If there is one player the Nashville Predators can ill afford to lose at this point in the season, it is defenseman Shea Weber
The team captain is suffering from a concussion and has been ruled out for Wednesday’s game vs. Minnesota, but Nashville coach Barry Trotz said Weber is recovering well and could be available on Friday at St. Louis.
“He won’t play tomorrow, but there’s a chance for Friday,” Trotz said following practice on Tuesday at Bridgestone Arena. “He’s recovering pretty well, I would say. Nothing is for sure. He said he felt pretty good through the weekend. It really caught us off guard and it caught him off guard a little bit when he skated (Monday during the morning skate).”
The injury occurred Friday at Dallas when Stars defenseman Mark Fistric leveled a hit on the 6-foot-4, 232-pound Weber.
“I thought it was a real questionable hit,” Trotz said. “I know the league looked at it. We sent it into the league, they looked at it. Unfortunately, there weren’t too many views of that. The camera wasn’t very conclusive in terms of Fistric leaving his feet, and all of the other factors that go into it. Obviously we felt there was a little bit of a hit to the head - a big hit to the head - but it wasn’t conclusive enough for the league. That’s unfortunate. We’ll just have to carry on.”
In the meantime, Nashville will have to rely on its healthy defensemen to help make up for the absence. That includes rookies Jonathon Blum
and Roman Josi
. Ryan Ellis
, another rookie defenseman, was recalled from Milwaukee on Monday and made his NHL debut against Detroit later that night.Kevin Klein
, third on the team in average ice time at 20:38 per game, has also missed the last four games with injury. With Klein on Injured Reserve, the Preds have just three healthy veterans on defense; Ryan Suter
, Francis Bouillion, and Jack Hillen
“We have three young D back there,” Trotz said. “And the older D, they have to play more minutes. We’ll see if they’re capable or not. There is no one else to look at. You have to pick up those 28 minutes that Shea plays. You have to distribute it to different people. We don’t have anybody who is going to go from 10 minutes to 28 minutes that quickly.”
Weber is second among all NHL defensemen in goals (eight) and points (29). His point total also leads Nashville.