Suter, Weber dynamic duo
JASON YORK, QMI Agency
|Predators defencemen Ryan Suter (left) and Shea Weber try to get position on Panthers forward Stephen Weiss at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn., Dec. 11, 2010. (FREDERICK BREEDON/Getty Images/AFP)
OTTAWA - Anyone who listens to my radio show on Team 1200 or knows me well understands ó I have a certain bias toward right-shot defencemen, Iím a big fan of chubby goalies and the Nashville Predators hold a special place close to my heart.
With the all-star game in town this weekend, Shea Weber, one of the favourites to win the Norris trophy, a right-shot defenceman and the Predatorsí captain, will be part of the festivities.
I am a big Weber fan. No. 1, heís a righty and No. 2, he plays for Nashville, but bottom line ... heís the real deal ó big, strong, skates well and is a force whenever heís on the ice.
Most casual hockey fans donít know a lot about the Predators, but they know who Weber is and that his contract is up this summer.
In a lot of ways, Weber, who will be playing in his third all-star game, reminds me of Al MacInnis.
TON OF POISE
Like MacInnis, Weber plays with a ton of poise and the puck flies off his stick much the same as it came off the wooden Sherwoods MacInnis used to use.
While MacInnis got most of the attention back in his days with the Calgary Flames, his partner Gary Suter, a great player in his own right, didnít get the same kind of hype.
Itís incredibly similar to the situation that is going on in Nashville with the tandem of Weber and Suterís nephew Ryan, who will be playing in his first all-star game.
History has a way of repeating itself and as much as Weber reminds me of MacInnis, itís pretty crazy how much Ryan Suter reminds me of Gary Suter.
I got a chance to play against both MacInnis and the older Suter. I always felt Al was an awesome player and deserved all the accolades, but Gary never got enough credit for how great a skater and player he was.
MacInnis and Suter were one of the top defensive tandems of their generation and, for my money, Weber and Suter have been one of the top tandems in the NHL the last few seasons ó they are, without a doubt, the top duo in the league this season.
Calgary, home of the stampede and winner of the Stanley Cup in 1989, was led by MacInnis and Suter.
And now, Nashville, home of country music ó without a Cup, but 9-1 in their last 10 games ó are led by their version of MacInnis and Suter.
The Predators, of course, also get the benefit of outstanding goaltending by Pekka Rinne.
Rinne was signed long term, but Suter is an unrestricted free agent this summer and Weber is a restricted free agent.
If Nashville finds a way to get both players signed, the Predators just might sip from the Cup in the near future.