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A 12-year veteran who has played in Montreal, Vancouver, and Nashville, defenseman Yannick Weber is no stranger to travel.
The native Swiss signed with the Penguins on Wednesday but was unable to arrange a flight to Boston, where the Penguins were in the middle of a two-game series against the Bruins.
So he decided to drive from Nashville – he was previously a member of the Predators – to Pittsburgh.
« I was supposed to meet the team in Boston – drive from Nashville to Pittsburgh and then drive to Boston – and unfortunately we were stuck in a snow storm in Kentucky, of all places, » Weber said via video conference in front of the street of his new team Game against the New York Rangers. “I have to spend the night on the street. I was lucky enough to make it to Pittsburgh at some point and then meet the team here in New York. »
“The first trip was Nashville to Pittsburgh … with the blizzard it was more like 10. It was me and my fiancé who pulled up. Audiobooks, podcasts. This is probably the best way to kill some time on the street these days. There really wasn’t much to see. It was snowy and not really pretty. It was about six hours from Pittsburgh to New York, but it was a breeze. I had to answer a lot of texts (messages), there were a lot of calls that I had to answer, a lot of family members who wanted to contact me to find out the news that was just coming out. Luckily it didn’t feel like after 16 hours, but I’m glad it’s behind me. »
The penguins signed Weber from the street – or more precisely from the autobahn – because five of their current defenders had been injured.
Weber has been a member of the Predators for the past four seasons and participated in the team’s training camp as a non-squad participant. However, he was released from his professional testing contract on January 13th. Even so, he was able to find some ice cream in Nashville and maintain his stamina to some extent while you wait for possible inquiries.
« I could still skate there and prepare, » Weber said. “In the few days between the Predators’ decision and the call from Pittsburgh, I was just trying to stay in shape just because I knew something could happen. It was good. I could skate in Nashville. … It should be pretty smooth transition. »
Right-handed Weber (5-foot-11, 200 pounds) previously played for coach Mike Sullivan in Vancouver when Sullivan was assistant coach during the 2013-14 season.
« I’ve had an established season with him, » said Sullivan. « He’s a good, solid player. He’s got a big shot from the offensive blue line. He sees the ice pretty well. When I got him in Vancouver, he was on one of our power play sessions. But he’s a good, solid one Two-way defender. We’re excited to add him to our group especially in the circumstances we are currently in from an injury point of view. He’s a really good professional, he works extremely hard. We think he’ll be really good at fit our group. »
Weber, who was used for the bottom pair of the Predators last season, appeared in 41 games and scored three points (one goal, two assists). The 32-year-old posted 2:01 p.m. Ice Age per competition in 2019-20.
The Penguins officially called Weber back from their taxi team on Saturday morning, but it remains to be seen whether he will make his Penguin debut against the Rangers.
Sullivan seems happy with the idea of using Weber, although so far as a member of the organization he has been limited to a single morning skate session.
« He went through Nashville’s training camp so he could have that foundation on this particular team, » said Sullivan. « But every time you join a new team there are certain trends in the league where many teams play in similar ways. There are subtleties in every game that are different. » Priorities are different. And there are tactical differences. We will work with (Weber) to bring it up to date. However, we do not want to give him too much information too soon and overload him. It is debilitating, or it can be debilitating. We give him the basics and build on that foundation.
“But (Weber) is a good professional. He’s been in the league for a while. He understands where his strengths lie and how he can help teams. »
Weber, who signed a one-year, two-way deal worth at least $ 700,000, is grateful to be back in the league, especially with a high profile team like the Penguins.
« I had some bad memories (the penguins), » said Weber, who was a member of the Predators team that lost the 2017 Stanley Cup final to the penguins. « So it’s nice to be on this side. I’ve been in the league for a long time now. Pittsburgh has always been a powerhouse as long as I’ve been in the league. It’s really hard to do as an organization for so long. If you are just come in and know that there is a group of veterans here who have had a lot of success as a team and as individuals, you can definitely feel it. There is a willingness to win on this team. There is a hunger to get back into winning season wanting to return.
« It’s a great opportunity for me to be here and a team that wants to win and has people who have succeeded and want more of it. I’m really happy to be a part of it. »
• The penguins are supposed to start the goalkeeper Casey DeSmith against the Rangers. In three games this season, DeSmith has a 2-0 record and 2.76 goals against the average and a savings of 0.871 percent.
• The penguins have recalled defense attorneys Kevin Czuczman and P.O. Joseph changed from emergency to regular.
• The Rangers are expected to start goalkeeper Alexandar Georgiev. In three games this season Georgiev has a 1: 2-0 record with 2.66 goals against the average and a saving of 0.896 percent.
Seth Rorabaugh is a contributor to Tribune Review. You can contact Seth by email at [email protected] or on Twitter.
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