Weekes Hurt In Isles' Loss To Toronto
By Mark Herrmann
MAPLE LEAFS 2 ISLANDERS 1 In the end, the Islanders
were reassured and confident about Kevin Weekes, which
is how he has made them feel all along. The team was
relieved to learn he had full movement in his arms and
legs and that X-rays were negative after he was
knocked in the head by Darcy Tucker of the Toronto
Weekes was on the ice, prone, for about 15 minutes in
the second period of the Leafs' 2-1 win Friday night
at Nassau Coliseum. The goalie, whose play and
personality have brightened a dismal season, waved to
the crowd of 8,945 as the stretcher left the ice. He
suffered from "central neck pain," an Islanders
spokesman said, adding that the pain decreased after
about an hour.
"It's scary when you see anybody out like that.
Weekesie's a good friend, a teammate of mine. So it's
tough seeing that," said Islanders defenseman Ian
Herbers, who tied up Tucker at 15:37 of the second. "I
talked to the trainers right away and they said he's
doing fine." The Leafs were on a four-on-two rush when
the injury occurred. Tucker's knee hit Weekes in the
head. "I think, personally, he might have gone into
the net a little too hard and straight for Weekesie,
if you ask me," Herbers said.
But Tucker said he was not going for the goalie,
adding that he tried to turn in mid-air. "I got my
feet taken out from under me," the Leafs forward said.
"If I hadn't tried to turn my body I would have hit
him flush. Once I tried to hit him out of the way, it
kind of drove him into the post." In fact, the only
one penalized on the play was Herbers, who was
assessed two minutes for interference. "Maybe [Tucker]
got a little push from behind," said Islanders
defenseman Mathieu Biron, who went after the Leaf
right after the collision. Added Vladimir Orszagh, the
Isles' emergency call-up who scored his team's only
goal: "I didn't think he meant it." It was scary for
everyone when trainers and doctors were gingerly
putting Weekes' head in a brace. "Any time you see
that happen, it's an awful thing. We went through that
real bad incident with Berard," Tucker said, referring
to teammate Bryan Berard, who suffered what might be a
career-ending injury to his right eye recently. "I
feel really bad about it, but there was nothing I
could do to prevent it." Weekes has been a vital
Islander since they acquired him from Vancouver in the
Felix Potvin trade on Dec. 19. "It was a tremendous
trade for us," Islanders coach Butch Goring said.
"We're really happy with what this team has done the
second half and Weekes has been an important part of
that." The goalie was voted the winner of the Good Guy
Award by the Long Island chapter of the Professional
Hockey Writers Association. A former winner of that
award, Glenn Healy, was the winning goalie Friday.
Supported by goals from Igor Korolev and Steve Thomas,
Healy secured his ninth win of the season.
The Islanders never really have recovered from the day
they let Healy go in the 1993 expansion draft-right
after he had led them to the Stanley Cup semifinals.
"Immediately after the '93 series," he said, "there
were some real questionable moves made and that really
affected the fabric of the team."