NASHVILLE – Before today, Shea Weber and David Poile kept quiet as the Predators organization was contemplating whether to match Weber’s 14-year, $110 million offer sheet with the Philadelphia Flyers. Weber’s agents, however, specifically Kevin Epp and Jarrett Bousquet, felt the need to speak for the Predators captain.
Epp and Bousquet went on radio shows and told members of the media and painted a picture that Weber was dead-set on becoming a Philadelphia Flyer because Nashville was entering a rebuilding process.
“I didn’t like to hear that,” said Poile at today’s celebratory press conference outside of Bridgestone Arena. “Obviously I’m hoping that is his thoughts and not Shea’s thoughts. I guess you could say if we didn’t have Shea we could be rebuilding, but with Shea I don’t see that.”
On a conference call today, Weber made his first public comments since the offer sheet was signed. He stressed that his agents’ words weren’t necessarily a direct image of his feelings.
“That was just the business side,” Weber said. “I was never a part of any of that, I didn’t make any statements publicly. I love the city of Nashville, I love the fans, I love my teammates.”
Many people believe Weber isn’t committed to the long term in small-market Nashville. By CBA rules, the Predators would have to wait a year to trade him. But judging by Weber’s comments today, a trade doesn’t interest him at all.
“I’m comfortable staying (in Nashville) for the rest of my career. I think I made that clear to the organization. We are trying to get a no-movement clause because we are committed to staying there … Now that this is over with, it’s a place I can see myself for the rest of my career.”
Weber repeatedly said that signing the offer sheet was the “business side” of the game. There is a possibility that the ever-popular long-term contracts won’t be allowed in the new CBA. With those negotiations ongoing and the Sept. 15 deadline less than two months away, Weber and his camp felt this could be his only chance to become the NHL’s highest-paid defenseman.
“We utilized the CBA the best way we could while it’s the way it is. It worked out great … The team stepped up and showed that they are going to spend with the best teams,” said Weber.
“(The Predators) are not backing down. It’s a situation where a lot of people doubted them. They said from the beginning that if there was an offer sheet they were going to match it. Obviously they were challenged and they stepped up, and that’s exactly what we were looking for.”