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Posted On Friday, 01.16.2015 / 3:00 AM

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

Friday Four: Penguins' Malkin no longer under radar

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.

A Hart Trophy candidate, a team that is deeper than I initially thought, a team that continues to roll by now faces some adversity, and the curious case of a championship team is all in this week's Friday Four:

1. EVGENI MALKIN

The interesting thing for me is I think a lot of times Malkin will defer a little bit when Sidney Crosby is healthy, and go into full superhero mode when Sid is hurt because he knows he is needed. This season, I find Malkin is just playing at his elite level all the time.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.14.2015 / 3:00 AM

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

Weekes: Pluses, minuses for Flyers, Capitals

The Washington Capitals are trying to keep pace in the race for first place in the Metropolitan Division. The Philadelphia Flyers are just trying to get back on track so they maybe can think about a run to catch up in the race for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Confidence on one side, desperation on the other. That's the matchup NBCSN is offering in its latest edition of the Wednesday Night Rivalry series.

The Flyers are coming off a 7-3 trouncing of the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday, a win that should provide a measure of confidence that the club has been lacking this season. They played against one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference and crushed them.

The Capitals are coming off a 2-1 win against the Colorado Avalanche on Monday, a win that falls in line with how they have been playing for nearly six weeks, dating back to Dec. 4, when they beat the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 to start the 13-1-4 run they're currently on.

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Posted On Friday, 01.09.2015 / 3:00 AM

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

Friday Four: Maple Leafs must make adjustments

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 baffled by the Toronto Maple Leafs, broken-hearted for one of my favorite hockey families, impressed with one of my former teams, and blown away by two phenomenal individual performances in this week's Friday Four. 

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.07.2015 / 3:00 AM

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

Weekes: Pluses, Minuses for Bruins, Penguins

Fans in the United States, get ready for a healthy dose of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins will be a featured team in NBCSN's Wednesday Night Rivalry series three times this month.

Well, yeah, of course they will be. Hello, they have Crosby and Malkin. They're a big draw. And they're a top team in the Eastern Conference, even if they have struggled of late with two wins in their past seven games (2-4-1).

The Penguins first opponent on NBCSN this month is the Boston Bruins, another team that hasn't quite been itself of late, or really this season. The Bruins have lost three in a row in extra time and are actually on the outside of the playoff race in the Eastern Conference right now.

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Posted On Friday, 01.02.2015 / 11:52 AM

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

Friday Four: Capitals, Rangers playing like elite teams

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.

Now that the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic is over, we begin the almost three-week run-up to the 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend. Here are four teams I'm keeping a close eye on as we get closer to Columbus:

WASHINGTON CAPITALS (Last 10: 6-1-3)

The way they're playing right now is a credit to their coaching staff with Barry Trotz, Lane Lambert, Todd Reirden, Blaine Forsythe and Mitch Korn. All of those guys have done a fantastic job with that group.

Washington's commitment to play a harder game is impressive. The Capitals are playing a more physical game than we've seen from them in the past. It's not just physical, it's disciplined physical, and they're forcing opposing players to earn their space and time to make plays.

The Capitals are learning how to win games in different ways. There is more structure. There is a great buy-in level, and everyone is starting to believe in the system and how successful it can be. Their players are believing what this staff is preaching.

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Posted On Wednesday, 12.31.2014 / 3:00 AM

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

Weekes: Pluses, minuses for Capitals, Blackhawks

Each Wednesday through the regular season, Kevin Weekes usually offers his pluses and minuses for the teams competing in the NBCSN Wednesday Night Rivalry game in his Weekes on the Web blog. This week is special, though. Weekes is in Washington covering the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic for NHL Network, so his blog is focused on the game Thursday between the Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals at Nationals Park.

WASHINGTON -- The venue looks great, the rink is ready, the hype machine is going in full gear, and the Washington Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks finally get to see it all for themselves Wednesday when they take the ice for practice day at Nationals Park.

The stage is just about set for the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Thursday. The beauty of it is each team has been playing well heading into the big game.

The Capitals lost in overtime against the New York Islanders on Monday, but they rallied from a 3-0 deficit to pick up a point. They are 8-1-3 since Dec. 4.

The Blackhawks did the opposite of the Capitals on Monday, winning 5-4 in a shootout against the Nashville Predators after falling into a 3-0 hole. They are 18-4-1 since a 3-2 loss to Washington on Nov. 7.

Here is my breakdown on what's been working, what advantages each team can have in the NHL Winter Classic, and what might be worrisome, as well as my three things to watch:


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Posted On Friday, 12.26.2014 / 3:00 AM

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

Friday Four: Preparing for the 2015 Winter Classic

It's time to start revving up and getting pumped for some outdoor hockey, the perfect way to ring in the new year.

The 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic is less than a week away. Washington Capitals. Chicago Blackhawks. Nationals Park. New Year's Day. This celebration of the sport never gets old.

Here is my primer with four things that I'm looking forward to talking about, analyzing, breaking down and watching in the upcoming Winter Classic:

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Posted On Wednesday, 12.24.2014 / 3:00 AM

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

Weekes: Blackhawks, Islanders top stories at break

Happy holidays, everyone.

It's Christmas Eve, and that means the NHL is on its holiday break, so no game tonight on NBCSN. Wednesday Night Rivalry is on ice until Jan. 7, when the Boston Bruins play the Pittsburgh Penguins at TD Garden.

So here is my chance to dish on the teams, players and trends that have caught my eye so far this season. Here's my holiday gift to you: My top 10 takeaways so far this season.

1. Where else to start but with the Chicago Blackhawks.


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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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Quote of the Day

I'll be happy, believe me, if we win our last playoff game. Not taking anything away, but we've had a fairly good lead for a while now. It would be more surprising if we didn't get the division. Business as usual.

— Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau after clinching their third straight Pacific Division title