There are those professional athletes who seek to turn the spotlight on themselves and there are those who find the spotlight painful and seek to deflect attention to their teammates.

Put Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber firmly in the second category.
With the 2014 Sochi Olympics looming, Weber leads NHL defensemen in goals with 15, and as a right-handed shot could find a natural spot on Canada's first defense pair with left-handed shooting Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Owner of as powerful a slap shot as exists in the world today -- his goal against Germany in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics that went through the twine no doubt will receive its share of replays once the Sochi tournament commences -- Weber might have as good a chance as any player to score the kind of memorable goal that would earn a measure of international fame.

If that happened, would Weber, an avid follower of the NFL, indulge in a Richard Sherman moment on camera?

The notion makes Weber chuckle.

"No," he said. "It's definitely about the team, especially, hockey’s a team game. It's not one guy. It's everybody."

For Weber, the Predators captain, it is all about the team. And lately he has been carrying his team. In the past 26 games he has 25 points (eight goals, 17 assists) to help Nashville get back in the race for the Stanley Cup Playoffs even as they enter their fourth month without No. 1 goalie Pekka Rinne, who is recovering from a hip infection. Nashville, 9-5-5 in its past 19 games, entered Tuesday four points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

If a player could be peaking at the right time for the Olympics, then Weber might be it. His nine power-play goals tie him for fifth in the NHL; je and the Boston Bruins’ Zdeno Chara are the only defensemen in the top 30 in that category. He is tied for fourth in the NHL in points by a defenseman with 38, a total that places him second on the Predators, one point behind center David Legwand.

Weber averages 26:42 of ice time per game, ranking him fourth in the League. Since Dec. 10 he has logged at least 29:40 seven times, and five times he's played at least 30 minutes.

"It's been good," said Weber, a big man at 6-foot-4, 233 pounds, of his workload. "We've got a lot of guys who are capable of playing big roles and big minutes back here. It definitely keeps you in the game and it's easy to stay into it and ready when you're playing that many minutes."

The only statistical blemish on Weber's record this season is his minus-8 rating. He plays for one of the lower-scoring teams in the NHL -- the Predators enter Tuesday 22nd in scoring at 2.47 goals per game -- and since Nashville gets many of its goals from its seventh-ranked power play (which largely is fueled by Weber), his plus/minus suffers.

After a 3-2 overtime win Saturday against the New Jersey Devils in which Weber scored twice, including the game-winner, Predators coach Barry Trotz called his two-time Norris Trophy finalist "our building block" and a "difference maker."

"I keep saying: People better pay attention to Shea Weber," Trotz said. "In terms of the plus/minus, don't look at that stat. I think he's having maybe his best year as a pro and no one's even taken notice."