For much of Dale Weise’s NHL career, he has been miscast. In New York and Vancouver, he was nothing more than a fourth liner who was expected to be a fighter. Coach John Tortorella, who coached Weise in both cities, never seemed to be a fan of his. After being picked up on waivers by Vancouver, it appeared Weise would have a fresh start but he never got more than a handful of minutes and again was more or less expected to be a goon. So of course when Tortorella arrived in Vancouver, it was no doubt a sigh of relief for Weise being traded to the Montreal Canadiens. His favourite team growing up, Weise has been an excellent addition to the Habs, who have finally given him a proper chance.
An excellent addition
On a deep team like Montreal, Weise plays primarily on the fourth line but when you watch him at his best, he seems so much more than that. He is 6′ 2″ and 205 LBS (according to NHL.com), can skate, hit, drop the gloves when necessary and chip in on the scoresheet. Traded to Montreal straight up for defenceman Raphael Diaz, the Habs certainly ended up on the better side of the trade. Diaz only played in six games for the Canucks before being traded to the Rangers.
Weise on the other hand was great arriving from Vancouver, but he saved his best for the playoffs. He had seven points in 16 playoff games for the Habs and scored some huge goals along the way. He had the overtime winner in game one versus Tampa Bay and had the opening goal in game seven versus Boston. Speaking of Boston, Weise has joined PK Subban and Alexei Emelin on Milan Lucic’s list of enemies. The two players went toe-to-toe with each other during last year’s grinding seven game series. For every chest thumping and bicep flex by Lucic, Weise would respond with the same gestures. And while the whole handshake line incident is water under the bridge, Weise continues to get the last laugh. After sitting Montreal’s first game against Boston earlier this season, Weise was put in for last Thursday’s game. There was speculation whether Lucic would fulfill his promise to Weise that involved physical violence but in the end, Lucic was invisible virtually the entire game and Weise scored on a penalty shot en route to the Habs thumping Boston.
The ultimate fourth liner
In an era where there is an emphasis on rolling four lines that can play and the lack of pure enforcers in the game, Weise is prototypical of what a team would want from a fourth line player. He can play meaningful shifts in a game and doesn’t often take stupid penalties. He will stick up for his teammates and provide energy but he is more than capable of stepping up and scoring a big goal. As depth becomes more important, especially come playoff time, guys like Weise become so much more valuable. As goals become harder to come by in the playoffs, the bottom six guys are crucial for secondary scoring. Teams don’t win if all four lines don’t contribute.
After all these years, Weise has finally found his stride as an NHLer. He is on a team where his gifts are valued and playing on a winning team helps too. He is being put into a position to succeed, something his past teams never gave him. He is a player that has to work for everything he gets but that’s what makes him a popular player. Weise is taking advantage of the opportunity he has been given and no doubt he wants to do everything to keep himself from being pushed aside ever again.