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March 01, 1993 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 1993-03-01

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The Michigan Daily - Sports Monday - March1, 19!

Weight
The former Lake Superior star tells of
the Soo, New York and life in the NHL

John Niyo
Blame It On Niyo
All was quiet-on
the Yankee front

Doug Weight played at Lake Su-
perior State for just two seasons be-
fore leaving for the NHL.
Weight earned a spot on the
CCHA first team and was named a
second team All-American after his
second year in college. In the 1990
NHL entry draft, he was chosen 34th
overall by the New York Rangers.
After playing for two national
championship-winning head coaches
in Sault Ste. Marie, Weight skipped
his final two years of NCAA eligibil-
ity, traveled to New York and passed
up a chance at being a cog of the
national champion Lakers of last
season.
Daily Hockey Writer Brett For-
rest spoke with Weight recently at
the Cow Palace in Daly City, Calif.
Daily: Why did you choose Lake
Superior over a bigger school in' a
different location or even junior
hockey?
Weight: I had other options, ob-
viously, bigger colleges and, of
course, juniors. I think me and my
'parents decided that college was on
its way up. A lot of pros were com-
ing out of college and the game was
getting faster and stronger as I was
entering it. So that ruled out junior.
The small school is really favor-
able to my style. I needed work on
my weight lifting, on my discipline.
I didn't think I needed to be in a
40,000-person school. I needed a
place that just focused on hockey.
Lake State was that, with 3,000 stu-
jients.
Frank Anzallone (Laker coach
from 1982 to 1990) was a really
hard coach, a discipline coach. That
helped me become more of a com-
plete player as far as defensively,
hard-working and in practice. Those
were my main reasons.
D: How drastically did the team
change when Jeff Jackson became
head coach?
W: It changed not only with
(different styles of coaching) but
through the team we had. We had 10
talented players who could put the
puck in the net - I'm talking for-
wards - in that second year. So it
had to be an offensively coached
team.
I think it changed as far as JJ
(Jackson) putting more flow into our
game and more speed and things like
that in the neutral zone, carrying the
" puck more. He gave us more free-

dom to make plays and create.
Not that Frank had a bad style
because it helped us win - his style
of dumping the puck in and chipping
it and playing it tough. But I think
we had a little different mix the sec-
ond year and we had so many good
players we decided to let the guys go
a little more and create.
D: How can you compare those
two coaches with the two you have
had on the Rangers in Roger Neilson
and Ron Smith?

of offensive creativity, he played me
a lot. I think he's a great coach, he
knows the game well, too.
Rog (Neilson) is the same. I was
really happy I was able to break into
the league with such a nice man that
was able to take me under his wing.
It gave me a chance to bring me in
slowly and not ruin my confidence
by having a rough game or having a
rough month. He's also a great
coach and he'll definitely be back in
the game soon.

39 4~ยง~.

ing a great job so far and hopefully
we're up for better things in the fu-
ture.
D: When you were at Lake Supe-
rior, did you always think you would
play in the NHL and do well in the
NHL?
W: I don't think you can ever say
it's a sure thing. After a good fresh-
man year, I was able to lead college
in freshman scoring. That was a
great confidence-builder, then to get
drafted by the Rangers.
Everybody around you talks
about it: "You're in for sure." I think
then you start realizing, "Hey, I got
to work hard. I want to make it."
Then you really get the taste in your
mouth and you want more and more
of it.
After the World Junior tourna-
ment, I really felt I had a good
chance of going pro one of these
years. I just worked hard and luckily
the Rangers at the end of their sea-
son needed some changes and I was
able to sign with them after my
sophomore year.
D: Do you ever regret coming
out of school early?
W: I think I could have really
helped Lake Superior. They won it
last year but I think I could have
been a good part and really had a
good couple of years there. A lot of
things could have happened.
I could have put some points on
the board and maybe gotten a little
more notoriety in college. I made my
choice, I can't second-guess myself.
I'm really happy with what I did.
I'm happy I'm in New York. Hope-
fully, I'll stay here if we can start
winning.
D: What are the biggest differ-
ences between the NHL and the
CCHA?
W: I think the speed is pretty
close but it's unbelievable what the
strength factor is. Everybody's so
big and strong here.
They're strong on their stick and
even if you're five-foot-seven in the
NHL you're strong. You could be
the strongest guy on the ice in
college.

