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Posted On Friday, 12.19.2014 / 3:00 AM

By Kevin Weekes -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Weekes on the Web

Friday Four: Praising Luongo, Blue Jackets, Hartley

Each Friday throughout the regular season Kevin Weekes will be bringing you his Friday Four in his Weekes on the Web blog. He will be blogging about four players, teams, plays, trends or really four of whatever in the NHL that have caught his eye.

I'm talking about goalies, a surging team, a struggling team and a coach who got a well-earned extension in this week's Friday Four:

1. Roberto Luongo

People aren't really talking about how well he's played, and he's played really well.

Let's take it back before we get to now. Obviously Luongo became a star with the Florida Panthers, then he went to the Vancouver Canucks and was a star there, but he wasn't ever fully appreciated in Vancouver. There was always something else he could have or should have done.

Whatever he did wasn't good enough, but he's the best goalie in the history of that franchise.

I don't think it's a secret that because he wasn't loved fully he was open to the possibility of going back to Florida. But it's one thing to go back and it's another to go back and play well. He's been amazing. He really has. He's been awesome.

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Posted On Wednesday, 12.17.2014 / 3:00 AM

By Kevin Weekes -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Weekes on the Web

Wednesday Night Rivalry is clash of hockey cultures

Each Wednesday throughout the regular season Kevin Weekes will be offering his plusses and minuses for the teams competing in the NBCSN Wednesday Night Rivalry game in his Weekes on the Web blog. Weekes will also be assisting fans with three must-watch elements of the game.

The Minnesota Wild and Boston Bruins aren't exactly longtime rivals, but the state of Minnesota and the city of Boston have had their fair share of hockey rivalries over the years. There are arguably no two places in the United States where the game is engrained in the culture as it is in Minnesota and Boston.

The Wild and Bruins carry that culture and those rivalries from all those Minnesota and Boston boys into their Wednesday Night Rivalry game at Xcel Energy Center (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN). They also carry the sting of losses on Tuesday.


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Posted On Friday, 12.12.2014 / 3:00 AM

By Kevin Weekes -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Weekes on the Web

Friday Four: Ducks' curious move, Jets on defensive

Each Friday throughout the regular season Kevin Weekes will be bringing you his Friday Four in his Weekes on the Web blog. He will be blogging about four players, teams, plays, trends or really four of whatever in the NHL that have caught his eye.

Ilya Bryzgalov back in Anaheim, getting defensive in Winnipeg, moving up in Columbus, and a major night for a goalie in Toronto who has earned his respect. It's all in my Friday Four:

1. Curious case of the Anaheim Ducks

OK, the Ducks are playing well. They've won five in a row. They are an excellent team. They lead the League with 43 points. They've done all this in spite of some major injuries, particularly to Corey Perry, who is still out.

Give credit to the guys that have stepped up, like Matt Beleskey. He has 14 goals. Compare and contrast that to a lot of star players who don't have 14 goals. He's been a great story. He has elevated his game this season by taking advantage of increased looks and more ice time.

The Ducks have tons of depth. That speaks to their drafting and developing, which I have mentioned before. They have one of the richest stocks of young talent in the NHL. Look at the young guys who played last season and now this season, and they're still first in the League.

But it's a curious case of how this whole thing with Ilya Bryzgalov signing went down. I don't get it.

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Posted On Wednesday, 12.10.2014 / 3:00 AM

By Kevin Weekes -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Weekes on the Web

Lots to like about Red Wings, Maple Leafs

There has been a lot to like about the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs of late.

The Red Wings have won three in a row, seven of their past eight and nine of their past 11 games. The Maple Leafs are 6-1-1 in their past eight games since a three-game losing streak.

Something has to give when these Original Six rivals face off in this week's Wednesday Night Rivalry game (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA SPORTS).

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Posted On Friday, 12.05.2014 / 3:00 AM

By Kevin Weekes -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Weekes on the Web

Friday Four: Farewell to Alfredsson, love for Sabres

Each Friday throughout the regular season Kevin Weekes will be bringing you his Friday Four in his Weekes on the Web blog. He will be blogging about four players, teams, plays, trends or really four of whatever in the NHL that have caught his eye.

This week I'm looking at a big night in Canada's capital city and three teams, with some good and some bad mixed in:

1. Alfie's big night in Ottawa

I spoke to a few people in the Ottawa Senators hierarchy earlier this week and the big thing for them was there were great lines of communication between general manager Bryan Murray, owner Eugene Melnyk and Daniel Alfredsson. The communication was honest, respectful, and collectively they decided that what happened Thursday made the most sense for Alfredsson.

Obviously he's a lifetime Senator and they really wanted to do this for the organization, for the player/person that Alfredsson is, and for their fans. They really felt like this was the right thing to do, especially with them being a relatively young franchise comparatively speaking to other teams in the League.

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Posted On Wednesday, 12.03.2014 / 3:00 AM

By Kevin Weekes -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Weekes on the Web

Blues must believe they can defeat Blackhawks

Each Wednesday throughout the regular season Kevin Weekes will be offering his plusses and minuses for the teams competing in the NBCSN Wednesday Night Rivalry game in his Weekes on the Web blog. Weekes will also be assisting fans with three must-watch elements of the game.

