Finally Some Information About Weber’s Injuries

By JD Lagrange – News about Shea Weber have been sparse since the Canadiens’ captain has been sidelined with injuries. While some blame the organization’s lack of transparency, others blame the player for not meeting with the media. However, the reality is that Weber is on LTIR and everything he does or says is closely monitored by both the NHL and the insurance company paying him.

On his show, Félix Séguin spoke to three former teammates of Shea Weber who provided some insight on their captain’s health status during last year’s Stanley Cup playoffs.

According to Paul Byron, Shea Weber shouldn’t have played a single game as he was in such bad shape.

“Honestly, I don’t even know how he managed to play. He broke his thumb blocking a shot at the end of the season. We thought that his season was over, but he insisted to play”, said Byron. “In addition, he had a knee, a hip and an ankle injury. He played with a broken ankle for too long, it caused serious damage.”

In spite of all that, Weber never complained.

“You never knew he was in pain. He showed up every day, did his job the best he could without a peep. He’s the ultimate warrior. He displayed enormous courage,” added Byron.

Shea Weber

Brendan Gallagher and Phillip Danault were also extremely impressed by the level of character displayed by the veteran defenseman.

“We knew what Shea had to go through all season and since the beginning of his career. We had heard that he shouldn’t have played in the playoffs, but it was obvious that he wouldn’t miss a single game”, said Gallagher. “He always pushes his body to the limit. He’s a true warrior.”

“His entire life, he sacrificed his body”, added Danault. “He always gave it all, heart and soul. He was on a mission in the playoffs. He was a huge part of our success. It’s sad that Weber will likely have to retire like that.”

Officially however, Weber has yet to share his intention to hang the skates for good. He hasn’t played since the team’s elimination against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup Finals last July.

As his career is seemingly over, it was his last chance to raise the famous trophy over his head. That’s why players were so disappointed to have failed winning it.

“Everyone wanted to win for him and for Carey Price. We wanted to give it all for them”, said Byron. “You never know when you’ll live that again. Careers pass so quickly. It seemed like it was my first NHL game yet, it’s been more than 10 years. We never know how many years we have left in our career.”

“I felt horrible for him and for Price”, added Gallagher. “We wanted to win for them. They did so much for us, we would have liked to do more for them.”

Danault mentions that it wasn’t a matter of effort.

“We gave it all we had, that’s for sure.”

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Phillip Danault: In Hindsight

By JD Lagrange – It’s summer of 2021. The Montreal Canadiens are coming out of an unusually gruelling season. After a forced COVID outbreak preventing them to play for over a week, they had to play through a stretch of something like 25 games in 43 days. They came out of it banged up and exhausted. Still, the team managed to claw their way all the way to the Stanley Cup finals, upsetting the likes of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets and Vegas Golden Knights.

The Canadiens’ season ended well into July and then GM Marc Bergevin had very little time to make decisions about his roster before the NHL Draft, and the free agency period started. He had tried to sign some key veterans early in the season, agreeing to extensions with Jeff Petry, Jake Allen and Brendan Gallagher.

Perspective

There was another pending UFA who had to be signed but the value of Phillip Danault was as murky as it gets. How much was he worth exactly? While excellent on faceoffs and defensively, Danault’s career high was 13 goals and 53 points. There was no doubt that the Victoriaville native was a valuable player for the Canadiens and the team wanted to re-sign him. The issue was agree to term and money.

Phillip Danault

After Gallagher signed his extension, we have learned that prior to signing him, Bergevin had offered Danault a six year, $30 million contract extension, an offer that the Canadiens’ center rejected. Both parties agreed to wait after the season to negotiate.

That didn’t work out well for Danault as he had a horrible season, scoring five goals all year. And while playing well defensively in the playoffs, he only managed one goal and four points in 22 playoffs’ games. Most Habs’ fans and media members claimed that the $5 million cap hit was way too much and the offer should be off the table, claiming that a strictly defensive player wasn’t worth that much.

We know the rest. The team and the Danault clan couldn’t reach an agreement on an extension and he signed with the Los Angeles Kings whom, according to most people, overpaid to get him. The Kings signed him to a 6-year, $33 million deal ($5.5 million cap hit).

More perspective, at the time, Jesperi Kotkaniemi was still with the Canadiens and few expected him to sign an offer-sheet with the Carolina Hurricanes at the time.

Change of hearts

To his credit, Danault took it upon himself to prove Bergevin and the Canadiens’ faithful wrong. He finished his first season with the Kings with a production of 27 goals and 51 points, with his usual faceoffs’ efficiency, sitting at a 53.2% success rate. Both the Kings organization and Danault are pretty happy and proud of the signing.

The issue is that as usual, fans and media in Montreal are making judgement in hindsight. They are changing their tune. The same people who were saying that the Habs shouldn’t pay that much money for Danault are now looking at his production this season to say that it was a mistake not to keep him. Typical.

The irony? Marc Bergevin is now part of the Kings’ organization and reaps the benefit of Phillip Danault, whom he pried from the Chicago Blackhawks to start with, while GM in Montreal. More irony? The pick that Bergevin also got from Chicago in that trade turned out to be Alexander Romanov, who was named the Canadiens’ unsung hero, being awarded the Jacques Beauchamp trophy this year.

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