Shea Weber is arguably the best defenseman playing for the Nashville Predators. He was the sole representative from the Predators in the 2009 NHL All Star Game. Quite rightly so, he is one of the main contenders for a roster spot on the Canadian Olympic team in Vancouver.
Like any best defenseman on a team playing against the Washington Capitals, he was handed a tough task – to stop Alex Ovechkin. As he told me with a smile, he “didn’t quite stop him.” But Weber was still effective and scored an unstoppable goal against Semyon Varlamov in the second period of the game between the two teams last night.
Following our tradition of introducing players from Capitals’ opponents this season (New York Rangers’ Enver Lisin and Artem Anisimov can be found here; and San Jose Sharks’ Evgeni Nabokov is here), Dmitry Shumin and I caught up with Weber after the game for a brief chat.
What was your personal goal tonight? To stop Alex Ovechkin?
Yes. I didn’t quite stop him [Laughing]. He is a great player. You can see why he is one of the best in the world. He does so much at such a great speed. He’s got a great shot. And he put two behind us tonight.
Not many can really stop Ovechkin. But overall you can be satisfied with your performance, especially with that goal you scored. It was unstoppable.
Yes, it’s nice to finally get one this year. It seems like we’ve been struggling offensively this year. So, hopefully it gets us going and gets some momentum for us.
You’re probably a lock for the Canadian Olympic team. Would you like to personally play against Ovechkin in Vancouver?
I don’t know. Hopefully I can be in Vancouver. It’s a great opportunity. It’s close to home. And if I can be there, hopefully, I can play a big role there.
Coming into tonight’s game the Nashville Predators struggled a little bit losing four in a row and scoring only 7 goals. Why do you think that is?
I just think we’re not playing well as a team. Especially in our own zone, we give up too many chances. And those chances are quality chances. We did a better job tonight and gave up only a couple of goals.
For the first half of the second period you couldn’t come up with any shots against Semyon Varlamov. Did it take so long to adjust to the way the Capitals were playing? Or were there other reasons?
Yes, I just think we had to pick it up. We kind of came out flat to start the second. We were kind of chasing the puck around. And in the second half we got more assertive, started playing behind them, and started playing well with the puck.
Semyon Varlamov struggled a little bit in the second.
He is very good. He is very athletic. He seems like he is very flexible. He is just all over the place. He can stop a lot of shots. He is a good goalie.
What do you think wasn’t enough tonight to win because you did come back from two goals down?
We had a couple of breakaways in the first. I think we just have to take our chances. We did get a lucky bounce on our second goal. But when we get breakaways, we have to make sure we’re putting some of those in.