It may be the only true competition fostered by the All-Star Game.
Weber, a standout defenseman for Nashville, and Bruins captain Zdeno Chara have met just five times in the regular season, but the most memorable clashes have come in the last two skills competitions. Chara has long dominated the hardest shot event, but Weber has given Chara his stiffest competition to date.
"It's fun, obviously the point of the competition is having fun and seeing how hard you can shoot," Weber said after the Predators practiced at the Garden on Friday afternoon in advance of Saturday’s matinee showdown with the Bruins. "And obviously he's got the hardest shot in the league."
Chara proved that in Carolina in 2011 when Weber was leading with a blast of 104.8 mph. That was until Chara's final shot, when he beat his own record with a 105.9 mph rocket. This year in Ottawa, Weber bettered that mark himself with a 106.0 blast, only to have Chara again shatter the record at 108.8 mph, plus another blast of 107.0 in the finals going head-to-head with Weber.
"It's not that big a deal," Weber said. "I'm at the reality where I know how hard he shoots, and it just keeps getting harder. All I can do is shoot as hard as I can and maybe one day he'll retire and I can catch up to him."
Weber added that, "I admire the way [Chara] plays," but things will be a little less friendly when the two defensive titans clash on Saturday.
"I don't think we'll be trying to outshoot each other as far as hardest shot," Weber said. "I think it'll be two teams that want to win. They obviously lost their last game and we lost ours, so it's going to be two desperate teams. It’s going to be a good game."
Weber holds the slight edge so far in that head-to-head matchup. The numbers are similar with Weber posting 2-0-2 totals with 18 shots and a plus-1 to Chara's 1-1-2 and 22 shots and a plus-1, but Weber's Predators have won three of the five meetings.
Weber does have some help, as he's long been paired with fellow All-Star Ryan Suter on arguably the league's best defensive pairing.
"It's great," Weber said. "I think any guy that's played with someone for that long will tell you how much easier it is. You get to know the way each other plays and a lot of times you don’t even need to talk to each other out there. You just know where each other's going and what they're going to be doing."
The question is how long that pairing will remain together in Nashville, as Weber is due to become a restricted free agent this summer and Suter is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent after the season. That's not a question Weber is willing to answer right now though.
"I'm not dealing with that until another time," Weber said. "I dealt with all that during the summer and it was a lot of stress, so we're just focused on winning here now."
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