After an informal skate with approximately a half-dozen teammates, Nashville Predators Captain Shea Weber said he “feels good” after returning from an injury sustained during the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The three-time Norris Trophy finalist suffered a subluxed kneecap during Game Two of the Preds Western Conference Quarterfinal series versus the Chicago Blackhawks. Weber missed Nashville’s remaining four postseason contests and underwent surgery in April.
“It’s exciting to be back,” Weber said after Thursday’s skate. “As more and more guys roll in here, it’s just going to get more exciting and feel like we’re ready to go for the season. It’s good seeing familiar faces and try to get back into a routine.”
Ryan Ellis, a fellow member of the Predators D corps that now also boasts the addition of veteran blueliner Barret Jackman, believes the entire team is made better when Weber is playing at the level of which he’s capable.
“It was a learning experience to not have Shea there in the playoff run, and I thought we did fairly well, but to have him back it’s not only good for our defense, but for our team,” Ellis said. “He’s been here for so long and played so well for us. He’s such a great leader for our team and I think guys like me, [Roman] Josi, [Mattias] Ekholm and the rest of our D can learn a lot from him day in and day out.”
The regret of not being able to help the Predators more during their playoff meeting with the Blackhawks stuck with Weber during the offseason, and he says it’s worked as fuel to prepare for the 2015-16 campaign.
“I spent a long summer thinking about that playoff series and what could have been,” Weber said. “[The Blackhawks] ended up being the Stanley Cup champions, so we know we lost to a very good team. It’s tough to know how close we were, and it motivates us for this year. We know we’re capable of doing anything we put our minds to, but we also can’t take our foot off the gas. There are a lot of teams that were in the playoffs a year before, and they’re going to be looking to get back in there as well.”