Nashville Predators: Bonne Chance Shea Weber, Bonne Chance

Shea Weber #6 of the Nashville Predators (Photo by Rocky W. Widner/NHL/Getty Images)
Shea Weber #6 of the Nashville Predators (Photo by Rocky W. Widner/NHL/Getty Images) /

I think I speak for most Nashville Predators fans when I say, “Go Habs Go” while rooting for the Montreal Canadiens in the 2021 Stanley Cup Finals.

As a Canadian myself, I can say the invention of poutine should be enough to entice Americans to pull for the NHL’s lone team from “la belle province” to hoist Canada’s first Stanley Cup since 1993.

Alas, there is an even stronger sentimental reason to cheer for the red and blue in this winner take all series versus the Tampa Bay Lightning.

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Shea Weber was drafted 49th Overall by Nashville in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. While he wasn’t one of the twenty-plus first-rounders taken that June that made sizable contributions to their NHL teams, he nows finds himself, eighteen years to the month later, competing in his first Stanley Cup final.

It may hurt that Weber is not competing for the cup as a member of the Predators, but the road that led him here is full of connections to Smashville. For that reason, I pledge my allegiance to the Canadiens as he seeks his first Stanley Cup.

It goes without saying that Weber brought so much to Nashville in his 11 seasons as a Predator, both on and off the ice.

While publications can be guilty of going too deep into the numbers (of which Weber posted excellent ones in his decade-plus as a Predator), I want to focus on the intangibles he brought.

Weber brought things to the Predators that were even greater than his iconic booming slap shot that, to this day, strikes fear into the hearts of anyone willing to get in front of it.

The Nashville Predators Pioneer Of “The Predator Way”

Newer fans may forget that in the mid-2000s, Nashville was classified as a “budget” team. As a result, they had to make do without many high-priced assets, unlike their divisional rivals.

Nevertheless, success was built on a commitment to structure and a will to win that surpassed, on many nights, the Predators’ superior opponents.

Weber was instrumental in creating the definition of this franchise mantra. Be hard to play against, play the game “heavy,” and crush your opponent’s will to win.

It was that effort, intensity, and commitment to, then Head Coach, Barry Trotz’s smothering “defense first” style of play that made the Predators a tough team.

Weber’s unwavering commitment to this team identity and incredibly rare work ethic earned him the designation as the Predators’ first true homegrown superstar and pioneer of an attitude and identity the team still tries to build around to this day.

Through thick and thin, Weber defined what it was to be a Nashville Predator. Through tumultuous ownership drama, helping develop a newer hockey market in Tennessee, and sharing the duties with Pekka Rinne in becoming the faces of the franchise both on and off the ice, Weber not only embraced but welcomed the challenge of being “the guy” for many years.

Whether it was a net-front battle, standing up for his teammates in a scrum, or an opportunity to be a role model in the community, Weber rose to that occasion every day as a member of the Predators organization.

Accolades And Achievements

Weber’s list of accolades and achievements that he accomplished individually and as a member of the Predators is long, much like his NHL career.

Here is a very short list of accomplishments for the Sicamous, BC native:

  • Instrumental in the first playoff series victory in franchise history over the Anaheim Ducks in 2011
  • First-ever drafted Predator to secure an Olympic Gold Medal for Team Canada at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver,
  • Sixth captain in franchise history
  • Multiple all-star appearances
  • Norris Trophy finalist

It is incredibly hard to dispute that the only thing missing on Weber’s resume is a Stanley Cup ring. Adding that to his trophy case would certainly cement his status as a future NHL Hall of Famer.

While Preds fans may be bitter seeing him hoist the cup with another team, it sure will be sweet to see Weber win it regardless of how much he has meant to Smashville and the special place he holds in thousands of Predators’ fans hearts.

So I guess the only thing I can say is, “Bonne chance Shea, Bonne chance!”

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