FanHouse Talks to Nashville Predators Defenseman Shea Weber
We had a chance to speak with the 23-year-old on Wednesday afternoon about the Olympics, playing in Nashville, the possibility of a defenseman ever reaching the 100-point plateau, and being the No. 44 player on the FanHouse Top 50 -- something that seemed to leave him surprised and excited.
I guess the first thing I want to ask you about is the possibility of playing in the Olympics since you were invited to the team Canada tryout camp. Are you looking forward to the opportunity?
Yeah, definitely. Every kid up here dreams about playing for their country and putting on that sweater. And the fact the Olympics are in Canada, and in Vancouver where I grew up, that makes it that much more special of an opportunity.
Do you like the idea of the NHL players playing in the Olympics? I know it's kind of up in the air for future years. Is it something you would like to see continue?
Yeah, I think I do. You want to have the best players in the world in each sport, no matter what it is. I just think the best players should be participating and playing for the Gold Medal.
Do you get the sense that other players around the league feel the same way?
I can't speak for anyone else just because I don't know. I mean, It's not like we really sit around and talk about it all the time, but I'm sure most guys would enjoy the opportunity.
Changing subjects, I'm currently counting down my top 50 players in the NHL for the site, and I have you at No. 44. What do you think about that? Too high? Too low? Just about right? Critique me.
(Laughs) Oh, wow. I don't know, that's kind of surprising. I don't like to think about that stuff too much, but that's something that's definitely nice to hear. You know, there's a lot of great players in the league, and I'm just trying to get better every day and work hard. I'm still young, still have a lot to learn, and hopefully I can continue to get better.
A couple of weeks ago I questioned whether or not we would ever see a defenseman score 100 points in the NHL again. Since offense is a big part of your game, I was wondering what your thoughts were. Do you think we'll see it, or is that an unreachable mark with the way the league is right now?
That's really tough to say. You look at last year and Mike Green scores 30 goals. That's pretty special for a defenseman to do. I think there's some guys out there that probably could do it, but it's going to be tough because of the way the NHL is right now. Especially with how systematic everyone is and how tough it is to get through a lot of team's defense.
You said you grew up near Vancouver, were you a big Canucks fan growing up?
A little bit. My family was all huge Canucks fans, but sometimes I think I just tried to go against them, so I was more of a Montreal fan. I did like the Canucks, but maybe just because everyone else was all about the Canucks, I just wanted to pick somebody else.
Have you tried to model your style after any players? Or any players that you might have looked up to growing up?
There was a couple of guys. It's tough because I started out as a forward when I started playing minor hockey, so I was a big Eric Lindros fan. Once I changed over to defense I kind of looked up to guys like Rob Blake and Ed Jovanovski and those guys that played a physical style of game, but could also put some points up.
I talked to Steve Mason from Columbus the other day, and I asked him this same question since you both play in "new hockey markets," but what's your take on hockey in Nashville? That's one of the places people always seem to point to as an example of a market that hasn't worked, or won't work. You've already played four years there and have seen it first-hand, is it a market that you think can succeed?
Yeah, I do. I definitely think it's a great place to play hockey. The fans there are fantastic. Our fans have to be some of the best, and the loudest, in the league if you ask me. They're constantly crazy and from the time that the Predators have been there they've learned so much. They've really come around to the game, and it's definitely a place that hockey can exist and people are going to love it. I know (players) that go there for a reason, they love the city and the fans are great.
You guys fell just short of the playoffs this past season, and seemed to lose some steam down the stretch. What do you need to do differently as a team to avoid that this season and get back into the playoffs?
I think we really need to get off to a better start, we dug ourselves into a deep hole, especially before the All-Star break. We played our best hockey after the All-Star break, but it just wasn't enough. We couldn't battle out, and we were right there down the stretch, but at the end, like you said, we lost some close games that we really needed, especially against St. Louis and some other teams, but it pushed us back and left us out of the playoffs.
Favorite hockey movie?
Yeah. Slap Shot.
That's what everybody says.
It's a classic.
Is there a player in the NHL you don't want to see on the ice against you, or do you kind of look forward to the challenge of going up against the best?
That's a tough question. I don't know, there's a lot of good players, but most guys thrive on that, playing against the best players in the league, whether it's shutting them down or whatever. I just look forward to the challenge.