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Doug Weight on the Olympics, his job and Jaroslav Halak

Head coach Doug Weight of the New York

Head coach Doug Weight of the New York Islanders looks on in the first period against the New York Rangers at Barclays Center on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017 in Brooklyn, New York. Credit: Jim McIsaac

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Doug Weight is a three-time Olympian and won a silver medal with Team USA in Salt Lake City in 2002. So the Islanders coach has mixed feelings about the NHL taking a pass on participating in South Korea next winter.

“You can see both sides of it,” he said before Tuesday night’s game against the Predators. “Obviously, I was fortunate enough to play in three Olympics [1998, 2002, 2006]. I know what those experiences mean to my life, to my memories of hockey . . . Certainly I was very proud to wear the United States jersey. I get it. I get the disappointment in the players.

“But I see the owners’ [side], with the injuries. We watched J.T. [John Tavares] go down in the [2014] Olympics. These people have huge investments in their hockey clubs, and it’s a tough decision. So you have to stand by the league. But I understand both sides of it.”

What’s next for Weight?

There is no telling yet what will become of Weight’s “interim” coach tag after the season. But the first step in determining whether he is an option to remain on the job is whether he even wants it.

When asked after Monday’s practice if he has thought about that yet, Weight initially said he had not. Then, he admitted the thought has at times crossed his mind, then said he is too focused on the present to worry much about it either way.

“It was a good plot for me: 40 games, half a season,” said Weight, who succeeded Jack Capuano on Jan. 17. He also is the team’s assistant general manager.

“The light’s at the end of the tunnel. We wanted to get back into meaningful games. We’ve done that. We had a little bad stretch but we’re still focused on [Tuesday night]. We’re still relevant. So I haven’t thought too much about it.”

No helping hands

Certainly, the Islanders could have helped their playoff chances by winning more games in recent weeks. But a big part of their problem has been the greater consistency of teams such as the Bruins battling them for a wild-card spot.

“Yeah, obviously when you’re banking on some teams maybe hitting a rough patch it can be a little frustrating,” Josh Bailey said. “But we can’t control that.”

Said Anders Lee, “We didn’t get any help and you can never expect it, but you hope for it.”

Halak in net again

Jaroslav Halak will start his third game in a row in goal for the Islanders. Weight said it was a simple matter of going with a hot hand after Halak had won two in a row.

“That’s the part of the year we’re in,” he said. “We have three [goalies] here. Tommy [Greiss] has obviously been a rock for us. But Jaro’s won the last two and we just want to stick with him. It doesn’t mean that if we win [Tuesday night] that it’s automatic for Thursday night [against the Hurricanes]. I think they’re both going to be needed.”

With Shane Prince bothered by the lingering effects of an ankle sprain, Weight planned to dress seven defensemen and 11 forwards.

About those Preds

The Predators clinched a playoff berth late Sunday night, but they enter Tuesday night’s game — their last at home in the regular season — fighting any temptation to let down in the final three games.

“Obviously we want to be successful with whatever we do,” coach Peter Laviolette said before the game. “We want to continue play a brand of hockey, hopefully that leads to wins, but if it doesn’t, we want to play a brand of hockey where we competed hard and tried to do the right things.”

New York Sports