Another day, another loss for the Montreal Canadiens in overtime. It has become common for this team to work their way through overtime, only to fall in a short time once they get there. As worrisome as the overtime issues are, there is a worry factor that perhaps overshadows these issues and needs to be discussed.
Shea Weber’s decline has either happened quickly or there is something more going on that we currently don’t know.
The evidence from last night is clear. Take a look at the streak leading up to Adam Gaudette’s goal; Weber enters the neutral zone and leaves Joel Edmundson alone to defend a two-on-one.
Stepping up is fine when done correctly, but doing it on your own blue line when your team has all three attackers closer to the red line than your zone is not advised. While it is true that the best case here is a rush for Canadians, the worst case is precisely what happened.
The team had a goal ahead at this point, and Weber has enough experience to know this was a bad place to try what he tried. You could certainly forgive a game like this in a scenario where the team had already lost a few goals and struggled to create something, but it’s hard to forget when that’s what made it possible for the Vancouver Canucks. to get back into the game.
There were points in the game when he got a chance to do the same on the offensive blue line – and should have – but he fell back instead. It may be due to fear of his previous mistake, but the point is, his overall decision-making has been suspect. Add to that that he clearly seems to have lost a step, and you have a major problem on the Habs best pair.
And this lost step is a major concern. He no longer seems to have his ability to clear the front of the net like he did before. Due to his lack of agility, opposing attackers are able to maneuver around him and lose pucks or provide screens for teammates.
He’s not at all the same player we saw in the bubble for the playoffs last season. I wonder if there’s a lingering injury he chooses to sustain that is causing some of these issues on the ice. If so, he needs to show some of his famous leadership and step out of the equation until he can heal.
Canadians are essentially on the water right now. If it’s just a lingering injury, the captain should do the captain’s thing and get out of the way. Rather, if this is the start of a rapid decline, it is a much bigger conundrum for the organization.