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Posted On Friday, 11.07.2014 / 3:00 AM

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

Friday Four: Fearless Flames earning it out West

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 four teams, four impressive teams -- and I bet you wouldn't have thought to use the word impressive with three of them just a few weeks ago:

1. Calgary Flames

The Flames have been excellent, but this really shouldn't come as any surprise if you watched them play last year. They played really well last year. They matched up against a lot of top teams in the Western Conference. They weren't afraid. They beat a lot of those teams.

To quote one coach that I can't name because he was at one point part of the organization (I'll let you figure it out), he said their team can "scare the daylights out of you on any night." That's a huge compliment for Calgary. They can scare you.

Posted On Wednesday, 11.05.2014 / 3:00 AM

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

Speed is key to Red Wings-Rangers matchup

It's another Original Six matchup, the Detroit Red Wings against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. This is old-time hockey sped up and modernized.

Without question the Red Wings have been the more consistent team of the two so far this season. They have been able to play their game on a more consistent basis than the Rangers.

Health has something to do with that; the Rangers are beat up on the blue line. But overall, individual performances notwithstanding, team-wise the Red Wings have been more consistent. I would imagine Rangers coach Alain Vigneault would say the same thing.

That said, here are my plusses and minuses for the Rangers and Red Wings this season, and three things or players you should watch when you're tuned into NBCSN at 8 p.m. ET Wednesday:


Posted On Friday, 10.31.2014 / 3:00 AM

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

Burns, Lightning, Griffith, Ducks' kids impressive

Each Friday throughout the regular season Kevin Weekes will be bringing you the 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've got indomitable Brent Burns, the explosive Tampa Bay Lightning, the emergence of Seth Griffith and the impressive Anaheim Ducks. Let's get to it:

1. Brent Burns is amazing

This is rare. He is rare. It's almost an impossibility to be able to go from defense to forward to defense and still be as effective and productive as he is.

Burns leads all defenseman in the NHL in points. He was a forward last season. That's amazing.

Posted On Wednesday, 10.29.2014 / 3:00 AM

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

Weekes offers likes, concerns for Capitals-Red Wings

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.

Alex Ovechkin and Pavel Datsyuk. Nicklas Backstrom and Henrik Zetterberg. Russians and Swedes, Washington Capitals and Detroit Red Wings. This is must-watch stuff in October, folks.

NBCSN has you covered Wednesday night with the Red Wings visiting the Capitals (7:30 p.m. ET).

Here are some of my likes and concerns about Detroit and Washington so far this season, and a couple of points of emphasis you should keep in mind when you're watching the game:

Posted On Friday, 10.24.2014 / 3:00 AM

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

Friday Four: Weekes on instant offense off faceoffs

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.

Friday Four this week is all about trends I have noticed in the early part of this season:

1. Goals scored off faceoffs

We saw this last season at the start of the season too. We are seeing a lot of goals scored that are a direct result of a faceoff win. The reason is more teams now are running plays off the faceoff.

One thing Dan Bylsma did when he was the coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins is he implemented a lot of faceoff plays. He spoke to Mike Tomlin, the coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, about creating plays, player movement, and Bylsma got real creative with how he was doing it by putting players in motion off different faceoff situations. That became a big advantage for Pittsburgh.

Posted On Wednesday, 10.22.2014 / 3:00 AM

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

Weekes: Penguins playing to their strengths now

The Pittsburgh Penguins have a new look under first-year coach Mike Johnston and so far you can't argue with the results. Most impressive about the Penguins is they are playing to their strengths, which are speed and skill.

You'll see them both on display against the Philadelphia Flyers in the NBCSN Wednesday Night Rivalry game (8 p.m. ET).

When the Penguins played their best under former coach Dan Bylsma they were playing to their strengths, and it wasn't at the expense of their defense. The times they got into trouble are when they fell in love with their offense so that came at the expense of their defense. But when they were at their best they weren't mutually exclusive.

Posted On Friday, 10.17.2014 / 3:00 AM

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

Weekes: Islanders have been impressive beyond stars

The New York Islanders won again Thursday, and the crowd at Nassau Coliseum was electric. As long as the Islanders continue to build off their hot start, they'll give the fans a lot to cheer about as they bid a fond farewell to the old Coliseum.

The Islanders have piqued my interest, so this week I'm dedicating my Friday blog to them.

Here are four reasons why I've been impressed with the Islanders:


Posted On Wednesday, 10.15.2014 / 3:00 AM

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

Weekes: Bruins-Red Wings has big-game feel

Few things in hockey beat a good, old-fashioned Original Six rivalry game like we get Wednesday night on NBCSN between the Detroit Red Wings and Boston Bruins at Joe Louis Arena.

Players and coaches from each team will be looking at this game as a big game, a big early-season test, already the second of five this season. The Red Wings defeated the Bruins 2-1 last week at TD Garden. Could there be a role reversal Wednesday night at the Joe?

The Red Wings know that with three straight losses the Bruins should be a hungry team coming into Detroit. They know the Bruins are for real, that they're one of the elite teams in the Eastern Conference, a team everybody is chasing despite a slow start.

The Bruins know the Red Wings are as well-coached as a team can get with Mike Babcock. They know Detroit can own the puck and dominate time of possession, as it did last week in a 2-1 win against Boston. They know Joe Louis Arena is a difficult place to play.

There are a lot of factors to consider in this game Wednesday night. First let's take a look at what I've liked and what concerns me about each team:

Posted On Friday, 10.10.2014 / 3:00 AM

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

Weekes: Backup goalies unheralded but vital

You know me, I'm a goalie, which makes me a goalie guy. I love to watch goalies. And I watch them all.

Everybody knows about the talent, skill, demeanor, toughness and all those types of attributes that the best goalies in the League have. You know about Henrik Lundqvist, Carey Price, Tuukka Rask, Pekka Rinne, Semyon Varlamov and others.

But for this week's Friday blog, I'm here to tell you what I like and what I know about five of my favorite unheralded, unsung goalies in the NHL. These guys may not be in line to win the Vezina Trophy any time soon, but they are excellent goalies and extremely important to their teams.

Posted On Wednesday, 06.18.2014 / 3:00 AM

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

Incredible season should lead to eventful summer

It's hard to believe that the 2013-14 season is over. It's been an amazing season in so many ways.

The competitive balance was crazy with so much parity from team to team. That was definitely demonstrated in a great Stanley Cup Final between the Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers.

I also loved how there were a lot of players who unexpectedly stepped up this season with different roles at different times. The emergence of some of these players made this season great, and there's a whole new list of unheralded players looking to make their mark next season.


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Quote of the Day

He's, believe it or not, actually one of my favorite guys, and I've ended up trading him twice. I appreciate what he's done. He was one year away from being an unrestricted free agent, and I felt with this opportunity, that it was a chance that we were able to get somebody for him in Nick Bonino and Adam Clendening.

— Penguins GM Jim Rutherford on forward Brandon Sutter