Shea Weber. The name that has become synonymous with “The Beard,” the icy stare from within the defensive zone, the strong willed stalwart of defense, and purveyor of the mythical slap-shot that even Olympic netting couldn’t contain.
Last season as Captain of the Nashville Predators, Weber enjoyed being nominated for his first Norris trophy and was rewarded as such with an arbitration hearing in the amount of $7.5M for the 2011-2012 season. But after the first six games of the season, Weber is leading like he usually does by example, but what happens when that example is less than exemplary.
After last night’s loss to the Vancouver Canucks, the Predators were laden with a whopping 30 minutes of penalties. Here’s the breakdown of penalty minutes:
Once again, aside from fighting majors, Shea Weber dominated the penalties taken with 3 minor penalties (2-cross-checking, 2-boarding, 2-unsportsmanlike conduct).
A team has to expect better control and team preservation from its captain, especially on the road and even more so against what has become a Western Conference rival in the Vancouver Canucks. Right now, Shea Weber leads the Predators with 12 PIM (9th in the NHL for defenseman), so far averaging one minor penalty per game. Weber is fourth on the Predators in shorthanded time on ice with 18:20, more or less because of the frequent trips to the penalty box.
If the Predator’s mind-set is off kilter over these last four games it comes down to the coaching staff and in a very real sense, the players, to right the ship and start playing better hockey. No one is calling for a changing of the guard, but if the captain of the Nashville Predators wants to evoke a defensive strategy and playing responsibly with some grit, then a curtailing of his attitude and demeanor might be forthcoming. Playing with an edge is fine, but not letting that edge come back to cut you is more important and Weber has 7.5 million reasons to be performing better and more responsibly.
As Kris stated in an earlier article, maybe this is just another season where a lackluster start transforms into an almost certain playoff push throughout the rest of the season. But things need to start turning around now and what better resource for power, excitement and determination could the Predators ask for than their elite defensive captain Shea Weber.