockey there | He may have been the finest post-dynasty (dynasty interruptus, that is) Oiler | Only five Oilers had more points with the club (all '80s guys) | Tribute via video clips
- St. Louis: As I've said, Weight was nothing but a fondly remembered fantastic ambassador there. Some guys have departed the Blues and I curse it forever (Scott Stevens). And some guys end up with the Isles, and it's golden. (Mike Sillinger was another. The other direction had Pierre Turgeon, mostly.)
- Carolina: I'm sure it will shock you to hear they loved him in his short time there, too.
Weight, on the dynamic of having a hand in management and behind the bench:
"Just the five games last season I stood on the bench helped me immensely," Weight said. "It’s going to be an easy transition for me. I’ll be at every game and will feed off their energy. I am not worried about the dynamic at all. To assist Garth and learn from Garth, his focus and drive and work ethic is incredible."
From Elliotte Friedman at CBC:
4) Lasting image of Doug Weight, who will retire Thursday: when Ryan Smyth was traded to the Islanders, his first game was against Weight's Blues. Weight waited for his former Edmonton teammate after that game, grabbing him in the hallway. You could tell Smyth was still in shock. Weight spent 20 minutes saying everything would be ok.
I remember that game so well, for multiple reasons. Alright, where's my tissue...
Weight Retrospective Video (Reposted from Yesterday)
Areener Stuff and Other Stuff
- Save the Isles with thoughts on the rally and a reminder about the vote Tuesday.
- SNY Point Blank: Democrat Wayne Wink, with wa twon of twalk on twings.
- The Hockey Writers on why Okposo's contract is another good sign.
- Would you believe, Buffalo's areener is already getting renovations?
- These are the new RFA compensation levels, which could mean an offer sheet or two is possible this summer.
- Interesting scout's take on a number of 2011 prospects, including Dougie Hamilton (pro) and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (con).
Memorial Cup: Owen Sound, which knocked off Mississauga and Casey Cizikas for the OHL title, fell last night to Kootenay, who knocked off Portland and Nino Niederreiter for the WHL title. So Kootenay face Mississauga tonight for a berth in the final.
Oh, and Game 7 tonight for Dwayne Roloson and the gang. Enjoy...