(Seattle) The club management had raised this possibility, but never so clearly. According to Jonathan Drouin, Shea Weber has, for good, put an end to his hockey career.
Posted on October 26, 2021 at 3:50 p.m.
Updated at 4:27 p.m.
The Canadiens captain joined his teammates in Seattle on Monday and notably went to the Seahawks’ football game in the evening. And he still spent some time with them at the arena on Tuesday.
Suffering from several injuries, Weber will not play this season, the team has already confirmed. But no formal announcement had yet been made on his future.
At a press briefing on Tuesday, Jonathan Drouin therefore caused surprise when he candidly stated that the defender had “moved on to something else in his life”.
Weber didn’t put it in those exact words, he said. However, “this is the reality,” insisted the Quebec striker.
“He is in the scouting [recrutement] with Marc [Bergevin, DG du club]. He does something else. He retired, basically. Everyone knows it now, it won’t come back for us. Hockey is over. ”
Unsurprisingly, the organization did not corroborate Drouin’s statement. Weber has not completed his retirement papers and, until further notice, he is on the club’s long-term injured list.
The reason is quite simple, and it is administrative. With five more years to go on the contract, which earns him an average of 7.857 million per season, the consequences of early retirement would be enormous.
If Weber hung up his skates, the Canadian would have to pay off a wage penalty of a few hundred thousand dollars. On the other hand, the Nashville Predators, the team that gave him his pharaonic contract in 2012, would be living a real nightmare.
They would have to spread over time a penalty of more than $ 24 million in order to compensate for the advantage they enjoyed during the first years of the agreement, when Weber’s actual salary was well above his weight on the mass. club salary.
Nick Suzuki, who took to the podium immediately after Drouin, offered a less straightforward interpretation of Weber’s future. And head coach Dominique Ducharme recalled that the defender was “always the captain” of his team.
During the last summer, Marc Bergevin had indicated that Weber was dealing with “a lot of pain”, especially in the knee, thumb and foot. Since 2017, he has had surgery on his foot and knee, in addition to sustaining an ankle injury. A broken thumb also caused him to miss the last matches of the 2020-2021 season. He did, however, appear in his club’s 22 playoff games, averaging over 25 minutes per game.
Assigning an injured player to other tasks within the organization is not unprecedented. Defenseman Chris Pronger, for example, played his last game with the Philadelphia Flyers in November 2012. However, his contract was then valid until 2017. He therefore joined the recruiting staff of the Flyers, which however Offered his contract to the Arizona Coyotes in 2015. That same year, he began working on the NHL Disciplinary Committee and eventually announced his retirement as a player two years later.
The Habs trained in Seattle hours before the very first clash against the Kraken, which recently became the 32e NHL team.
Center Jake Evans did not take part in the skating session, suffering from an injury whose nature was not disclosed. Ducharme mentioned that this injury had inconvenienced the number 71 a few days ago, but that he was nevertheless able to play the last two games of his team, last Thursday and Saturday.
Cédric Paquette will take his place on the fourth line with Artturi Lehkonen and Joel Armia. This is the only modification to the formation of the Habs.
On the Kraken side, head coach Dave Hakstol said he would make some “tweaks” to his roster, but didn’t provide any specifics.
Each of the two teams will be looking for a second victory this season. The meeting will begin at 10 p.m. Quebec time.