NATION PROFILE: DOUG WEIGHT

Lowetide
March 22 2013 07:13AM

The Oilers post-1990 have been long on promise and short on delivery. The career of Doug Weight as an Oiler shines like a diamond to this day. He was a valued member of the team from the day he arrived, and the years that have passed since he left Edmonton cannot distance our memory of his brilliance and skills. Doug Weight is a true Oiler legend.

NOT YOUR ORDINARY SKILL PLAYER 

Doug Weight was not a big player, but he was gritty and could handle himself. Later in his career Weight would show courage and a temper (remember his reaction to the filthy hit by Marchment?) against all comers, and that willingness to respond to challenges earned him space on the ice and room to maneuver.

ARRIVAL

Doug Weight arrived during the period when Glen Sather was unloading legends. The period of transition saw Oiler fans say goodbye to Hall of Famers and impact players, and hello to the future. This NYT story sets the scene for the Weight deal:

  • Esa Tikkanen did not have to move his skates and his sticks very far. Neither did Doug Weight. A few hours before the Rangers played the Edmonton Oilers last night, Rangers President and General Manager Neil Smith announced that he had traded Weight, a 22-year-old center, to the Oilers for Tikkanen, a gritty player with four Stanley Cup victories to his credit. Weight moved his things, and a heavy heart, to the visitors' dressing room at Madison Square Garden. Tikkanen brought his belongings and an ever-present grin to the home hallway, where he chatted cheerily with his new teammates while working on his sticks. Once the game started, though, neither Tikkanen nor Weight made the difference. This one was about Bill Ranford, who had the greatest goaltending performance the Rangers have seen from an opponent this year. Ranford stopped an amazing 56 shots. He stuffed Mike Gartner on a breakaway in the closing seconds of regulation in a tie game. And he almost singlehandedly stole what once appeared to be a sure Rangers victory, handcuffing New York down the stretch as his teammates rebounded for a 4-3 triumph in overtime. Craig MacTavish scored 32 seconds into the extra period to give Edmonton the victory. An Important Victory

Former Oilers PR man Bryn Griffiths tells the story about Weight being dealt so quickly, he didn't have a chance to talk to his wife. They made eye contact while he stood on the ice for the anthem as an Oiler, and she stood in the stands with the Rangers wives: she scanned the Ranger starters, then the Ranger bench for signs of #39. Toward the end of the anthem their eyes met, and that's how Mrs. Weight found out about the trade!

OILERS CAREER

Doug Weight had an enormous range of skills. Elite passer--his saucer passes were golden--expert puck handler, accurate shooter, creative, tough, gritty--Weight was a rare "complete" player for the Oilers during the period in club history (1991-2000) when the draft betrayed them and Sather had to look elsewhere for impact players.

During the period Weight played in Edmonton, there was no question about the #1 line. Weight--often with Ryan Smyth and Bill Guerin--had tremendous pressure to perform offensively every night. And he delivered. In 558 regular season games with the Oilers, Doug Weight scored 157 goals and 420 assists--over 1 point per game.

LEADER

In a fine article by Terry Jones in the spring of 2011, Weight looked back on his career and some of his highlights:

  • "It was my second year of being captain. We were struggling maybe five points out of a playoff spot. I held a 10 minute meeting on the ice. I was never the type of leader that was comfortable calling people out and I'm still not. I really challenged about seven or eight guys and I ended by really challenging myself. I'm proud of that moment, looking back, because we had 10 straight wins or something like that. We tied a record with the Oilers of the early 80s and making the playoffs. It was an amazing stretch for me to be a part of, to be a leader. I feel pretty proud about that. As an individual you never talk about those things and I've never actually talked about that with anybody until now."

MEMORABLE MOMENTS

  • 1 Stanley Cup (2006)
  • King Clancy Memorial Trophy (2011)
  • All Star Game: 1996, 1998, 2001, 2003
  • Olympic Silver Medal (2002, USA)

LEGACY

A crafty, offensive forward, Doug Weight has received numerous accolades for his grit and leadership. After a solid beginning with the New York Rangers, his career blossomed in Edmonton, where he became a key component in the resurgence of that club's fortunes.

