Article content continued
Shea Weber was one of them.
The Sicamous, B.C. native, who played his 1,000th career NHL regular-season game Tuesday, purposely hid an injury so Olympic head coach Mike Babcock would keep him in the back-end mix. It even got to the point where Nashville Predators coach Barry Trotz got into the act, texting Babcock that the big blueliner wasn’t quite himself in a game against the Detroit Red Wings.
“I had a fracture,” said Weber. “Obviously, it wasn’t that bad because I could still skate and managed to have a decent year with it. It was tough when it first happened because I wasn’t playing very well, but he (Trotz) was trying to keep it pretty hush without saying what really happened.”
Trotz marvelled at Weber’s resolve to keep playing to stay on the Team Canada radar and claim gold.
“I knew Shea was in the mix and they (Team Canada) thought highly of him,” said Trotz. “But he struggled. He had trouble turning one way and he was in a tremendous amount of pain. We thought about him not going to the All-Star Game, but he wanted him to keep it (injury) quiet. I think he’s one of the emerging defencemen in this league.”
Weber, 35, has 220 career goals and through 1,000 games, only six other defencemen scored more. Paul Coffey had 339 at that plateau followed by Denis Potvin (293), Ray Bourque (281), Phil Housley (277), Al MacInnis (256) and Doug Wilson (234).
And few have hammered the puck harder than Weber, who was clocked at 108.5 miles per hour in the 2015 hardest-shot competition at the All-Star Game.
“I haven’t got in the way of one and they’re not fun to get in front of — just from watching other guys,” said Horvat. “He’s a heck of a player and has had an unbelievable career.”