The trip to Carolina was a rough one for the Islanders this past weekend. A positive that came from the visit was Doug Weight reuniting with his 2006 Stanley Cup Championship teammates.
The Islanders Assistant Head Coach and Assistant GM isn’t really known as a Hurricane. He was drafted by the Rangers, but spent his formative NHL years in Edmonton playing eight and a half seasons for the Oilers. Weight was traded to the Blues in the summer of 2001 and enjoyed several seasons in St. Louis.
If you talk to him about his career, most of his stories stem from those two teams, where he spent most of his 19-year NHL career. But that doesn’t mean his days in Carolina were uneventful.
This weekend I had a great chance to catch up with Weight about his brief stint with Carolina. He was traded to the Hurricanes in late January of 2006 and went on to play 23 regular season games, and 23 playoff games in a ‘Canes sweater. Weight ended up injuring his shoulder in Game 5 of the Finals against Edmonton and was not able to play in Games 6 or 7.
When Doug spoke about the emotion surrounding the series, I expected him to jump right into hoisting the Cup. That was something he had dreamt of since skating as a young kid in suburban Detroit. But, instead, Doug touched on something else: The mixed feelings he had about facing the Oilers in the Finals.
There were still strong feelings of attachment with the team he grew up playing for. The team that made him a captain in 1999. Edmonton was where he blossomed into one of the best American-born forwards in NHL history. There were still people in the front office and on the roster who Doug was friendly with. So to play against the Oilers with just 41 games in a Carolina jersey was tough.
As a professional athlete, Weight knew he would get past those feelings. He pushed them aside and eventually was caught up in the thrill of the Finals and all that goes along with winning the Cup.
Weight shared a story on our broadcast before the game Saturday, a 6-3 loss to to the Hurricanes, about the struggle just to get the jersey on for Game 7. He was not able to play the final two games of the series, but couldn’t imagine not being on the bench when the final horn sounded.
So Doug spent most of the first period trying to get dressed, while he listened to the sounds of the fans in the arena and watched the red numbers on the clock in the dressing room tick down.
With a few minutes to go in the third, he made his way to the bench and was right there with his teammates for the entire celebration. Weight smiled big when thinking back about trying to hoist that Cup with a bum shoulder.
This weekend was really special for Doug Weight and his family. His wife, Alison, has been by his side for his entire NHL career. She and their three children came down to Raleigh to catch up with the other families from the Stanley Cup team and, of course, to watch Doug lift the Cup … again.
As some of you watched from home, maybe you had the same thoughts I did: Wouldn’t it be fun to watch Doug Weight and the Isles hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup this summer?