NBCSN has a good one Wednesday night, a Central Division rivalry between teams that met in the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season and might go down to the wire with the Nashville Predators this season for first place in the Central Division.

The Chicago Blackhawks found their game on their "Circus Trip," winning five of six games away from United Center. They actually found it in their previous home game, when they blew out the Dallas Stars 6-2 on Nov. 16.

The St. Louis Blues are finding ways to win too and have three more points in the standings than the Blackhawks. St. Louis has won two in a row and is 4-0-1 in its past five games.

NBCSN has a good one here at 8 p.m. ET, so let's break it down the way we do every Wednesday, with a little bit of what I like, a little bit of what leaves me wanting more, and three things you simply must look out for when you're watching the game.

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Posted On Thursday, 11.27.2014 / 3:14 PM

By Kevin Weekes -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Weekes on the Web

Weekes likes Nash, Mason in Rangers-Flyers tilt

It will be an important Metropolitan Division rivalry game when the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers meet in the Discover NHL Thanksgiving Showdown on Friday (1 p.m., NBC).

These two teams are trying to claw their back into the playoff picture. The Rangers (9-8-4) are tied for third in the Metro, but only 10th place in the Eastern Conference, with 22 points. The Flyers (8-10-3) are three points back.

Let's talk about the Rangers first. One thing I love about the Rangers this year is Rick Nash.

As good and productive as Rick Nash has been before, he's doing it differently now and I love seeing that. Before, in Columbus, sure he could walk a defenseman and make a great one-on-one move, but he is doing it more often. He is getting to the center of the ice more often.

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Posted On Wednesday, 11.26.2014 / 10:20 AM

By Kevin Weekes -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Weekes on the Web

Weekes offers trophy picks for season's first quarter

We have reached the quarter mark of the 2014-15 season, and there have been lots of outstanding performances and surprising developments.

For this week, I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at where the race for some of the major NHL trophies is developing and who are some names to watch with each award.

Let's start with the Vezina Trophy, an award for a position near and dear to my heart. There are a few guys with a great case for the Vezina.

Marc-Andre Fleury of the Pittsburgh Penguins is right up there. Obviously, Pekka Rinne from the Nashville Predators and Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings are as well. In the case of Fleury, he's having an excellent season and leads the League in shutouts. He put a lot of work into his offseason and really made a point to have another not just really good but great regular season with the hopes of carrying that into a great Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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Posted On Friday, 11.21.2014 / 3:00 AM

By Kevin Weekes -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Weekes on the Web

Friday Four: Give Predators, Bonino, Foligno their due

Each Friday throughout the regular season Kevin Weekes will be bringing you his Friday Four in his Weekes on the Web blog. He will be blogging about four players, teams, plays, trends or really four of whatever in the NHL that have caught his eye.

Hello, hockey fans! The four things I'm looking at this week include the steady Nashville Predators, two unheralded players in Columbus and Vancouver, and how much fun it has been watching Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin alongside Radim Vrbata:

1. Nashville Predators -- I really like what I'm seeing in Nashville's game. First of all, when you have a healthy Pekka Rinne, a top-five goalie in the League and in the world, that's an advantage. But besides Pekka, who would have thought that Nashville would be a plus-15 in goal differential, tied with the Chicago Blackhawks in that category. That's an incredible increase in their output. They played the way they needed to play in previous seasons based on the personnel they had and what Barry Trotz envisioned. Trotz had the longest-tenured coaching job in all of sports, but it's also how well he coached that team and how well the whole coaching staff developed those players and what they've done through the Milwaukee Admirals in the American Hockey League. I don't think there's been a team that's been as consistent with the way they've developed their assets through their minor league program. Now they have a little more offense. Certainly, when you bring in a James Neal you're adding more offense. So when you look at the way they're playing now, they haven't sacrificed how they defend for the ability to attack a little more. They have allowed 37 goals all season, which is second only to the St. Louis Blues and we all know how Blues coach Ken Hitchcock loves to defend.

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Posted On Wednesday, 11.19.2014 / 3:00 AM

By Kevin Weekes -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Weekes on the Web

Weekes' pluses, minuses for Flyers-Rangers

Each Wednesday throughout the regular season Kevin Weekes will be offering his pluses and minuses for the teams competing in the NBCSN Wednesday Night Rivalry game in his Weekes on the Web blog. Weekes will also be assisting fans with three must-watch elements of the game.

One of the more storied rivalries in the NHL will take center stage when the New York Rangers play host to the Philadelphia Flyers in the Wednesday Night Rivalry at Madison Square Garden.

It's a matchup hockey fans always look forward to each season because of the expected physical play and intense moments throughout.

Here are my pluses and minuses for the Rangers and Flyers entering this week's WNR, and three things you need to watch when you're tuned into NBCSN at 8 p.m. ET Wednesday:

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Quote of the Day

When I first became captain here, Monsieur Beliveau came to me and said, 'You're going to be fine. You don't have to change, you got selected because of who you are.'

— Saku Koivu on Thursday, recalling what he was told by the late Jean Beliveau when he was named Canadiens captain in 1999
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