Weber Controversy: Witch Hunt At Its Best

By JD Lagrange – Never change Montreal. When the talks should have been about the career of Guy Lafleur and his passing, a few media, in desperate need of viewership, listenership or readership (same culprits as usual), decided to turn the focus and create controversy. That’s what happens when you don’t have the talents to compete with the best media members. The topic this time around? Shea Weber wasn’t there…

For those wondering and those who “forgot”, Marc Bergevin told everyone, after last summer’s playoffs, that Weber would not be playing in 2021-22. He even advanced that the Canadiens’ captain’s career was likely over, due to serious injuries. Listening to his teammates, Weber was playing in extreme pain during those playoffs as he and teammate Carey Price carried the team on their shoulders all the way to the Stanley Cup finals. When hired as GM, Kent Hughes also mentioned that Weber’s career was likely over.

So where was Weber? He’s at home, in British Columbia, more than 5,000 kilometers away from Montreal. Why hasn’t he retired? Because he’s on disability, touching money that he’s entitled to from paying premiums his entire career.

Where were they?

As proof that it’s a non-story and a targeted attack on the Canadiens’ last known captain, the people jumping on that hater bandwagon conveniently don’t mention others who didn’t make an appearance. Pierre Bouchard, Yvan Cournoyer, Lucien Deblois, Gilbert Delorme, Normand Dupont, Bob Gainey, Rick Green, Réjean Houle, Yvon Lambert, Guy Lapointe, Pierre Mondou, Chris Nilan and Richard Sévigny were the only ones present at the game.

So why aren’t the media questioning where former teammates and team captains Serge Savard and Guy Carbonneau were? What about Jacques Lemaire and Mario Tremblay? These guys played with Lafleur and they all live much closer than Weber. Why isn’t THAT a story?

Shea Weber

Well, we know why, don’t we? For one thing, they’re loved by the Montreal media, some of them even worked in the media. Then, they weren’t traded for an ever popular fan and media favourite, unlike Weber. They’re not as easy of a target as the Canadiens’ last captain… and media know that Weber will draw more criticism, therefore more viewership, listenership and readership. Controversy sells… and many love to hate Weber and Price, amongst others.

Have you ever noticed that when Chantal Machabée was with RDS, she never started or fuelled controversy? That Mathias Brunet never does either? Nor do Eric Engels, Pierre LeBrun, Marc-Antoine Godin, Guillaume Lefrançois and Marc-André Perreault, amongst many others? That’s because they rely on their reporting skills to gain viewership, listenership or readership. Those relying on controversy just can’t compete quality-wise.

No longer captain

Some people base their argument on the concept that he’s the team captain. How they know that is beyond me as we’ve known that he wasn’t playing this season. How can he be the captain when not playing all year. We’ve also known that the reason why there isn’t a captain on the team is because Bergevin decided not to name one for the season. We also know that Kent Hughes has said that there will be one next season. So while Weber is the last captain, he is clearly not the current captain. But narratives must be served, right?

When I read about that kind of crap, when I read social media with some of the comments, I can’t help but think of the players who want nothing to do with coming to play in Montreal. Truthfully, when something that stupid happens, I understand those players as I wouldn’t want to have to live through such made-up and overblown stories.

In the meantime, Shea Weber will be heading to Montreal for the weekend, for his season ending medical and to talk to Jeff Gorton and Kent Hughes about his future.

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