Tuesday provided an interesting mix of players going on or off the injured reserve, but the most promising news was more of a baby step in the right direction. Shea Weber practiced with the Nashville Predators yesterday, but there’s still no timetable for his return to NHL action.
It’s unlikely that you need to be told how important the hard-shooting defenseman is to the Predators, but the fact that he’s the team’s leader in points (along with less surprising categories) should show how vital he is to their success. That being said, there is a silver lining to his absence as Ryan Suter gets a chance to show that he’s more than just the Robin to Weber’s Batman.
(Of course, Suter’s sans-Shea success might be useful when it’s time for him to sign his next contract, so there’s that.)
Concussions have been a spirit-crushing problem in the NHL, but they haven’t been uniformly damning, as Claude Giroux’s comeback is proof that a player can return to action at near full-strength with surprising speed. Every case is different, however, and Nashville is wise to tread lightly considering Weber’s physical style and undeniable importance.
“Nope,” Dubinsky said. “You know, I’ve played the same way my whole career and I’m not going to change. The next time I have an opportunity to play (Crosby), I’m going to play him hard.”
In case you’re wondering, that next opportunity comes on Dec. 21 in Pittsburgh, assuming that both players are healthy and not suspended.
One can understand Dubinsky’s perspective, although such honesty would be that much more interesting if there’s another incident with Crosby. His initial reaction to the hit was interestingly candid, admitting that his “stick rode up” on his adversary.
Would that stance – which, from a harsher view, might seem flippant to Dubinsky’s critics – open the door for a bigger future bit of a discipline?
Maybe, maybe not … but at least his comments aren’t as inflammatory as what John Tortorella said (at least on the record).
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