Canadiens Don’t Need to Risk Shea Weber’s Health

Last week, the Montreal Canadiens had a pretty rough time. They put defenseman Shea Weber on injured reserve for an injury he sustained to his ankle, and the loss proved costly, as the club then lost four straight games.

The Shea Weber Saga

What makes this story more interesting is the fact the Canadiens’ medical team did not reveal the diagnosis to the public right away. Head coach Claude Julien stated all week they were waiting for the swelling to diminish before they could know exactly what the issue was.

During that week, Weber took the time to fly to Green Bay, Wisconsin to see his surgeon, Dr. Robert Anderson, who had performed surgery on Weber the previous year.

Dr. Anderson ran a multitude of tests to find out exactly what the issue was. A week later, the Canadiens announced Weber had an ankle injury and would be out four to six weeks.

Shea Weber Montreal Canadiens
Shea Weber, Montreal Canadiens (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The Canadian media had a fun week trying to speculate what the injury was. It got to a point where Nick Kypreos, a former analyst at Sportsnet, went to Twitter to report the fact that not only was the injury very serious, but it was also apparently career-threatening.

Why Rush Weber Back?

The Canadiens currently are sixth in the Atlantic Division – they’re eight points out of third place and nine points out of the final wild card spot. With 21 games remaining, they would need to win 18 of them to reach 97 to 98 points, the cutoff to get into the 2018 Playoffs, which is a task most hockey analysts would say is impossible.

The argument here is, why rush Weber back and risk him getting injured again? Two weeks after this whole ordeal began, the Canadiens surprised the hockey world by saying Weber is back after the swelling had diminished and the medical team had cleared him.

With their playoff hopes almost extinguished, it wouldn’t make sense to bring Weber back this early. The Canadiens should have taken their time to properly assess and treat the injury.

Weber spoke about the injury, his plan to play through the pain, and how the doctors had let him know there was zero risk or possibility of aggravating the injury.

That’s obviously the biggest thing. You don’t want any long-term things, especially after what happened last time. I think at this point we’re confident that it’s just a listen-to-your-body type of thing, and then hopefully shouldn’t draw on it and make anything worse.

Shea Weber (Canadiens’ Shea Weber makes a quick recovery from ankle injury,’ National Post, 02/17/2020)

Weber wants to make an improbable push but that could prove to be detrimental to his future. By the way, Kypreos went back on Twitter to send an appropriate apology to Shea and the Canadiens organization.

Before the injury, Weber was on pace for a career year in points and goals, with 13 goals and 34 points in 55 games played. He is also 34 years old, though, and it is getting more apparent by the year that he is starting to slow down a bit.

General manager Marc Bergevin needs to realize that the Canadiens are going to miss the playoffs for the third consecutive season, and should have stepped in to make sure Weber was 100 percent before coming back to play.

The Canadiens should have kept Weber on injured reserve for at least the next two weeks so he is as ready as possible for next season. The fear is that if he plays and injures something else, he could be out of the lineup for a much longer period of time.

Shea Weber Montreal Canadiens
Shea Weber, Montreal Canadiens (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The Canadiens appear to be sellers at the deadline and should give their younger players a chance at some games. This would be a great opportunity for Bergevin to evaluate and plan for next season.

There is zero harm in doing that and it would give fans a chance to see what is in store for the upcoming seasons. It hasn’t been a good season for Montreal since all the injuries started piling up, and that is one of the main reasons why there won’t be playoff hockey in La Belle Province come April. Weber’s injury is another injury on that list, however, rushing him back won’t change things.

Weber did end up playing versus the Detroit Red Wings, but it didn’t go as planned as Montreal blew a three-goal lead and lost 4-3. The Sicamous, British Columbia native finished with 21:50 of ice time and had a minus-two rating with two shots and four blocked shots. You could honestly tell it was his first game back in a while. He looked better the next game against the Washington Capitals, scoring his first goal in 18 days and once again played over 20 minutes. However, it’s still early in his return.

With 18 games left and the trade deadline less then a week away, we will have to see how this all will play out.