DETROIT — Myriad questions will confront the Islanders after this season thuds to its conclusion Saturday night against the Red Wings, the team’s first visit to Little Caesars Arena.
One of them, presumably, will be the fate of Doug Weight, the former Islanders captain who grew up in the Detroit area and is completing his first full season as an NHL coach.
“I’ve got to do more,” Weight said after Thursday night’s 2-1 win over the Rangers in the Islanders’ home finale. “I feel for the fans and the players in that room. I want to go back to work with my head held high, but I’ve got to be better, and we’re going to start working on that as soon as Sunday rolls around.”
The Isles (34-37-10) got off to a 16-8-2 start and can finish the season with their first three-game winning streak since Jan. 7-15. Still, they are 5-12-4 since Feb. 19, will miss the playoffs for the second straight season and will finish in one of the bottom two spots in the eight-team Metropolitan Division.
Weight took over for the fired Jack Capuano on Jan. 17, 2017, on an interim basis and the Islanders finished 24-12-4, missing the playoffs by one point.
There’s no doubt that he still is growing into his role behind the bench. “We’ve got to be better,” Weight said. “Since I’ve been doing this, the coach probably gets a little too much credit. But the blame, there’s a million excuses you can have. I don’t believe they should be used. I think it wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t good enough.”
The list of offseason issues for the Islanders includes whether captain John Tavares, an impending unrestricted free agent, will re-sign with the franchise that selected him first overall in 2009 and whether general manager Garth Snow, on the job since July 18, 2006, will be allowed more time to try to right the club. The Islanders have made the playoffs four times under his leadership and won only one round, in 2016.
Snow and Weight are scheduled to meet the media, possibly on Monday, after conducting exit meetings with the players. Weight sounded optimistic on Thursday night that he will be back with the Islanders.
“We worked, as a staff, and I worked hard,” he said. “I have to be better. I feel very confident that we will be as a team and I will be. We’re a skilled team and we’re a good team. We should be a playoff team. Failure rips your heart out. I have a lot of passion for the game and I want this organization to do well and I want to help them succeed.
“We have to pound it into them and find a way to be more consistent. We don’t belong where we are right now.”
Notes & quotes: Defenseman David Quenneville, a seventh-round pick in 2016, agreed to a three-year, entry-level deal after four seasons with Medicine Hat (Western Hockey League) . . . Defenseman Yannick Rathgeb, an undrafted free agent who has played the last three seasons in the Swiss-A league, agreed to a two-year, two-way deal.