Some philosopher, somewhere uttered the deathless observation “Genius will out.”
He — or she — couldn’t have had Doug Weight in mind, but the announcement today that the former National Hockey League star has been promoted from “Interim” to Head Coach is just such an example of a hockey genius finding his level.
You don’t have to be a genius to figure out why the promotion was announced by President and General Manager Garth Snow; the arithmetic says it all.
As for other significant aspects, consider this:
- Weight has been a close friend of John Tavares.
- The captain likes and respects Weight as a coach and as a person.
- Negotiations to sign Tavares to a new, long-term contract figure to begin in the off-season.
- Weight’s new role can only enhance the possibilities of Tavares remaining with the Islanders.
- The announcement by Snow strongly suggests that a Weight-Snow high command will orchestrate the team as it did in the second half of the 2016-17 campaign.
“Doug has earned this opportunity from the tremendous work he has put in over the past five seasons in our front office,” said Snow, “and especially from the time he took over as interim head coach earlier this season.
“His leadership and experiences from both playing and behind the bench are valuable intangibles that not every coach can translate into a winning formula. He’s gained trust and respect from our entire team, making him the best choice to become Head Coach.”
The speed with which the appointment was made following the Islanders final game last weekend indicates that the club will waste little time making other lineup changes as the general staff sees fit.
All signs point to moves that would conclude with a more Weight-oriented model in Brooklyn at the start of next season.
Quotes From Wednesdays Presser:
DOUG ON WHEN HE MADE THE DECISION TO TAKE HEAD COACH JOB: “After our last game I talked to friends and family for two days and also met with all my bosses face-to-face and came away feeling good about it. After that, we had two days of full disclosure and I was honest about my feelings.”
HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH JOHN TAVARES: “I would talk to John throughout the season, and I spoke with him after this decision. I know John well, but when it came to this, I didn’t want to put him in any awkward position.”
POSSIBLE STAFF CHANGES: “There probably will be some and I have to get to work on that now. I want good people with passion and the passion to win, and who are trustworthy.”
WHEN HE GOT THE FEELING HE SHOULD BE HEAD COACH: “For one thing, I have prepared for four years, and I felt good once the players were responding to my changes. As the team got better I felt more confident. As coach, I felt a lot more pressure making decisions but I felt I was gaining momentum.”
PLAYERS’ ATTITUDE: “Teams that I have been on, that have achieved, were close and we have a close group of guys; we have that.”
GARTH SNOW ON WHY HE CHOSE WEIGHT: “Doug has the respect of his players and they know he has had an outstanding playing career. There is a comfort level and respect from the players. I was impressed by how the players competed for him. Doug was my absolute first choice.”
SNOW ON HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH OWNERS: “The relationship is great with the owners and I speak to them several times a week. We have a cooperative effort.”
ABOUT RE-SIGNING JOHN TAVARES: “John has been with us since he was an 18-year-old and is the face of the team. We have the utmost respect for him and will give it (signing him) our best shot.”
SNOW ON ANY REGRETS ABOUT HOW THE THREE GOALTENDER SITUATION WAS HANDLED: “No, not really. We had to pick J.F. Berube because of Jaroslav Halak‘s injury. Because of (a goaltender) injury in Bridgeport, we only had three NHL-ready goaltenders, and we didn’t want Berube picked up on waivers.”
SNOW ON ISLANDERS’ PROSPECTS: Garth named Mathew Barzal, a Center who made the team at camp as a possibility. Also, Defenseman Ryan Pulock, Left Wing Michael Dal Colle, and Defenseman Devon Toews. “We have great prospects and depth.”
SNOW’S REACTION TO CRITICISM: “As a manager, you control what you can control. When a team loses the arrows are flying, but that’s part of the gig, and I get it.”
IN ANSWER TO A SHANNON HOGAN QUESTION: Five years ago, Snow told Doug Weight that he would be a head coach someday.