The backup quarterback
Drafted just under two years ago, in 2007, Weber is already well ahead of schedule. Called up as an emergency fill-in for banged up defensemen Andrei Markov and Mathieu Schneider, the 20-year-old hasn’t looked out of place. After making his career playoff debut in Game 2 in Boston, Weber was in on both Montreal goals in Game 3.
“He wasn’t put in an easy situation and he’s handled it all really well. We needed someone to step in with all of our injuries and he did that,” said Koivu. “He’s got a lot of talent and a great shot.”
Weber’s aforementioned shot was good enough to beat Tim Thomas in the second period to tie the game 2-2. His ability to start the attack led to the game’s first marker, a goal off of a rush down the wing by Christopher Higgins, who was sprung by a Weber pass.
“He made a good play on my goal and took a nice shot on his goal, too,” said Higgins. “Yannick really held his own out there. He’ll play many other playoff games for us in the future; I’m not worried about him.”
Named the night’s third star, the young blue-liner secured his place in the Canadiens’ history books, becoming just the fourth defenseman in franchise history to register a playoff point before the age of 21. Weber follows in the footsteps of Petr Svoboda, who chipped in with a goal and an assist in 1985, Eric Desjardins, who did the same in 1989, and Weber’s new teammate Mathieu Schneider, who notched a goal and three helpers for the Habs in the 1990 postseason.
“For sure it’s nice to get your first point and score your first NHL goal, but if you lose the game it doesn’t mean anything,” offered Weber, who was a starter in the AHL All-Star game earlier this season. “I felt pretty good out there. I created some good chances, but I know I still have a lot to learn.”
Soon enough, the rest of the NHL’s teams will need to learn a lot about him as well.
Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com