(image via nhl.com)
by Eduardo Razo
Over the last six years, Shea Weber has emerged as one of the best defensemen in the National Hockey League. Nonetheless, a Norris Trophy continues to elude the 31-year-old, but much like Leonardo DiCaprio and his Oscar pursuit, he has the potential to win one after this season.
Since his first Oscar nomination in 1994 for his role as Arnie Grape in the film What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. DiCaprio would always be the runner-up, never the winner. After coming away empty handed in five previous nominations, it became a running gag.
Much like DiCaprio, Weber has fell short in his three nominations for the Norris. His best opportunity for a Norris came after the 2011-2012 season, where he happened to be one of the favorites. Nevertheless, fate had other ideas, as the award would go to Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators.
In one of the more controversial decisions, Weber would be denied even though he would possess the better defensive numbers that season.
Here is the advance numbers side by side that season for Weber and Karlsson (stats via Corsica Hockey):
Moreover, DiCaprio has suffered the same fate as Weber.
Take his role as Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street; it has been regarded as his best performance to date. However, the competition that year for Best Actor would be stiff. With the likes of Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave), Bruce Dern (Nebraska), Christian Bale (American Hustle), and winner Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club) receiving nominations.
Making matters worse, he would be dealt a second blow, as the film would be nominated for best picture. Nonetheless, it would fail to haul in an Oscar as it loss to the film 12 Years a Slave.
The mantra would be not if, but when for DiCaprio and Weber as they chase their significant award. Although it did seem as if it would never come to fruition because even at their best it didn’t bring in much hardware for them.
In spite of this, DiCaprio would break through to win the Oscar that had eluded him for over 20 years. At the 88th Academy Awards, his role as Hugh Glass in The Revenant put him over the top for the award, defeating the likes of Matt Damon (The Martian) and Bryan Cranston (Trumbo) for Best Actor.
Thus, it now begs the question; can Weber receive the same luck as DiCaprio and finally win a Norris?
After his trade to the Montréal Canadians, it appeared as though the aspirations for that award had passed him by. For one, Weber’s 63.7 Corsi Against Per 60 happened to be one of the worst for a defenseman with more than seven games played during the 2016 playoffs. Furthermore, his age and physical style of play, it did not bode well for him going forward.
Fast-forward a few months and 25 games later, Weber is now considered the early favorite for the Norris. With these numbers it should not come as a surprise to anyone:
Having the Montréal media behind him to go along with his solid play on both ends. This could be the season that Weber wins the Norris, as he hopes to emulate what DiCaprio did and get that award monkey off his back.
The dashing good looks might not be his strong suit, but the disappointment he has endured during award season does make Weber the DiCaprio of the NHL.