Weight wears the ‘C’, but will he be here all season?

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Doug Weight of the New York Islanders skates Doug Weight of the New York Islanders skates in a preseason game against the Edmonton Oilers. (Sept. 16, 2009) Photo Credit: Getty Images

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Arthur Staple Arthur Staple

Staple, with Newsday since 1997, has covered high school sports, hockey and football.

When Doug Weight was named Islanders captain before the season began, he talked about the honor that comes with it.

Is it less of an honor if he lasts less than a season wearing the ‘C’?

For the Islanders, who were 0-2-3 entering last night’s home game against San Jose, things haven’t gone as smoothly as coach Scott Gordon had hoped for. And this Lighthouse thing, well, let’s not even discuss that.

So what happens as the March 3 trade deadline draws closer and Weight, signed only through this season, is the attractive rental for a team hoping he still has something in the tank for a playoff drive?

“I hope this is the last time I have to talk about this,” Weight said before the season opener. “There is an extra responsibility that comes with being captain. Your job is to do everything you can for your teammates, to represent the club with what you do and what you say . . . If the time comes and , then you really have to think about that.”

The Islanders would not be setting some kind of record by trading captains at consecutive trade deadlines. Back in 1994-95, a decade before the salary cap, the Canadiens traded three captains in the space of a year. Guy Carbonneau went to the Blues, Kirk Muller came to the Isles (that one worked out great, huh?) and Mike Keane went to the Avalanche.

Even The Captain, as Mark Messier is known around the league still, left three teams when he was captain — the Oilers, Rangers and Canucks. Never at a deadline, though. “It’s not as if you choose it. You’re chosen,” he said. He’s receiving the Lester Patrick Award for service to U.S. hockey Wednesday, and given that he’s Canadian, that should show you what kind of captain he’s been.

Weight went from the Blues to the Hurricanes at the 2005-06 deadline and won a Stanley Cup with Carolina, so he certainly knows what it can result in. He was injured at last season’s deadline; otherwise, he might have followed Bill Guerin out the door.

For now, Weight’s positive presence outweighs any thoughts of what it might mean to a struggling team to see their captain leave again. Gordon easily could have named Mark Streit captain, given that Streit isn’t going anywhere. “It’s not something you can just become, in my experience. You have to learn about leadership,” Gordon said. “Mark and Kyle have a chance now to watch Dougie and learn what it takes to be a captain so they’re better prepared in the future.”

That future may come sooner rather than later if things keep going this way.
 

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