Shea Weber and Filip Forsberg were once All-Stars together for the Nashville Predators. In the case of the 2018 All-Star Game, they seem likely to share a bond in being injured beyond that point (on Jan. 28).
The Montreal Canadiens provided an update that Weber is still in a protective boot and is “doubtful until after the All-Star Break.”
The 32-year-old hasn’t played since Dec. 16, when the Canadiens fell to the Ottawa Senators during the 100 NHL Classic. Habs Eyes on the Prize notes that Weber would miss 16 games in a row if he manages to play in Montreal’s first game after that break, which would be on Jan. 30.
Hockey players sometimes beat such timelines, yet there are also cases in which unexpected setbacks happen.
The Canadiens play seven of their 10 remaining January games in Montreal, so it’s a shame that they probably won’t have their top defenseman available to try to make the most of that home-cooking.
While the Predators play their next two games on the road, they’ll miss Forsberg in a similar way. The talented scorer is out four-to-six weeks with an upper-body injury, which has to be a bitter pill to swallow in the highly competitive Central Division.
Nashville has a generally home-heavy schedule for the next two months, so the Preds might struggle to gain ground without Forsberg, an underrated scorer.
Lineup implications for both teams
At the moment, the Predators are going with a top line of Calle Jarnkrok, Ryan Johansen, and Viktor Arvidsson in Forsberg’s absence, with Jarnkrok in Forsberg’s spot. Nashville might have to mull over splitting up the impressive second(?) line of Kevin Fiala, Kyle Turris, and Craig Smith over the next few weeks, or maybe move up someone like Scott Hartnell if Jarnkrok can’t cut it with that top trio.
Either way, Forsberg will be missed, although it might be useful for Nashville to experiment with different combinations. Freak injuries to Fiala and Johansen during the 2017 Stanley Cup Final should impress upon the Predators the need to be flexible.
With Weber out, Left Wing Lock projects a Habs top pairing of Karl Alzner and Jeff Petry at the moment. Not ideal for a team trying to fight its way back to playoff relevance, but sometimes things break that way, especially for defensemen with the sort of mileage (not to mention the rugged style) as a player like Weber.
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.