As the most disappointing season in Nashville Predators history draws to a close, Shea Weber is showing his true colors. His answers to Tennessean reporter Josh Cooper’s post-game questions last night were a new low for a guy who is supposed to be the public face of the team.
Even in the best of times the Preds’ captain is a poor interview subject. His answers project a strong desire to be anywhere other than talking to a reporter: practicing back home in Sicamous, playing in Philadelphia, or perhaps hanging out with his two agents. But what we’ve learned this year is that when the going gets rough, Weber becomes quite possibly the worst interview subject ever to play for the team.
It would be one thing if the team were playing well and Weber gave answers with no substance. When you’re winning, people can pick apart the reasons for it themselves. But when you’ve embarked on the worst season your franchise has seen since the expansion era, the fans want to know why.
- How did losing just a few players to free agency take the team from serious contender to the basement of the NHL’s Western Conference?
- Why is it that other teams in the NHL responded so much better to both the compressed schedule and injury problems than the Preds did?
These aren’t even particularly tough questions. They’re softballs compared to some of the things that could be fairly asked:
- Was your leadership a factor in Ryan Suter and Martin Erat wanting out of town?
- Given your enormous contract, how embarrassing is it that a collection of no-names in Columbus have completely outperformed your team this season?
- Do you think it’s fair to expect Preds fans to continue selling out Bridgestone Arena when the product on the ice is so poor compared to past iterations of the team?
- Did everybody else in the league get better this season or did you just get worse?
- How will you react when another loyal player finally decides he doesn’t want to be here anymore?
If Weber put as much effort into making the Preds a winning team as he does into avoiding questions when he’s in a bad mood, the league could hand him the Norris Trophy at the start of every season. There would be nobody who could compete with him.
Refusing to give substantive answers to even basic questions isn’t the sign of a strong leader. It’s what a petulant child would do. It’s what a man who thinks he’s above his current situation would do. And at least a few people in Nashville would say that it’s also what an overpaid defenseman who doesn’t belong in his position does. If you’re not going to lead the team to wins, you could at least lead them to looking like they have some sort of grace in defeat.
Maybe the real reason Shea Weber doesn’t want to answer questions about why the Nashville Predators are terrible this season is that he doesn’t want to implicate himself and his lack of leadership. Or maybe he just doesn’t have a full thought in his head once he steps off the ice. Either way, Nashville has 13 more years of him and his non-answers to look forward to. And obviously, that’s a very long time.