Nashville Predators name Shea Weber their new captain

sheaweberthenurturer.jpgShea Weber is one of the best (and most underrated) defenseman in the league. After Jason Arnott was traded, the Nashville Predators needed a new captain … and it didn’t take them long to choose the towering defenseman with that powerful shot. Here’s more from the Predators and NHL.com.

“In addition to being one of the top young defenseman in the League today, Shea is a natural leader, and we are confident he has the respect of his teammates, opponents, the Predators organization and its fans,” Nashville GM David Poile said. “He becomes the first Predators draft pick to be named captain, and has been part of the culture and belief system we have worked hard to create.”

Former captain Jason Arnott was traded to the New Jersey Devils last month. Weber becomes the fifth captain in the franchise’s history.

Weber, a second-round pick of the Predators in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, will be entering his sixth season with the team. He scored a career-high 23 goals in 2008-09 and in 320 NHL games has recorded 64 goals, 166 points and a plus-16 rating. His cannon of a shot from the blue line has helped him put up 30 power-play goals during that time.

Defense is the backbone of the Predators’ grind-it-out style, so it makes even more sense that they went with Weber (along with the fact that he is far and away the team’s best player). Being that the team allowed Dan Hamhuis to walk via unrestricted free agency, they’ll lean on Weber and fellow blueliner Ryan Suter even more than they did in 2009-10.

Weber saw a slight decrease in production from 08-09 to last season (53 to 43 points) but was a useful member of the gold medal winning Canadian Olympic team. At $4.5 million per year, he’s easily one of the biggest “steals” in the league.

Oh, he also shot a puck through a net at the Olympics. In other words, Weber is manly and awesome. NHL teams are naming young players their captains left and right these days, but in this case, it makes a lot of sense. Wise move, Predators.

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    ‘If he was in Toronto, there’d be no Carey Price, media-wise’ – Boudreau on Dubnyk

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    The Minnesota Wild aren’t exactly dominating the NHL, so it might be easy to ignore just how outstanding Devan Dubnyk has been to start the 2016-17 season.

    We’re talking “Carey Price and Tuukka Rask territory.”

    While his 11-6-3 record won’t blow anyone’s mind, his 1.65 GAA and .946 save percentage are jaw-dropping. With Dubnyk doing special things, Bruce Boudreau felt the need to say weird things* after Dubnyk helped the Wild beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 on Wednesday.

    “If he was in Toronto, there would be no Carey Price … I’m just saying media-wise,” Boudreau said after the game, as you can see in this video:

    That’s some Haagen-Daz level praise from Boudreau.

    Even if Dubnyk was in a bigger market, there’d probably be room in our hockey thoughts for Dubnyk and the consensus best goalie in the world, but Boudreau’s larger point is taken: Dubnyk has been right there with the best early on this season.

    And, let’s be honest, we shouldn’t be too hard on Boudreau or he might stop saying … well, things like this:

    Never change, Bruce.

    * – Unlike his comments about “Die Hard,” which were amusingly on-point.

    Trademark headaches for the Vegas Golden Knights?

    LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 22:  The team name and logo for the Vegas Golden Knights are displayed on T-Mobile Arena's video mesh wall after the Vegas Golden Knights was announced as the name for the Las Vegas NHL franchise at T-Mobile Arena on November 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The team will begin play in the 2017-18 season.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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    It’s difficult to tell just how big of a headache this might be, but SBNation‘s Mary Clarke uncovered quite the eyebrow-raiser on Wednesday: the Vegas Golden Knights’ trademark request was rejected by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

    You can read the 164-page document here (if you’re weird), but the gist is that “registration of the applied-for mark is refused because of a likelihood of confusion with the mark” used by the College of Saint Rose Golden Knights.

    Clarke summarized it simply enough:

    Essentially, the logos and stylizations are too similar. It’s baffling the NHL and Vegas didn’t go through the trademark process before announcing the name and logo last month. Yet, all is not lost. Later down, the document states the Black Knight Sports and Entertainment group “may respond to the refusal by submitting evidence and arguments in support of registration.”

    Sports Illustrated’s Alex Prewitt received this release from the Vegas Golden Knights, which indicated that they will respond to the refusal (and also noted how teams like the Boston Bruins and UCLA Bruins share names without issues).

    There seem to be some mixed messages, at least if you note owner Bill Foley’s response to NBC Las Vegas’ Amber Dixon:

    Hmm.

    This could merely be a messy issue that really doesn’t cause anything to go off track, even if people are certainly having some fun at the league and team’s expense.

    The logo and other marks seem to be the biggest sticking point, so compare the two for yourself:

    Again, this could all be a mild disruption, but it’s an odd situation. And, to some, a great laugh.

    Related: There also might be some issues involving the Army.

    Capitals manage OT win after coughing up lead to Bruins

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    It wasn’t pretty, and they might have lost key defenseman Matt Niskanen to injury, but at least the Washington Capitals managed a win against the Boston Bruins.

    For a while, it was looking pretty ugly.

    After going up 3-0, the Capitals went more than a period’s worth of time without even managing a shot on goal. Whether you lean more toward giving the Bruins credit for fighting back or beating up the Capitals for “sitting on a lead,” it’s staggering that such a dangerous offense could be held in check for so long.

    Luckily for Washington, Nicklas Backstrom salvaged the night with an overtime goal to give the Capitals a 4-3 overtime win.

    Both teams have had a knack for extending games beyond regulation lately, by the way:

    Capitals over the last three games:
    Shootout loss to the Lightning
    Overtime win against the Sabres
    Overtime win tonight against the Bruins

    Bruins over the last five games:
    Shootout loss against Flyers
    Shootout win against Hurricanes
    Regulation win against Sabres
    Overtime win against Panthers
    Overtime loss to the Capitals

    Maybe that’s what gets it done in 2016-17: finding ways to carve out wins and shake out rough patches, like the Caps did tonight.

    Matt Niskanen injured by Patrice Bergeron boarding hit

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    Patrice Bergeron doesn’t have a reputation for dirty hits, but he drew the Washington Capitals’ ire for a hit on Matt Niskanen.

    The Capitals consider Niskanen “probable” to return to Wednesday’s game against the Boston Bruins with what they’re calling an upper-body injury. Bergeron received a two-minute boarding penalty for the infraction.

    (Check out video of the hit above.)

    The Capitals’ Twitter acknowledged the brewing bad feelings.

    Does Bergeron deserve supplemental discipline for that boarding hit?

    Update: The Capitals won the game 4-3 in overtime, but Niskanen did not return. Click here for more on the Caps’ victory.