In 1992-93, Weight was enjoying a more productive season, but the Rangers were fading in the standings. In an attempt to shake up the team, the promising Weight was dealt to Edmonton in return for veteran Esa Tikkanen. In 1993-94 Tikkanen helped the Rangers win the Stanley Cup, but Weight pleased the Oilers' officials by scoring 74 points and becoming an enthusiastic leader on an improving team.

By 1995-96, Weight was a top offensive performer and recorded his first 100-point season. He and captain Kelly Buchberger were key reasons behind the Oilers' return to the playoffs in 1996-97. They upset the heavily favored Dallas Stars in the first round before bowing to the Colorado Avalanche in five games in the conference semifinals.

The next year Weight scored 70 points in 78 games and was part of the United States contingent at the 1998 Nagano Olympics. The Oilers got revenge on Colorado and knocked the Avs out in the opening round of the playoffs before Dallas gained retribution of its own in five games over Edmonton in the next round. By this time, Weight was entrenched as a crowd favorite in Edmonton because he played hard and he came to the rink every night to give his all.

Early in the 1998-99 season, the gritty forward suffered a serious knee injury that limited him to only 43 games. Weight was named the 10th captain in Oilers' history prior to the 1999-00 season. He scored 72 points in 77 games and helped the team reach the playoffs for the fourth straight year. And he tried to play through injuries when the team lost to the defending Stanley Cup champion Dallas Stars in the first round.

HHOF

 

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#1 106 and 106
March 22 2013, 07:23AM
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His ability to openly pivot and find Guerin and Smyth on the half-boards while still skating forward is an ability that you rarely see today.

That story about his leadership speaks volumes about the guy - bitter (sweet?) watching him and Smyth shake hands in the 06 SCF...

This guy started my love for the Oilers with those playoff runs, and a solid captain.

Good profiles, good memories. Upper management one day?

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#3 Rival
March 22 2013, 08:11AM
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I think I have as much respect for Doug Weight on the ice and off as any Oiler player ever. People need to remember that when Weight came to the Oilers the team was a total mess. He was the one guy that stuck with this team and helped bring them out of the hole they were in during the early 90's. He played on some bad teams and could of asked to go somewhere else but he didn't. He may not of played on the championship Oiler teams but he definitely needs to be ranked up there as one great Oilers for various reasons.

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#4 Archaeologuy
March 22 2013, 08:22AM
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The most memorable thing about Doug Weight, for me, was listening to all the girls in my Grade 9 class talk about how dreamy he was.

That and his sick passing skills.

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#5 JaketheSnake
March 22 2013, 08:32AM
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Doug Weight was one of the greatest Oilers ever, on and off the ice. Just a incredible talent. If the Oilers insist on bringing back guys from the past, this would be a guy to bring back.

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#6 Eulers
March 22 2013, 08:35AM
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Sounds like the Oilers won that trade. Thank you NYR!

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#7 blue31
March 22 2013, 08:37AM
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My favourite Oiler, all-time.*

*And yes, I was going to WHA Oiler games before Gretzky et al were around.

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#8 Jonathan Willis
March 22 2013, 09:17AM
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I'll never forget Bryan Marchment going knee-on-knee with Weight, then Weight getting up and dropping the gloves while Marchment turtled. And then Weight hitting him anyway.

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#9 merfe
March 22 2013, 09:22AM
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Am I crazy in believing that Sam Gagner will be the next Doug Weight. Weight got traded to Edmonton at 22 which is about the same age as Gagner is now. During the next 5 years Weight started developing into the great player he became and I see the same type of developement for Gagner. I know he is short in stature but he has the fire in his belly and competetive drive, similar to Weight. If he turns out to be only 80% of Doug Weight, that still would be fantastic.

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#10 northof51
March 22 2013, 09:26AM
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I used to have a "Weight of the World" poster on my wall in grade school and collected about 130 of his hockey cards. I still wear #39 on the back of my rec jersey. He definitely drug the Oilers and fans through some potentially dark times and for that, I am forever grateful.

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#11 Czar
March 22 2013, 09:31AM
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He's the reason I kept my season tickets through those years and his picture still hangs in my rec room today. On and off the ice he was a great Oiler!

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#12 Bruner
March 22 2013, 09:37AM
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Doug Weight was my hero. Broke my heart when he finally parted us for $8 million a year with those bastard St Louis Blues

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#13 Lochenzo
March 22 2013, 09:39AM
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Wish he could have been a life long Oiler. Oiler fans hold him in the same regard as Flames fans think of Iginla. Both saw the dark years where both clubs were rumoured to leave for the States and both were there for the turnaround of the franchises.

