New York Islanders: Doug Weight Seeks to Solidify Coaching Staff
Jan 19, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders interim head coach Doug Weight coaches against the Dallas Stars during the first period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

New York Islanders head coach Doug Weight is putting the finishing touches on his coaching staff.

Doug Weight is not playing around.

As he enters his sophomore season, Weight has learned what he believes to be the keys to his team’s success. It all starts with hiring the right assistant coaches — assistant coaches who are going to change “the atmosphere on the bench,” writes Andy Graziano of SNY.

See, with his relative inexperience last season, Weight felt that he was doing it all on his own. It hit him during a road trip that he couldn’t fulfill this task on his own.

So as Weight normally does, he sprang to action, effectively removing all of the team’s assistant coaches from their posts (Greg Cronin hasn’t been told he isn’t coming back officially, but all indications seem to point to that). He hired Luke Richardson first, and is expected to introduce Kelly Buchberger and Scott Gomez next month.

When Jack Capuano was fired on January 17, the Isles were in a bad spot. In his absence, Weight commanded the team to an outstanding finish, as they missed the playoffs by just one point.

Despite this, Weight isn’t completely satisfied with his personal debut. So he enlisted a handful of former players to man the bench. “I’m not afraid to say it, it’s something I’m looking for and chasing,” Weight said when asked by Brett Cyrgalis of the NY Post if he’s seeking former NHL skaters for his staff.

“But that being said, I’m not just hiring guys who play 15 years or 20 years. You have to sit with them, you have to see how they view the game, how they are, how they view the players, how I view the game.”

It’s hard to doubt any of his coaches’ credentials. Weight himself played for six teams over nineteen seasons. Buchberger, his Oilers teammate, played for seventeen seasons. And Gomez, who terrorized the Isles for so long with the rival Devils and Rangers, played for sixteen seasons.

In his quest for the perfect staff, it’s no surprise that Weight is looking at former players like himself. But it’s important to note that that isn’t his biggest qualifier.

“I think with your assistants, you need that trust in your gut,” Weight explained. “I need the feeling that when I say something or when I delegate, I am 100 percent [confident] in their work ethic, their professionalism, their preparation, that we’re together, we’re a team. That’s how I have to prepare for a game, so I know that’s what I’m going to need.”

Despite his insistence on changing his staff, he reiterated his support for Cronin, who was hired to Capuano’s team on June 16, 2014. He’s notably an alumni coach at the University of Maine, which was seemingly the feeder program for the Isles under Cappy’s reign.

It’s an offseason of change for the Isles. John Tavares, who’s widely viewed as the face of the franchise, will be negotiating a contract extension. Scott Malkin and Jon Ledecky will be seeking a restructured arena deal — or an entirely different stadium. And Weight will seek to finalize his own staff — one that features former NHLers.

Justin Weiss is a staff editor at Elite Sports New York, where he covers the New York Islanders and Brooklyn Cyclones. In 2016, he received a Quill Award for Freelance Journalism. He has written for the Long Island Herald, FanSided and YardBarker.