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Weber, Arnott to sit out against Canadiens, Kovalev battling flu

MONTREAL - The Nashville Predators will be without two of what coach Barry Trotz called "offensive catalysts" - Jason Arnott and Shea Weber - when they face the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night.

And Montreal may be missing first-line winger Alex Kovalev, who has the flu. Grinding winger Gregory Stewart was recalled from AHL Hamilton and will play if Kovalev is unable to dress.

Arnott has missed the last two games with an upper body injury. Weber, the Predators' top defenceman, injured a foot while blocking a shot in a 2-0 win over Toronto on Saturday night.

Trotz said both players may be ready to return for a home game Saturday against Atlanta.

He said Weber will be ready to play in the NHL all-star game in Montreal on Jan. 25.

"He had it looked at in Toronto and here," said Trotz. "I think he'll just miss this game."

Weber is looking forward to playing on the Western Conference team at the all-star game. He is second on the Predators in scoring with 13 goals and 18 assists

He has also been mentioned as a candidate to play for Canada at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

"That's definitely something that would be special, but it's still a long way away," said Weber. "We've got work to do here.

"We're still out of the playoffs and we've got to get back in there and into the hunt."

Montreal goaltender Carey Price, who was voted onto the Eastern Conference team, worked out on the ice Thursday morning but is still not ready to practise with the team. He is doubtful to be ready for the all-star game.

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