While living in Doug Weight’s guest house, Matt Moulson and John Tavares didn’t have much interest in family dinners. They did, however, care deeply about what Weight had to say.
With that in his memory bank, Moulson is not surprised the New York Islanders have played well since Weight took over as interim coach.
“As a player and as a coach, he demands that respect right away,” the Sabres winger said Sunday. “You respected him as a player and a person, so it’s easy to respect him as a coach and listen to what he has to say. You know what he’s saying to you is thought out and coming from a place of great intelligence.”
Moulson and Weight were teammates for two seasons in New York, and the veteran welcomed Moulson and Tavares to his property the first year (2009-10).
“He’s a pretty dedicated father, and I don’t think Johnny and I were in touch with the family life yet at that point,” Moulson said. “It was good to go over to his house and talk to him and his wife and be around his kids. At that time, they were pretty young.
“It was good to be in that atmosphere. We could have someone to talk to, go over there and obviously try to pick his brain a little bit.”
Weight became an Isles assistant coach after retiring in 2011, helping run the bench during Moulson’s final two-plus seasons in New York. Weight has also been the assistant general manager the last three years, and he took over behind the bench when the Isles fired Jack Capuano in January.
Weight entered the game against Buffalo with a 19-12-4 record to keep New York in the playoff race.
“He seemed like a natural behind the bench,” Moulson said in KeyBank Center. “He was in charge of our power play the whole time I was there, and he was incredible with that, just his knowledge of the game and how things work on the ice.
“He was probably one of the smartest players to play the game, and it’s no coincidence that it translates to coaching now.”
While many good coaches don’t have an impressive hockey background, Weight certainly does. The U.S. Hockey Hall of Famer put up 1,033 points in 1,238 games and played in three Olympics, winning a silver medal in 2002.
“He’s really good at communicating with people,” Moulson said, “communicating his vision or just talking to you when maybe you’re struggling or things like that. He was always a good person to talk to.”
The Islanders’ slim postseason hopes took a hit when Weight announced Tavares would miss the final five games with a hamstring injury.
"He's the best player,” Weight said. “It's no secret. But we've got to move on."
Tavares leads New York with 66 points from 28 goals and 38 assists.
"With misfortune brings opportunity," Weight said. "We've got a lot of guys we met with. We need everybody to 'pull on that rope,' as they say.
“That doesn't mean you're doing more, but you're doing more smarter. Good teams can handle that for a while."
The Sabres had a couple of changes in their television broadcast.
Play-by-play announcer Rick Jeanneret left the press box and called the game from Section 319 as part of Family Appreciation Day.
Host Brian Duff, meanwhile, was sick. Dan Dunleavy took his spot.