Predators defenseman Shea Weber didn't skate with the team at practice on Thursday after suffering an upper-body injury in a 4-3 win over Winnipeg on Tuesday. The captain is listed as day-to-day entering Friday's game against New Jersey at Bridgestone Arena. “In terms of moving someone in there, it's a big deal if he doesn't play,” coach Barry Trotz said. “It's a big hole we have to fill. It'll probably be the youngest group we've ever put together on the ice with Michael Del Zotto being the lead guy, I'm guessing around 240 in terms of games.” Del Zotto, acquired from the Rangers last week in exchange for Kevin Klein, has actually played 296 NHL games. The defense corps’ experience decreases rapidly after Del Zotto: Roman Josi (145 career games), Ryan Ellis (117), Victor Bartley (60), Seth Jones (55) and Mattias Ekhom (40). “Hopefully, we’ll accept the challenge,” Trotz said. “Everybody goes down or out and other guys get more minutes and opportunities, so if Shea isn’t able to play then that will be the case.” Jones is bracing for the possibility of Weber being out of the lineup. “It’s definitely tough when you lose a guy like him,” Jones said. “He’s our leader and he kind of makes us go in many ways. But I think other guys on the d-corps and the team will definitely step up for the challenge.” Jones won’t put extra pressure on himself to fill the void for Weber, who has 13 goals and 23 assists. “I’m going to play the same way I always do, at least I try to,” Jones said. “No one’s going to be like Shea Weber, no matter how hard they try.” First impression: Del Zotto arrived in Nashville for the first time as a Predator on Wednesday after playing his first four games on the road. “Everyone talks so highly of the city and says it’s an amazing place to live, so I’m excited to get a little bit more comfortable here and call it my new home,” he said. Del Zotto, a first-round draft pick in 2008, said it was an advantage to spend his first week on the road with his new team.
Predators brace for possibility of injured Shea Weber's absence
Tennessean | Jan 31