Consummate gentleman. I ran into Dougie at the airport coming home from a win in Big D in the 1st round. At a time when everybody was hooping and hollering, the words I would use to describe Doug, happy but humble.

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#14 Hug The Post
March 22 2013, 09:45AM
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Weight was the last great Oiler Captain.

As sad as I was about the game 7 loss in 2006, I was very happy for him to get his Cup.

Let's not ever forget what he and his wife did in the community while he played here. He bought a private sky box for kids with cancer for every home game and hosted pediatric cancer patients and their families. He and his wife would often pop up to the box before/after games to chat too. He never made a big deal about this part of his life when he was here, and certainly never used it to trumpet himself, but for those who saw it, we saw something you don't see much in today's athlete: a dignified compassionate young man who knew what was important other than what he was driving or wearing.

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#15 Quicksilver ballet
March 22 2013, 09:48AM
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The next head coach of the Edmonton Oilers hockey club*

*Post tambo lowe era.

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#16 Oilers21
March 22 2013, 09:53AM
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Thanks for this. I miss those days of the "just enough" teams and the epic playoff battles with Dallas. 96-97 was a great year and especially set against the backdrop of the first round series with Dallas with Marchant scoring the winner. Good times.

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#17 Citizen David
March 22 2013, 10:05AM
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Favorite Oiler ever.

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#18 geoilersgist
March 22 2013, 10:13AM
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Weight, Guerin and Smyth are probably the biggest reasons im an Oilers fan today. I grew up as the Oilers were winning there 4th and 5th cups so I wasn't fully aware of how great they were. The 90s Oilers are when I became a fan. to me he is one of the greatest Oilers ever. Great article LT.

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#19 roger
March 22 2013, 10:13AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

The most memorable thing about Doug Weight, for me, was listening to all the girls in my Grade 9 class talk about how dreamy he was.

That and his sick passing skills.

mabe those passing skills should be refered to as dreamy???

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#20 RexLibris
March 22 2013, 10:43AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I'll never forget Bryan Marchment going knee-on-knee with Weight, then Weight getting up and dropping the gloves while Marchment turtled. And then Weight hitting him anyway.

I may be misremembering this, but didn't Weight get something like 39 penalty minutes in that one game (stat stands out in memory because it was his jersey number) and Mike Comrie stepped up to lead the team to a win after Weight's ejection.

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#21 justDOit
March 22 2013, 10:58AM
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I met Doug Weight at an off-site NHL preseason game in Saskatoon, some time in the mid-90s. He didn't dress for the game, and came in to the broadcast booth to do an interview with Whitman during one of the intermissions. I was charged with running the game audio for a radio broadcast and was also in the booth.

He was very nice and quite humble, but I could't believe how small he was back then. I remember thinking how crazy he was to go on the ice against guys like Sandy McCarthy.

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#22 rex T
March 22 2013, 11:02AM
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Dougie was a great Oiler on and off the ice.

I remember running into him in a couple clubs back in the day. He'd always buy rounds for all the fans in his vicinity. One time he bought the entire shooter tray and handed out shots to everyone. Legend.

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#23 Shane
March 22 2013, 11:19AM
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I was at the game a few seasons ago when we played the Islanders. Dougie wasnt dressed that night(injured maybe) but they showed him on the big screen in the pressbox, and we gave him a long standing O.

It was nice to be a part of that, being an Oiler fan growing up in the 90s... Loved this guy.

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#24 rick
March 22 2013, 11:28AM
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first class my favorite oiler of all time bring him back as a coach. 39 forever

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#25 ubermiguel
March 22 2013, 12:52PM
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I'm with LT. The only thing that soothed the pain in SCF06 was seeing Dougie win.

Any chance I get, I'll plead with the Oilers (or on internet forums) to honour guys like Dougie somehow. I understand, retired number are for guys in the HHOF, but what about guys like Smyth, Weight and Ranford who will never get in the Hall, but deserve kudos? I'd love to see some sort of Wall of Honour for those guys.

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#26 andrewmk20
March 22 2013, 01:23PM
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@merfe

Weight was really strong down low and tough to knock off the puck, kind of like Hartikainen. Maybe if you fused Gagner with Hartikainen you'd get a facsimile of Doug Weight.

