The captain is back.
Shea Weber will make his season debut on Tuesday when Montreal Canadiens face the Carolina Hurricanes.
Il est de retour. ??
He’s back. #GoHabsGo pic.twitter.com/pvh0WfzHSE
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) November 26, 2018
The 33-year-old defenseman missed the team’s first 24 games this season and has not played since Dec. 2017 due to foot and knee injuries, but he told reporters on Monday that he’s ready to go.
“I think I’ve been chomping at the bit (to play) longer than the weekend,” Weber said. “It feels like it’s been a long time waiting for this, but obviously we’re here.”
“[I] should be well rested,” Weber joked.
While Canadiens head coach Claude Julien isn’t expecting Weber to make an impact right away, he’s excited to have him back on the ice.
“It sounds like a cliché, but we’re going to expect him to keep his game simple,” Julien told reporters. “But at the same time, he’s going to be a big boost for our hockey club. His physicality, his leadership and all that stuff. It’s going to be a big boost for us.”
The Canadiens are off to a surprising start through roughly the first quarter of the season as they have 27 points (11-8-5) and hold one of the two wild-card spots as of Monday. Weber said he’s pleased with his team’s performance.
“Yeah, for sure (on what he’s liked from the team so far),” Weber said. “I think we’ve done a lot of good things, especially on the offensive side of the puck. We’re showing the ability to score goals and come back. We’re playing with a lot of speed and injury.”
MORE: Shea Weber the ‘obvious choice’ to become Canadiens’ captain
While Weber was a captain with his previous team, the Nashville Predators, Tuesday night will mark his first game with a “C” on his jersey with the Canadiens. Weber was named the team’s captain in October following the Max Pacioretty trade.
“It’s going to be special for sure,” Weber said on leading the team. “That was a special moment at the start of the year, but obviously not the same as being able to go out there and help the guys out and be a part of the team in a game situation and feel it through that way.”
The three-time Norris Trophy finalist’s talent is much needed by Montreal as it ranks 26th in goals against per game (3.38).
Weber, who was acquired from Nashville for P.K. Subban in 2016, has 23 goals and 58 points to go along with a plus-12 in his first two seasons in Montreal.
In order to make room for Weber, the Canadiens waived defenseman Karl Alzner on Monday. Alzner has one point in eight games this season.