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Predators' Weber says he's game-time decision

by John Manasso

NASHVILLE -- Nashville Predators captain Shea Weber said he would be a game-time decision Friday against the New Jersey Devils at Bridgestone Arena, although Predators coach Barry Trotz sounded a more hopeful tone.

"I think he feels pretty good, so unless there's a setback he's ready to go," Trotz said.

Weber sustained an upper-body injury in the Predators' 4-3 win against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday and sat out the final 16-plus minutes of the third period. He did not practice Thursday but did participate in the Predators' morning skate Friday.

Of his status, Weber was tight-lipped on the issue, saying, "We'll see. I'll take the warm-ups [Friday]. We'll see."

Asked how he was injured, he said he was not sure.

Weber is tied for the NHL lead in goals by a defenseman with 13 and had played at least 30 minutes in two of Nashville's previous six games before he was injured Tuesday. His 36 points rank second on the Predators, one behind team leader David Legwand.

Nashville already has had to play much of the season without goalie Pekka Rinne (hip infection), a two-time finalist for the Vezina Trophy. Playing without their best skater in Weber, named an alternate captain for Canada's team at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, was not an idea Trotz relished much.

The coach was asked if he had breathed a sigh of relief.

"Possibly, yeah," he said. "It's always good to get your best player back. It doesn't hurt. Trust me."

Trotz said that in the event that Weber can't play Friday the coaching staff has a contingency plan. It likely would include putting defenseman Victor Bartley, a scratch Tuesday, back into the lineup. Another adjustment probably would be necessary, with rookie Seth Jones most likely shifting onto the top pair with Roman Josi to play the right side in Weber's spot.

Here are the possible lineups for each team:


Dainius Zubrus - Travis Zajac - Jaromir Jagr

Ryane Clowe - Adam Henrique - Michael Ryder

Patrik Elias - Stephen Gionta - Damien Brunner

Ryan Carter - Steve Bernier

Andy Greene - Mark Fayne

Jon Merrill - Marek Zidlicky

Bryce Salvador - Anton Volchenkov

Cory Schneider

Martin Brodeur

Scratched: Andrei Loktionov, Jacob Josefson, Mike Sislo


Nick Spaling - David Legwand - Craig Smith

Patric Hornqvist - Mike Fisher - Eric Nystrom

Gabriel Bourque - Colin Wilson - Taylor Beck

Rich Clune - Colton Sissons - Paul Gaustad

Roman Josi - Shea Weber

Michael Del Zotto - Seth Jones

Mattias Ekholm - Ryan Ellis

Carter Hutton

Devan Dubnyk

Scratched: Victor Bartley

Injured: Matt Cullen (upper body), Viktor Stalberg (upper body)

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