UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) -Doug Weight returned to the Islanders lineup on Wednesday night after a bout with the swine flu forced the New York captain to miss three games.
The 38-year-old center confirmed Wednesday that he was bedridden with the virus after being diagnosed eight days earlier. Weight is at least the fourth NHL player to come down with the H1N1 strain of the virus in the past week.
"I wasn't scared at all. It was the flu as far as I'm concerned," Weight said before the Islanders played the New York Rangers. "The only difference for myself, first and foremost, was I have three kids and a wife that I live with.
"I was fine, but you want to make sure you don't bring it to their schools, to this building, to my teammates and my house."
Weight was deemed to be no longer contagious after five days. He supports the idea of putting hand sanitizers in front of dressing rooms as well as in work places, schools and homes everywhere.
"As of now, the blood is off my hands," Weight said. "They said it's five days and it has been eight. So if anybody gets sick now, it's not me. I took care of myself. My kids are good and my wife is good, so it's all good.
"I stayed in bed and shut my door. ... That was it. You cough in your arm and you wash your hands and you have the soap all around for the kids to wash their hands all day."
The Washington Capitals announced Wednesday that forward Quintin Laing has the swine flu. On Tuesday it was revealed that Edmonton Oilers defenseman Ladislav Smid and Colorado Avalanche goalie Peter Budaj also have the strain of the virus, their teams said.
"I was never worried about it," Weight said. "I think we're a little up in arms about it as a nation.
"Obviously, it is important that we get a grip on it, but I think it's the flu. It knocked me on my butt. I stayed away from guys so I made sure I was not infecting anybody else, and here we are."
Weight was cleared to resume workouts on Sunday and got the go-ahead to return to hockey action on Wednesday morning.
In his first season as Islanders captain, Weight has missed five of New York's 10 games. A groin injury sidelined him for two games. He has no goals and two assists during his limited play with the Islanders, who started the day with a mark of 1-4-5.
"I felt really good coming into camp, and that groin really bugged me," Weight said. "That is better now. I will take some short shifts today, and we have seven (games) in 11 nights so there is no time to feel sorry for myself. I am excited to get back and I'm excited to contribute to some wins.
"I need to step up here and do some leading on the ice. I feel like I can. I feel good on the ice right now, so I've got to make sure I'm pulling my weight."