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Despite shoulder problem, Islanders' Weight tries to spark teammates

Playing with an injured shoulder, Islanders captain Doug

Playing with an injured shoulder, Islanders captain Doug Weight is without a goal this season. (Feb. 7, 2010) Photo Credit: Christopher Pasatieri

An iconic image from the Carolina Hurricanes' 2006 Stanley Cup championship was Doug Weight hoisting the 34 1/2-pound trophy over his head despite nursing a separated shoulder.

Less than four years later, the 39-year-old Islanders captain is displaying similar resolve, trying to lead a team on the brink while battling a shoulder injury.

"We need to bring a spark from within right now. We've got to find it. This is the time you need your older players to lead the way a little bit, and I certainly haven't done that," Weight said. "I would like to spark the team, get some offense going and take some pressure off these guys."

Weight, who elected not to have surgery this season so he could play, has absorbed much of that pressure himself.

The gritty veteran, who has yet to score a goal this season, has been playing through his shoulder problem in his desire to provide leadership to a team teetering between playoff potential and the depths of the Eastern Conference. The Islanders have lost seven in a row and are seven points out of a playoff spot entering tonight's game against the Nashville Predators.

"I want them to know you don't know how many opportunities you're going to have playoff races," Weight said. "Last year, not being in it wasn't fun. It's lifeless, it's a gross feeling, it is. And we're slipping. We've got to make seven out of eight points. We need to make a run before this [Olympic] break so we can go into the break, enjoy ourselves and relax, but come back with that fire in our eyes.

Coach Scott Gordon praised Weight's heart and toughness.

"He is banged up and, to his credit, he wants to play," Gordon said. "If anything, it should be an inspiration for our team."

"It's definitely harder than it's ever been, but it was something I chose to do," Weight said. "There are no excuses."

Weight said though the injury has taken away some of his strength and his confidence in making contact, he believes he still can contributer.

"I've still got a lot to give," Weight said. "I have to try and lead by example but more so, I want to try and get results."

Notes & quotes: Forwards Matt Martin and Jesse Joensuu were called up from Bridgeport Monday and are expected to play against Nashville.

New York Sports