The Nashville Predators missed Shea Weber in its first-round exit to the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs. However, this week’s news about the captain brings hopeful signs for next season.
Shea Weber’s Knee Injury
Weber suffered a dislocated knee cap after taking a check from Chicago’s Brandon Saad in Game 2 on April 17.
The hit really didn’t look so bad, but it put Weber out of commission for the rest of the series. It was originally called an ankle injury, but later to be revealed a displaced knee cap.
The usually versatile Predators defense really missed their influential leader. Nashville seemed to struggle at times dealing with the speedy forwards of Chicago.
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The injury also thrust Seth Jones and Roman Josi into a more prominent role. Both Jones and Josi had solid seasons, but haven’t been in the pressure cooker of the NHL playoffs.
Weber may not have been able to singlehandedly turn the tide of the series, but he could’ve given the Predators a better shot at toppling the Blackhawks. Weber may be one of the last of the old-school defensemen that stay at home and patrols his own zone.
The usually tough Weber said that he couldn’t stand on his leg and called the injury “painful”.
Weber’s Recovery on Track
There was some good news about Weber’s recovery when he talked to The Tennessean reporter Adam Vingan earlier in the week.
“Knee’s feeling good,” Weber said during a phone interview from British Columbia on Wednesday. “Just taking it day by day and following the protocol and getting better each day.”
Weber said that his range of motion is on schedule and that his rehabilitation is on schedule. The expected recovery time from the surgery was expected to be 4-6 weeks, and he’s hopeful to start lower-body work later on in the summer. Weber should be ready to go for training camp in September.
Looking to Bounce Back
Weber’s production dropped 11 points from his 2013-14 campaign, but that didn’t mean his play dipped. He didn’t have to do all of the heavy lifting when it comes to scoring from the blueline. His partner, Josi, took a lot of the scoring burden away from Weber, which allowed Weber to be more physical.
Both Weber and Josi had great seasons and arguments could’ve been made for both men to at least be nominated for the Norris Trophy. The duo played like one of the best defensive pairings in the league in their short time together.
Weber and the Predators would’ve loved to have been in the lineup to at least give the team a shot, and things in Smashville are starting to look up. The team made the postseason for the first time since the 2011-12 season.
Weber is the elder statesman of this young team that will hope to make a return trip to the postseason in a very tough Central Division. A healthy Shea Weber could put the Predators back in the mix for the division next year.
I did ask at the end of last season if the Predators could win without Weber, but I don’t think Nashville fans want to have to think about it.
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