By JD Lagrange – It’s the end of yet another era in Montreal. The Shea Weber era. It’s one that started in total controversy, and none of it was his own doing. On June 29, 2016, Marc Bergevin shocked the hockey world by trading fan favourite P.K. Subban to get his hands on Weber. We won’t rehash the fans’ reaction but let’s just say that some are still fuming about that trade, even though the Canadiens clearly came on top.
Off the ice, he’s quiet. He’s humble. He has a heart of gold but he does everything away from cameras and limelight. In the dressing room, he’s imposing. He commands respect not as much by his words, but by the way he conducts himself. When he does speak, everyone listens. He possesses that type of wisdom and he’s the ultimate leader. And on the ice, he’s a future Hall of Famer. He’s a freak of nature, stronger than most. He is intimidating. He’s one of the best shutdown defensemen to ever play the game. He can also support the offense. His shot is one of the most feared weapons by opposing goaltenders yes, but by defenders and even teammates standing in front of the net. He’s Shea Weber!
As fans are praising the Canadiens’ former captain on social media, players and the entire Montreal Canadiens’ organization know what they are missing.
“I’ve always admired him from afar. I would see him at the NHL Awards ceremonies most summers in Vegas, or things of that nature, and just say a quick hello. But even though he wasn’t around a lot, his presence was really felt. If you talk to the players and everybody around it, I think that was one of the biggest things we’ve heard from them: that his absence created a leadership void. He was that kind of a presence, and he really helped steer the ship off-the-ice. Those types of people don’t come around every day; when you have them in an organization, you’re lucky. The few times I met him in Vancouver and in Montreal, he seemed like a great guy; very quiet, unassuming. It’s almost surprising to have a guy who plays that hard and can play through the kind of pain and significant injuries that he did, and be so quiet and unassuming off the ice.” ~ Kent Hughes
Yet, you will always have some who will downplay what Weber has meant for this team. Every single player who has played with him will speak highly of him. But for some fans, for some media members, he will remain under-appreciated. Why? Because if they can’t see something, it didn’t happen. Weber always made sure that his work, aside from on the ice, was kept away from the public eye. And in some cases, they blame Subban’s departure on him.
What the younger veterans on the team and the young players who have had a chance to play with him will take, it’s invaluable. Seeing how this man played through horrific pain to help his team reach the Stanley Cup finals, to experience and witness that dedication, you have to live it as there are no words for it. He played the playoffs last year with a broken thumb (which is what is keeping Nazem Kadri out for the Avalanche right now), an injured hip and a bummed ankle.
When asked what his best trade was as the Canadiens’ GM, Bergevin did not hesitate saying that it was the acquisition of Weber.
One young man who has learned under Weber is the one most people see succeeding him as the next Canadiens’ captain. And there are a lot of similarities in the way they conduct themselves. You may have noticed but Nick Suzuki has been spending his summer in Montreal and he is being filmed everywhere by the Canadiens themselves. Appearance here, giving jerseys there, signing autographs everywhere. It sure seems like they’re setting the table for an announcement, doesn’t it? That announcement should come anytime between the NHL Draft and the start of the 2022-23 season.
And if you ask Suzuki about what he’s learned from Weber, rest assured that the words will be eloquent. You will hear worlds like leadership, respect and doing the right thing whether cameras are on or off. You see, you judge someone’s true character not when cameras are on him, but it’s more telling when they’re not. And that’s what Shea Weber is. That’s what he has brought to this organization, Suzuki included. And that’s the legacy of professionalism that he is leaving the Montreal Canadiens’ with.
You will be missed, Shea. You already are missed. Most fans are proud to have had the chance to watch you wear the Red, White and Blue. With your actions more than your words, you have turned most fans who originally disapproved of “The Trade” into believers in you. And that’s no small feat in Montreal.
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5 thoughts on “Shea Weber: The Legacy”
Habs came out on top of this trade ???
One cup run (which he was not the main reason for) doth not equate a clear victory in the trade.
Tell me… what has the other one done that Weber hasn’t accomplished since the trade? Got traded for peanuts and vanished off the map?
And Weber was, with Carey Price, one of the main reasons why the Habs went on their playoffs’ run.
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