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.