Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter
The Islanders named Doug Weight head coach this morning, removing the interim tag from his name and assigning him the task of making it to the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2017-18 with a club that missed out by a single point this season.
GM Garth Snow, who looks to have retained his job for the upcoming season, joined Weight on a conference call announcing the move. And Snow addressed the three-headed goaltending drama that might have sunk the Islanders chances at competing for the ultimate prize a third straight season.
First,n Weight began by saying he thought long and hard about this decision over the past two days. And after discussing the matter with family and friends, came to a quick decision after being told he was the man, first and foremost, that management wanted to be the new bench boss.
"I had a good feeling coming out of the year, even though we missed the playoffs, about coaching," Weight said. "It was pretty much decided at the wrap-up dinner last night when I started to feel really good about it. I talked to Johnny (Tavares, Islanders captain) after I made my decision. I didn't feel it was fair to put any of that on him. We talk enough during the season [chuckles]."
Weight, when asked if he sees any additions to the coaching staff, said they are more a probability than a possibility, but could not put a number on how many he would hire.
"I absolutely see changes to the staff, although I can't say whether it will be one, two or five," he said. "That's something I have to get to work on immediately now that I know I have the job moving forward. I want people who want to work, but mostly, who want to win. And they have to fit into what we are trying to do here organizationally and believe in our philosophy."
Coming out of Tuesday's Newsday column by Arthur Staple on the front office structure, Weight said there was no shortage of communication between himself, Snow and owners Jonathan Ledecky and Scott Malkin on what that might look like.
"I believe in full disclosure," Weight said. "I think you have to, honesty is the only way to go. I was very honest and forthcoming with them about my feelings and they were with me. You want to be comfortable moving forward that everyone is on the same page."
Weight finished by adding that there were moments he felt he could have made better decisions behind the bench and being the 'note-taker' that he is, expects to learn from those mistakes to make himself better by the time training camp rolls around this September.
He said once he knew the players were comfortable with him behind the bench that he was able to settle more into the role. In terms of systems, with a full summer to work with, there will be changes to a host of things, on and off the ice, with Weight mentioning "timing, how we practice, structurally and things of that nature."
Snow spoke briefly about the hiring, adding "Doug has the respect of the players from his own time as a player in this league and with this organization. The comfort level they showed with him was a huge factor and he was our guy from the start, maybe about a month or so ago. But Doug has a personal life too, and we respected the fact he had to sit down and think long and hard, discussing it with them, to make sure it was the right commitment to make for him."
On the issue of dealing with Jaroslav Halak, Allan Walsh, J.F Berube, and Thomas Greiss, Snow skirted responsibility, saying "No, not really" when asked if he had any regrets to how the situation played out.
"I think our goaltending struggled the first 10 weeks or so. Christopher Gibson got hurt in Bridgeport and was lost for the season so having Jaro down there was essential. We felt if J.F had been exposed to waivers, he would have gotten claimed, and we would've been left with Jaro and Greiss and two young goaltenders. That injury figured into some of our decision making. Sometimes people don't realize injuries at the AHL level impact decisions up here."
As far as his relationship with owners Ledecky and Malkin, there no issues there, either.
"Relationship is great," Snow said. "I've had a tremendous amount of support from ownership. Communication, as president and general manager, it's not on a daily basis, but you speak several times a week. So the communication has always been there. I'm grateful that I've always had the support of ownership."