Now that Shea Weber is wearing the ‘C’ there’s one thing his teammates do not want to see.
It’s apparent to one and all when the Nashville Predators’ new captain is unhappy. All he has to do is give them a certain look.
“It’s ‘I’m going to rip your throat out,’” forward Steve Sullivan said. “He’s definitely got a look to him. You see the emotion in his face. You know.
‘It’s very, very clear when he gets mad and he’s not happy.”
Weber is not a big talker. He never has been, and he has no plans to change now that he has succeeded Jason Arnott as the voice of the locker room, the primary conduit between his teammates and coaches, and the player expected to set the tone in practices and games.
He is the first player drafted by the Predators to hold that spot with the team. All of his predecessors (Arnott, Kimmo Timonen, Greg Johnson and Tom Fitzgerald) started their careers with other teams.
“I don’t see a lot changing,” Weber said. “My teammates don’t see me any differently. I’m not going to treat them any differently. Obviously, there’s a little more responsibility that comes with that, but that’s just part of it.”
Then again, the look speaks volumes.
Most often, he develops it in response to the actions of an opponent during a game. Something will set him off and he will come to the bench seething then go back out to the ice and set his sights toward evening the score in which ever way is required at that point.
That’s not to say that others within the organization – players, coaches, staff members – have not gotten it in the past or will not get it now that people are looking to him.
“I don’t think Shea will have to say a whole lot,” coach Barry Trotz said. “His actions speak volumes. When he’s upset you know he’s upset – he gives you a stare-down that would scare most people.
“I’ve seen the opposition shrink from it, and guys who don’t know him … they just know it’s time to stay clear.”
Added Sullivan, who along with defenseman Ryan Suter will be an alternate captain: “I think it will serve him very well. We have a very young hockey club. I think we have a couple guys who can be vocal in the locker room and aren’t afraid to do that. I don’t think Shea needs to. When he does speak, it’s not just hot air. When he speaks everyone is definitely paying attention. I think everyone reads his body language very much too and knows what to expect.”
The funny thing is how quickly the 25-year-old’s visage is transformed in those moments.
“My parents and I always called it a snapping quality,” center Colin Wilson said. “He’s a guy who has a snapping quality – he’s one of the nicest guys I know but when he’s out there and someone (ticks) him off he just snaps, a light goes on and he is very angry.”
Perhaps the only person who cannot fully appreciate the impact of his glare is Weber himself. He’s never seen it.
“I’ve heard,” he said. “I don’t know what it is, but I’ve heard people tell me that. I’m not sure, something just kind of clicks when I get (mad). It’s just what happens.”