It happens often, but particularly when the Nashville Predators travel to Canada. An overzealous journalist, seeing Nashville's payroll and location, says to himself, "Aha! It doesn't snow much there. They don't spend much. They have a really good player from Canada. I bet he doesn't want to play there anymore," and immediately, from nothing, he has a story that while seems legitimate, is littered with bad conclusions and misinformation.
Well, they're at it again, with a familiar target: Shea Weber's contract negotiations. Ed Willes, of the Vancouver Province, theorizes that Weber might want out because he'd "like to win." That's not an actual quote from Weber, you see, merely what Welles thinks Weber might say to the Predators' brass:
So here's the choice if you're Weber. Do you commit to the Preds, knowing they'll always be competitive but they might lack the resources to rise to the next level? Or do you tell the organization, "Look, I've given you six good seasons. I'm going to be unrestricted in another season and I'd like to win. Why don't you move me while you can still get something for me?"
The story goes on to quote Predators' assistant general manager Paul Fenton a total of three times, and I suppose, the money quote that Willes is drawing his "theory" from is as follows:
We've got some kids coming but, let's be honest, they're not the calibre of Shea Weber. It would hurt an awful lot. But if that's the hand we were dealt, we'll move on.
Maybe I'm missing something, but it doesn't seem as if Fenton gave Willes all that much to work with, essentially saying that "it'd be bad, but we'd deal" if the Predators lost Weber to free agency or a trade. What else is he supposed to say?
What we have here, frankly, is yet another case of a mainstream media member blowing something out of proportion. It is quite the reach in order to place a spark of hope in the hometown fans that yes, maybe, the Canucks have a chance at acquiring one of the NHL's best defensemen! He's from British Columbia, played in the Olympics here, his contract in a Southern market expires. Yes, surely, he will not want to re-sign with the Predators.
While it's true that we don't have much information on how negotiations are progressing, Willes' sentiments are weak and contrived. Shea Weber is probably the best player in the short history of the team, Peter Forsberg's tenure excepted. Weber is the team captain, and has stated more than once that he's happy in Nashville.
Most of all, though, he's a Nashville Predator, and why Shea Weber would have such a desire to exit a team that is one of the most stable and successful organizations since the lockout, and one where he is the undisputed lead dog is far beyond me. Heck, I'll let him tell you.
"I'm not going anywhere." - Shea Weber, December 16, 2010.