FORT LAUDERDALE,Fla:- The guy was probably in his late
fifties or early sixties, with a few tufts of gray hair flopping around in the
wind as he sat drinking in what retirement had to offer.
It was a Friday, just before noon, and the transplanted New Yorker -
you could tell by the voice inflection - was talking with another man of
similar appearance in the bleachers at Fort Lauderdale Yankee Stadium,
the spring home of the New York Yankees.
He had a $1 program in his lap, in order to keep track of some of the
rookies and, of course, the inevitable new faces, what with major league
baseball teams treating rosters like a game of "Go Fish." But he didn't
use it much, just an occasional glance.
Most of the faces he recognized immediately. He was no casual fan.
This is a guy who grew up watching Maris and Mantle and DiMaggio.
Grew up cheering on players like Whitey Ford and Frank Howard, both
of whom, incidentally, were pacing out on the field on this overcast day
in Fort Lauderdale, still wearing the ol' pinstripes as Yankee coaches. So
the man knew those two like they were old drinking buddies.
But he was also one of the first to notice Wade Boggs, who had come
out of the clubhouse and into the dugout.
"Finally, we got a damn third baseman who can hit," he said to his A
friend.
Or something like that. That was the sentiment, at least, though it was
hard to catch everything the two men said as the warm breeze from off
the ocean blew us in and out of their conversation.
Like the 500 or so other fans and gawkers at Friday's morning ses-
sion, the two men were there to check out the latest installment of the
Yankees. That is what spring training is all about: a sneak preview
complete with good weather, good seats and a very relaxed atmosphere.
But we likely caught the Yankees in the calm before the storm.
Right about now, The Boss is on a charter plane down to Florida to
assume his old command post. George Steinbrenner, as of 12:01 a.m.
EST, is no longer suspended from baseball. He was to spend two hours,
starting at midnight, gleefully fielding calls on WFAN in New York
City, the all-sports radio station, and then it was off to spring training. -
He has supposedly cleared his calendar for the month of March in order
to spend all his time hovering around the team as it prepares in Fort
Lauderdale for Opening Day.
Happy days are here again?
"The bum comes back on Monday."
The breeze brought another piece of the two men's conversation our
way. I heard the word "bum" at least twice more. The relaxed atmos-
phere is in jeopardy.
We watched them all joke and laugh as they took batting practice and
shagged flies in the outfield, some of us figuring that it was all about to
end once Monday morning dawned. Maybe it will, maybe it won't.
But there was Don Mattingly standing behind the batting cage Friday
kidding around with newcomer Jimmy Key, perhaps the Yankees'
southpaw savior. And there was Danny Tartabull, smiling and flexing
his bicep in Boggs' face after he deposited three straight pitches over the
fence in left field. And there was Jim Abbott, another fresh face (and a
former Wolverine), jogging past the stands to the loudest cheers of all.
The Yankees, led by a tough, young manager in Buck Showalter,
looked, at least on this Friday, like a team that could play loose, stay
confident, and ... well ... win. Finally, after all those woeful seasons.
It's been 12 years since they went to a World Series.
But tonight on the news, all we'll see is George Steinbrenner.
Mugging for the cameras. Smiling. Grandstanding. And, suddenly, that
team's outlook doesn't look quite as promising.

.,
$ ;

pV

V

J

SPORTS INFORMATION

W: It's a different game from
college to pro but I liked them all.
Frank helped me so much as far as
discipline and attitude and work
ethic. He taught me a lot about the
game defensively and offensively.
He's a great coach and a really great
guy.
I say the same to JJ. He gave me
a lot of confidence, he gave me a lot
What I can tell you about Ron

has been short-lived but I think he
has really opened the game up for
us. He's making the best out of what
we have on this team. He's letting us
play with the skill we have. He's do-

.1

4

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