Nashville Predators captain Shea Weber is one of the most intimidating and well-respected defensemen in the NHL. He’s a two-time Norris Trophy nominee, an Olympic gold medal winner with Team Canada in 2010 and is currently having arguably the best season of his career with the Predators.
Some of the fiercest battles Weber has had throughout his career have come against Anaheim forwards, and fellow Team Canada teammates, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. It seems as though every time the Predators and Ducks meet, Weber is going head-to-head with the Getzlaf line, which always includes Perry as well.
However, with the 2014 Olympic men’s hockey tournament set to begin this week, Getzlaf and Perry will join forces with Weber for Team Canada in a quest to defend their gold medal.
Getzlaf has gotten the chance to get to know Weber over the years from playing with him in international competition and playing against him in the NHL. They stay in pretty regular communication.
“I know Webs really well,” Getzlaf said. “We both have a place in Kelowna in the off-season and stuff so I talk to him lots.”
At 6’4, 233 pounds, Weber’s size and strength are some of his best assets on the ice. He’s also deceptively fast for a big man, which allows him to close gaps quickly on opposing players and recover well from mistakes.And then there’s that 106 mph shot. Weber is really a fantastic all-around defenseman. Perry experiences all of those assets firsthand when he plays against Nashville.
“He’s a big, physical guy, he can skate and he’s the leader of [Nashville]. When you put all of those qualities together, you’re going to have a heck of a hockey player, and that’s what he is,” Perry said. “He’s a guy that I play against every shift. He’s out there every shift against us and he’s trying to shut us down.”
Team Canada is the favorite to win the gold medal once again in Sochi with another stacked roster. Early indications are that last year’s Norris Trophy winner, P.K. Subban, will be the odd man out to start the tournament. That just shows how stacked the Canadians are on the blue line.
Weber figures to play a significant amount of minutes for Team Canada in nearly every situation. He’s going to play an important role in Canada’s success in these Olympics, and Getzlaf is excited to be able to play with him once again.
“Playing against him, he’s a big body guy that can shoot the puck real well,” Getzlaf said. “I see him most shifts that I’m on the ice so we get to know each other. Playing together, it’s fun. I’m going to enjoy it again as we did in Vancouver.”