1:20 pm, Iceworks: Doug Weight suffered a shoulder injury in early November that the Islanders initially estimated would keep him out one week. Soon after, additional tests revealed more damage and he was listed as out 4-6 weeks.
In reality, the captain’s season is at a crossroads. Instead of having surgery that might have shelved him for the season, Weight opted for extensive rehabilitation of the shoulder. The 38-year-old captain is still not at 100%, but seems determined to test out his shoulder and start contributing on the ice to his slumping team.
“I want to give my best to the guys,” Weight said after practicing today on a fifth line with Jeff Tambellini and Tim Jackman. “This has gone on too long. I feel good enough that it was time to put on the pads and see how I can do.
“I want to contribute in any way possible. They can play me whenever and wherever. Maybe I can help the power play. It’s killing me to see the guys struggle and not be able to help other than some support in the room. It’s time to get back in the lineup.”
Weight would not provide specific details about the extent of the damage to his shoulder. He will not play Wednesday against Toronto and is doubtful for Saturday at the Garden. But after he gets in another practice or two, expect him in the Islanders’ lineup.
Make no mistake: what Weight is attempting to accomplish is admirable, maybe even foolish. If he’s successful, the captain may help his Islanders make this season different than last year’s collapse. If he’s not, Weight is likely facing season-ending surgery and the possible end to a terrific career.
Same line combinations and defense pairings for practice today. Rick DiPietro shared two nets with Dwayne Roloson and Martin Biron. DiPietro will have no one to practice with on Christmas Day and with the Islanders playing in the city on Dec. 26. He needs to get to Bridgeport after Christmas.
Of the injured players, Tim Jackman is the closest to a return. Gordon said he would talk to trainer Garrett Timms before declaring Jackman an option for tomorrow’s game.
(Sidenote: on the bright side, the Islanders must be in top condition and getting the hang of the Go-Go skating style. Can’t remember the last time we heard about a groin injury).
For the second day, Sean Bergenheim (rib injury) skated before practice. His return is not imminent. The way the team has looked without him, Sean is achieving Most Valuable Player Status.
Gordon after practice on the urgency of winning a few games: “Every game is important for us. We’re fortunate we’re as close as we are (the playoff positioning) considering our results the last few weeks.” Asked about the difference between this season and 2008-09, the coach said, “At some point, we need to put together a winning streak. I don’t think last year you could say a four-game winning streak was right around the corner. Right now, we still have a lot more work to do, but we could get there.”
The latest illustration of the dangers of relying on kids: at one point in his conversation today with reporters, Gordon said, “We’re still waiting for Kyle (Okposo) to score. I don’t remember the last time John (Tavares) scored five-on-five.”
He was stating facts more than complaining, but the coach’s frustration is understandable. Still, everyone had to know at the start of the season that there would be weeks like this.
Regarding the latest in Islanders fans’ attempts to squeeze rainchecks from the organization after high wnds, ice and 27 inches of snow on Saturday, incredibly the franchise remains not interested in reaching professional standards. The Islanders still refuse to let everyone know its policy for Saturday’s game on the team website.
However, Point Blank continues to hear from readers who are getting exchange tickets for a game in January – only after they sent a complaint email to customer service.
And yes, right on official team message board Islandermania, you can find this wonderful exchange between a ticket-buyer and an Islanders employee:
Fan: “Do you really expect me or any of the 10,000 or so fans who stayed home in a blizzard of two feet and saw that you cancelled the next day’s Open skate to EVER buy another Islanders ticket in advance again”?
Employee: “Honestly? Yes. We’re all Islanders. This is our team. We’re going to let a little snow stand in the way of us showing our support? I say, no way.”
“A little snow”? “We’re all Islanders”? How condescending. My, has this organization lost its way.