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Ex-Oiler captain Doug Weight announces retirement

by Ryan Dittrick / Edmonton Oilers
Doug Weight (Photo courtesy of Getty Images).

Doug Weight’s renowned NHL career began in 1991 when he broke into the league with the New York Rangers. 19 years and 1033 regular season points later, the Warren, Michigan native has decided to hang up his skates and formally announce his retirement.

Weight skated in 1238 career games, including 588 in Edmonton spanning nine seasons from 1993 to 2001.

During that time, #39 produced 124 goals and 577 points, leading the team in scoring in seven seasons and earning the distinction of being the last Oiler to record a 100-point season. In 1995-96, he notched a career-best 104.

Along with his lengthy tenure in Oil Country, Weight played with the New York Rangers, St. Louis Blues, Carolina Hurricanes, Anaheim Ducks and New York Islanders. He ranks 214th all-time in points (sixth-highest among American-born players), was a four-time All-Star, played on three US Olympic teams, and won the Stanley Cup with Carolina in 2006.

While the numbers certainly express an outstanding career, I’ll always remember Weight for his distinct on-ice style, rather than his impressive scoring totals. For those that were unable to appreciate the Oilers’ mid-80s success, Weight could likely be considered the best player to don the copper and blue since the team’s Cup victories.

Weight brought a unique panache to the rink at Skyreach Centre. When I look back and picture his most impressive moments, many began with a pretty play from the half-boards. Stationed there, he would dish the puck with precision and elite vision, allowing his teammates to cash on a clear-cut opportunity.

Don’t forget that lethal snapshot. Sometimes the pass wasn’t available, so he’d have to lean in and beat the netminder one-on-one. Opponents did what they could, but Weight brought too much skill to be denied when he made that dynamic curl to the middle.

His silky-smooth hands were also display with complex dekes and high-speed moves to fool opponents on the rush. With such brimming talent, Weight performed these maneuvers with ease.

He was a superstar, both on the ice and in the community. And although he broke the hearts of Oilers fans everywhere when he hoisted the Cup in 2006, it was an appropriate reminder of the hard work required to earn that special moment. Hobbled shoulder and all, Weight could barely raise the 34.5-pound trophy due to an injury he sustained earlier in the seven-game battle vs. Edmonton. He was a warrior.

His trademark sweater tuck and wide stride are imitated to this day with minor hockey players across Oil Country. It’s but one reminder that his legacy as a dynamic, scoring centre goes well beyond his production in the point column.

Most importantly, he was the reason I fell in love with the Oilers so many years ago. Although Weight will be involved with the NHL for years to come, his playing days helped create lasting memories for fans everywhere.

Here are some of my favourite moments from Doug Weight's career in Edmonton:
  • November 15, 2007 - "The Goal" vs. Calgary
It was Weight’s eighth goal of the 1997-98 season, but no other tally that year would be more impressive than his dynamic showcase during the opening period vs. Calgary on Hockey Night in Canada.

Weight established some speed through the neutral zone before sidestepping a Flames check at the blueline. Calgary’s Jamie Allison misplayed the opportunity, as Weight deked the defenceman and skated in backwards. At the last second, he pulled the puck back to his forehand, tossing a shot past Flames netminder Rick Tabaracci only 31 seconds into the contest.
  • April 29, 1997 - Assist on Marchant’s Winner, Game 7 vs. Dallas
Edmonton was back in the post-season, but was expected to fall easily to the Dallas Stars. The Oilers eventually pushed the series to Game 7, with that matchup escalating to sudden-death overtime following the goaltending heroics of Edmonton’s Curtis Joseph and Dallas’ Andy Moog.

As expected, Weight came through. He skated up ice with purpose, spotting Todd Marchant soaring up the wing. His precision pass connected, sending the speedster in alone, one-on-one with Moog. His quick laser beat the Stars netminder upstairs, sending Edmonton to the second round.

Although Marchant recorded the goal, Weight was a vital component to the play. It shouldn’t be a surprise that the Oilers’ most important goal of the late-90s was orchestrated by #39.
  • April 16, 2000 - Hat-Trick in Game 3 vs. Dallas
Down 2-0 in the series vs. Dallas, Edmonton returned home to Skyreach Centre where Weight took over in Game 3. The captain recorded three goals, propelling Edmonton back into the series with a well-earned 5-2 victory.

The opening goal was simple evidence that Weight could do it all. It was a scramble in the crease with no elaborate skill required to put the Oilers ahead. Weight persisted, eventually hammering the puck home behind Ed Belfour to establish a 1-0 advantage.

His second tally came in the middle period following a series of brilliant saves by the Dallas netminder. The puck eventually bounced back into the slot, where an uncovered Weight stepped into a bullet from the top of the circle. Chris Cuthbert’s call of the play is a wonderfully classic line in Oilers post-season history: "Did you see that save by Belfour? Weight…scores!"

The hat-trick goal was vintage Weight. Stepping in from the point and evading Dallas coverage, he cocked his right leg and snapped a wrist-shot that beat Belfour through the wickets. The marker put Edmonton up 5-1, ultimately sealing victory as hats rained down.

What would you say is your favourite Doug Weight moment?

Author: Ryan Dittrick |
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