What do you do when 17,000-plus of your former fans are all standing, cheering, and giving you a standing ovation? If you’re Shea Weber, you block it out.
Not in an arrogant way. Not out of malice. You block it out, simply, because the emotional upheaval may be too difficult to try and fight.
“I didn’t want to look at the video to be honest with you,” Weber said. “I was a little bit afraid I might get emotional. Obviously, it meant a lot, and was very special, and it was special to be back in the building where I spent a lot of years, and even better to get a win.
“I tried to block it out. Like I said, I'm not good with dealing with my emotions, so I just tried to block it out.”
The two-minute long tribute video showcased the highlights from Weber’s Predator career. Notable achievements such as his draft day, being named team captain, his three All-Star teams, being a three-time Norris Trophy finalist, and winning the Mark Messier Leadership Award were re-lived in Nashville.
During the video, Weber was visibly trying to hold back his emotions. He admitted to trying to avoid watching the video and just focus on hockey. However, he did tell reporters that he would watch the video, eventually.
“Probably, eventually, when I get some down time I’ll take a look at it,” he said. “Obviously, they put some time and effort into it, and like I said it was special. So I’m sure I’ll have it in the vault somewhere and I can watch it.”
Weber has played in many different prominent games including rivalry games, playoff games, and the Olympics. Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena, however, was a different animal.
“It’s up there,” Weber said. “There are different emotional games; this is definitely one of them. Obviously, it started yesterday with getting here and seeing old friends and stuff but I’m glad we got it done.
“Obviously the friendships are still going to be there, we still keep in contact, but today was game day and all business. It was a fun game, and it’s obviously always fun when you win.”
It was odd for players, coaches, and even the media, watching Weber play, not wearing Predator gold. Shea Weber unquestionably left his mark on hockey in the city of Nashville, and Tuesday night he did so again, this time not in a good way.
Weber scored the tying goal at 4:26 of the third period, and more importantly, left Nashville with a win.
“It feels good to win,” he said. “So whether that is scoring a goal or blocking a shot, it just happened tonight to be scoring a goal. So that was big.”
Added Montreal coach Michel Therrien: “It’s a really emotional night for Shea. It was very special, and the tribute that the Predators showed, and the reaction of the fans, show a lot of respect to him. We could tell our guys were really proud of him.”
The result of the game may not be what the people of Nashville were hoping for, but one thing is clear: Shea Weber will always be a valued member of this franchise and this city.
Thank you for the memories, Shea.