Now an Islander, NHL veteran Doug Weight spent nearly a decade in an Oilers jersey and playing under the Canadian spotlight. Weight, who just tallied his thousandth point last season with the Isles is all smiles to be back in Canada.
The Sheaf: Stepping into a rebuilding Islanders line-up that’s comprised of a lot of young faces, how does it feel stepping into a veteran role for New York?
Doug Weight: It’s going great. Yeah, I feel comfortable here. We got a lot of good kids and they keep me young, let’s put it that way. It’s fun to be around. Every camp is the same when you have a young team or an old team. We’re after the same thing. We want to have a great start and a successful season. But for now, I’m enjoying hanging out with these guys.
Sheaf: You’ve spent the majority of your career performing in front of Canadian fans. Is it nice to be back?
Weight: It’s always great to come here. The crowds and the atmosphere of hockey, it’s all over the television, so it’s fun to see that atmosphere and be a part of it.
Sheaf: You established yourself as a solid NHL player during your time in Edmonton. Do you miss regularly playing in Canada and more importantly, in Edmonton?
Weight: Of course. That’s something I’d love everybody be able to do. All players should all be able to play in Canada for a year. I got eight and a half and there were great fans, great teammates and I learned a lot from the organization. It’s always special to go back to the room and hang out in the building and still be a part of it.
Sheaf: I understand you and John Taveres have a good relationship. With the pressure the young forward is likely feeling after being drafted so high he’ll have a lot on is plate this upcoming NHL season. Are you a mentor to John in any way?
Weight: Before and after the draft I had spoken to (Tavares). Right now we’re hanging out and getting to know each other. There’s not too much being a mentor, it’s just that I’m hanging out with him and getting to know him and I want him to be comfortable. John’s a good kid, he’s a great player and he’s got a great future. Any way I can help him progress faster and be more comfortable as a teammate I want to be there for him. But most importantly, we’re going to be peers. Again, I want John to be comfortable in his skin and be himself in the locker-room and I think that’s when he’s going to play his best. I’m looking forward to watching him as well as playing with him.
Sheaf: You got a chance to play your old Alberta nemesis Theo Fleury last night in a pre-season game in Calgary. Given Fleury’s shaky history in the NHL, what was it like seeing him back in action?
Weight: It was funny seeing him back out there. We had a lot of battles when it was Edmonton-Calgary. First and foremost, it’s great to see a guy that’s been through a lot in his life and has come back and is doing well. And getting another chance to come out and play? It was fun to watch him.
photo Steve Hiscock