MONTREAL – Captain of the Montreal Canadiens, Shea Weber was kept on the sidelines by senior management of the Canadiens, who refused to give him a chance to address the fans as part of the season-end report.
Not convinced that the main interested person really wanted to answer questions about his future. But the final decision came from Jeff Gorton, Kent Hughes and the entire staff.
Kent Hughes defended the move by addressing the complexities of his contract situation and the health implications associated with NHL long-term injury rules and insurance.
I do not mind.
But that doesn’t change the fact that it would have been normal to ask the captain questions about his current situation and the fact that he has already retired. Forced retirement due to injury. But a retreat nonetheless. A pension that prevents him from taking on his role as captain.
And therein lies the biggest problem. I have nothing against Shea Weber deciding to remain silent about his personal situation. It is his strictest right. A right that I respect.
I am against the management of the Canadian dismissing his captain from any of the roles associated with his title.
The Canadiens have always prided themselves on being the largest organization in the NHL. One of the greatest in professional sports. Being the captain of the largest organization in the NHL or one of the largest in professional sports comes with responsibilities.
Responsibilities Weber has not fulfilled this year. His absence from last fall’s first home game and in the team photo contrast with the role the Canadiens captains have taken over the years.
Weber showed up at the Bell Center rink Friday night because the Canadiens wanted the retirement gift given to equipment manager Pierre Gervais, who is retiring after 35 years of loyal service, to be given by the former (Bob Gainey). and the last captain with whom he shared the locker room. Why not take the opportunity to let him take stock of his situation?
We all know that Weber will no longer play hockey in the NHL. Be it in Montreal or anywhere else. His contract will likely be swapped one, two, three times over the next four seasons to help teams deal with the salary cap. But at nearly 37, after a full season of inactivity, it’s impossible, or almost, that he can make a comeback.
In these circumstances, it would have been better to revoke his title of captain last fall. It would have avoided all the controversy that reigned over the captain’s status during the season. A controversy that has taken on disproportionate proportions due to the captain’s absence last Sunday during the ceremony in honor of Guy Lafleur.
The Canadian’s management has received very bad criticism of Weber’s absence. Several staff members were even outraged at the excessiveness of certain comments. By the fact that these waves of criticism overshadowed the tribute the Habs wanted to pay to the “Blonde Demon”.
A clarification is needed here: it is not the absence of Shea Weber that has sparked the ire of thousands of supporters and not just a few journalists. At least that’s my opinion. Rather, it is the captain’s absence. From the captain of the organization that prides itself on being the greatest in the NHL. The nuance is important. It is crucial to understand the nature of criticism. Because when we show loud and clear that we’re one of the biggest organizations in sport, we need to use the resources to take it on. Especially when you pay tribute to one of the best players who has defended your colors, your logo.
Shea Weber expressed her condolences to the Lafleur family. With what I know of the sincere, sincere, respectful and respected man in the NHL that is Shea Weber, I’m not in the least surprised that he did. And not in the least surprised that these condolences were felt.
In addition, on Sunday or Monday, he will pay tribute to Guy Lafleur by going to the Bellencentrum where the remains of the deceased will be displayed in the burning chapel. Barring an unforeseen event, he will also, accompanied by a majority of Habs players, attend a national funeral to be celebrated on Tuesday.
This presence of the captain and the players is much more than symbolic. It is necessary when you consider what Guy Lafleur, like the other big players in the organization who later became loyal ambassadors, have done for the good of the team, the jersey, the logo.
If Weber’s contract is exchanged, the Canadian can find a successor. But if the Canadian fails to get Weber’s contract on the payroll of a rival team, he will have to be stripped of the captaincy. For his good and for the good of the team.
Who will replace him?
Brendan Gallagher who will be in Montreal as long as his body allows him to give everything for the cause of his teammates, for the cause of his team?
Nick Suzuki? Unless we consider that he is not yet mature enough to fulfill all the responsibilities that come with this title more than just an honorary title.
Hard to say.
As Kent Hughes admitted in his report Saturday morning, much of the leadership came late in the season from new head coach Martin St-Louis.
He will do it again next year.
What if the Canadiens are unable to put a team on the ice that can actually compete for a spot in the playoffs next season and the year ahead will be just as tough, if slightly less, than the net ended year. better not appoint a captain.
We will see.
But if this is the case, it will really be necessary to consider removing the C from Weber. And that’s nothing against the imposing player he was and always has been. Nothing against the even more imposing leader he was and always has been.
It will simply be a matter of respecting the responsibilities that come with the title of captain of the Montreal Canadiens. Responsibilities that Weber was unable or simply unable to fulfill this year.
Nothing anymore. Nothing less.