UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) -Islanders captain Doug Weight, the fourth NHL player known to have swine flu, returned to New York's lineup on Wednesday night after a bout with the illness forced him to miss three games.
The 38-year-old center confirmed Wednesday that he was bedridden with the virus after being diagnosed eight days earlier. At least three other players are currently dealing with the H1N1 strain of the virus.
"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."
The Washington Capitals announced Wednesday that forward Quintin Laing has the swine flu, and on Tuesday it was revealed that Edmonton defenseman Ladislav Smid and Colorado goalie Peter Budaj also have the strain of the virus, their teams said.
"The league has provided clubs with all the relevant information, and with recommendations for proactive prevention and management steps," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in an e-mail. "Clubs have been advised to provide the league with frequent updates to allow us to continue to monitor the situation on a league-wide basis.
"None of the information that has become public recently has warranted or caused a different approach to the situation than we have taken to date."
Weight was cleared to resume workouts on Sunday and got the go-ahead to return to hockey action on Wednesday morning.
"I wasn't scared at all. It was the flu as far as I'm concerned," he 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 - which the Capitals have done - 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."
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."