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by Thomas LaRocca / Los Angeles Kings
Kings defenseman Mike Weaver might be the first National Hockey League player to ever score his first career goal, twice.

Trailing 2-0 at Tampa Bay on Feb. 6, Weaver, playing in his 123rd game in the NHL, took a pass from Dustin Brown at the point and put a shot on net which beat Lightning net minder Johan Holmqvist at the 1:13 mark of the third period, giving Weaver his first first goal of his NHL career.

He would score again in a similar fashion in that game off assists from Brian Willsie and Anze Kopitar at the 7:41 mark, tying the game at two and eventually forcing overtime.

Any third grader could tell you that would give him two goals in the game andfor his career.

But not so fast.

Forty minutes after the game had ended, Weaver's first goal was reviewed and credited to Derek Armstrong, making his second goal, actually his first goal.

"It is kind of funny the way it happened," Weaver said. "I didn't know if I scored that first one or not, but I knew for sure that if the first one didn't count I would have my first NHL goal with the second.

"Thinking about it, it was nice to at least get one."

A lesson he learned earlier this season, as this was not the first time his first NHL goal was not scored.

Against the Flyers on Nov. 16, Weaver made a centering pass that deflected into the net off Philadelphia rookie defenseman Alexandre Picard. But that goal was nullified by a delayed penalty against Philadelphia.

"It's about time," Weaver said after lighting the lamp against the Lightning. "I am so glad to get my first goal out of the way. I wish we would have had a victory there at the end, but we didn't. I'm just going to enjoy (the goal) for a couple of hours, then forget about it and concentrate on the next game."

That attitude is exactly how Weaver, a 5-9 defenseman, made it to the NHL.

"At every level they told me I am too short and too small," he said. "I looked at it as instead of being put down as being motivation to tell everyone that I can play and I am really happy that I proved to myself that I could make it to the NHL.

"I just focused on using my strengths and proving everyone wrong."

One of his strengths is being a responsible, stay-at-home defenseman. Weaver boasts a plus-52 plus/minus ratingin 224 game since the start of the 2003 season, split between Chicago and Manchester of the AHL and Atlanta and Los Angeles at the NHL level.

"I am [in the NHL] for a reason. I am not here to score goals. I was brought in to be defensive minded and I want to be the goalie's best friend.

"Goals are great but I would rather block a shot. That takes a lot of effort there."

Effort is the name of Weaver's game.

After completing his eligibility at Michigan State in 2000, Weaver signed a two-way contract with the Atlanta Thrashers on June 15 of that year, making his pro debut with the Orlando Bears of the IHL, winning the Turner Cup.

The following year, Weaver started the season with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL, showing enough to get called up by the Thrashers, making his NHL debut on Nov. 27, 2001, at the Montreal Canadiens.

Weaver would spend a 16-game cup of coffee at the NHL level before returning to Chicago and helping the Wolves to the Calder Cup.

The following two seasons were spent between Atlanta and Chicago before signing with the Kings as a free agent on July 16, 2004. After spending the lockout with the Kings' AHL affiliate, the Manchester Monarchs, Weaver played in 56 games with the Kings during the 2005-06 season.

Weaver finished the season without a goal but had nine assists, including the primary assist on Luc Robitaille's franchise-record 551st goal as a King against, ironically enough, the Atlanta Thrashers on Jan. 19, 2006.

"A couple of days before that, I thought it would be awesome to be the guy that made the pass that led to Robitaille's record-breaking goal. I was watching everyone celebrate and I thought man, this is awesome. It was the best assist I have ever had."

That was one of just 19 points (1-18-19) that Weaver has scored during his 123-game NHL career.

"I would rather block a shot than earn a point. I know that in the game of hockey people get recognized more for points while the guy who blocks the shots does not get much recognition. But everyone is there for a reason and to play a role.

"Points are not my thing anyway, so when I do get them, it's just a bonus."
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