MONTREAL – The Canadiens spent a lot of time in the team clinic this season and Yannick Weber wasn’t immune to the injury bug.
The Swiss blue-liner suffered two knee injuries in 2011-12, finally seeing his season come to an early end on Mar. 23.
“I thought it wasn’t worth to come back for this year. Right now we’re just doing rehab trying to get my knee strong. Injuries take a while and you need to be patient,” explained the young defenseman who suffered a grade two tear to his MCL when playing against the Ottawa Senators.
The injury didn’t only limit his season to 60 games; it also put a hold on his chances to represent his country in this year’s World Hockey Championships, taking place this May in Finland and Sweden.
“No World’s for me. It’s a bit tight on the schedule. The injury takes four to six weeks to heal so I could only start skating full contact when the tournament kicks off. I don’t think it’s the smartest thing to go to World’s without having played and without having skated for a while,” offered Weber.
Instead of going for gold this summer, the 23-year-old will be working on healing up and coming back better than ever in 2012-13.
“My first priority is getting healthy. Then like every summer, I’ll try and get stronger and faster and be ready for another big season,” he explained. “You can always work on a lot of things during the offseason, on or off the ice. We have a long summer in front of us so we can work on everything.”
Despite missing 22 games this season, Weber still managed to post career highs across the board, potting four goals – all on the power play – and registering18 points. Nonetheless, the young defenseman admitted it was a rocky road.
“We all know it wasn’t an easy season for the team and it wasn’t for me, either. It started with training camp where I maybe didn’t have my best performance. I kind of lost my job there. With all the injuries on our team, I was able to find my way back. I had ups and downs; there were games I played 22 minutes and some where I played three minutes,” explained the versatile rearguard, who spent some time at forward for a few games early in the season. “At the end of the day, when you look at the amount of time I played and the number of games I played, I did a lot of good things. I produced pretty well for the opportunities I got.
“Last year I felt I had a good year, that I had taken a step forward. This year, I might have taken a step back,” admitted Weber, who enjoyed his 100th career NHL game this March. “If you have a year like this as an organization, it’s always tough to take something positive out of it. But everybody is going to learn from this year and take the positives. We need to make sure we don’t ever miss the playoffs again.”
Weber, who signed a two-year deal with the Canadiens last June, will be spending his summer back in Switzerland before returning to Montreal to kick off his bounce-back season in September.
Lee-Anne Vincent O'Connor is a writer for canadiens.com.
Highlights - Weber
Impacted by injury
Closing up shop