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#27 Bonvie
March 22 2013, 01:46PM
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andrewmk20 wrote:

Weight was really strong down low and tough to knock off the puck, kind of like Hartikainen. Maybe if you fused Gagner with Hartikainen you'd get a facsimile of Doug Weight.

Gagner seems to be a pretty accurate comparison for Weight. Weight was a better playmaker for sure, but Gagner is pretty close. Its funny though I remember more fans whining about Arnott being slow and lazy though then complaining about Weight's size, but I guess they had so much size on that roster up front that it was just not a concern, with the likes of Thornton, Pearson, Rice, Arnott, Grier, Smyth, Guerin, Maltby(awesome hitter in his Oiler years).

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#28 Dog Train
March 22 2013, 03:09PM
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As a younger fan, he was the best player that I've ever had the priviledge of watching play multiple seasons in an Oilers' jersey. He was a tremendous leader with the skill set to back it up.

I really enjoy these flashback profiles LT. Keep up the good work!

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#29 Bushed
March 22 2013, 04:04PM
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Doug Weight = class act all the way.

Still remember the hurt look on his face when booed by Edmonton home fans in the playoffs while with Carolina. Dougie didn't know that Ryan Smyth had suggested in an Edmonton Journal interview that booing Weight might put him off his game.

Wonder if Smyth or anyone else ever told Weight? He really loved Edmonton and looked absolutely crushed when it happened, but still played a great game that night.

Weight Guerin Smyth was such a great line to watch. Three of my all-time favorite Oilers.

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#30 moosewacker
March 22 2013, 04:59PM
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Did'nt Dougie lift the cup with a seperated shoulder and tear it up more just so he could lift it ? Watching him get a cup did sooth a lot of pain in 06.

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#31 NewAgeSys
March 22 2013, 07:59PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

The next head coach of the Edmonton Oilers hockey club*

*Post tambo lowe era.

Now you are talking, I agree, after seeing Weight on TV during the playoffs last year and watching him begin to grasp what the Kings were doing systemwise on the air step by step game by game, I figured he would trace the source and find his way here sooner or later.

I am all for Dougie Weight, he was a half-board o-zone entry machine, he would have seriously scored well over 100pts a season with this group we have here now, the way he set up just inside the opponents blueline like two feet in and catalysed offense immediatly would still be something that would blow these kids socks off because even today no one can really do what Weight could do at high speed in the first three feet of o-zone, he was lethal from there and elite from in closer. Defencemen didnt try tp step up on him because he was big enough to stand them up and win the battles.

I was thinking he would fit well here since last years playoffs, the things he said during his portions of the analysis were all technical system perspective comments, he does have a coaches perspective.

I think Ralph has the keys right now and he may just build himself a long career here, we have neither under or overachieved and Ralph cant be judged yet, but if Ralph werent here or if he fails the grade then I would have absolutely no issue with Dougie coming here in fact I give the idea 100% support as a fan.

Weight is an excellent communicator and has elite killer instinct he really knew when to sink the blade in as a player, he had excellent dynamic instincts and could smell system weaknesses on the ice like a shark smells blood in water. I believe he would bring a dynamiclly managed NewAge style of play with him as well.

Everything hinges on how long it takes Bettman to get an NHL team in Quebec because the instant that deal is done K Lowe will in my opinion fly the coop and move closer to his original home, he is the perfect man to lead a team in that Province and would be embraced like no other, he would probably add ten extra years to his career by going there and reintroducing hockey to that market.

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#32 The Real Scuba Steve
March 22 2013, 11:19PM
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A true oiler, who we haven't had that leadership Presents since that year we had Chris Pronger. Excerpt Weight was an Oiler on and off the ice.

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#33 Mike Modano's Dog
March 23 2013, 11:43AM
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Eulers wrote:

Sounds like the Oilers won that trade. Thank you NYR!

Yes we did win it! Unfortunately the Ranger's Neil Smith then returned the favour. He worked with EA Sports' NHL series back then and apparently that was the reason Doug Weight's numbers were WAY DOWN, every year. I remembered wondering why, and after his brilliant seasons kept thinking - okay, THIS year they'll make him great! lol...nope.

Sucked to be such a huge Oiler fan, and a video game fan for those years! Weight, clearly our best Oiler was hardly usable at all! lol...

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