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WEEKES ON THE WEB
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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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:


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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:

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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.

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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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Posted On Friday, 06.13.2014 / 3:19 PM

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

Rangers must borrow more from Kings' playbook

The New York Rangers trail the Los Angeles Kings 3-1 in the Stanley Cup Final with a chance to extend the best-of-7 series Friday at Staples Center (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS). They barely held on to win 2-1 in Game 4 on Wednesday, but there were some positive things for them to take away that could help them keep their run going.

Put bluntly, they need to do against the Kings what L.A. has done against everyone all season long.

The Kings are a power/skill team; they're almost like a hybrid NHL/NFL team because they can just dominate you physically with all four lines and their three defense pairs. But they're a faster team than people recognize. Marian Gaborik is a speed merchant and Drew Doughty can fly. They're also willing to go to the net and defend the front of their own net. They do those things consistently.

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Posted On Wednesday, 06.11.2014 / 12:44 PM

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

Quick establishing impressive legacy with Kings

The Los Angeles Kings have a 3-0 lead against the New York Rangers in the best-of-7 Stanley Cup Final entering Game 4 at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS). There have been a number of players contributing to their great run through the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but with the Kings on the verge of winning the Stanley Cup for the second time in three seasons, you have to look at the man in net, Jonathan Quick.

I really think he's been awesome. I've said it all the time for the past two years: Jonathan Quick has been the best goalie in the world. It's his unique combination of talent, skill, athleticism and flexibility that has made him great. Most important, he's mentally stronger than any goalie on the planet.

Game 3 of the Cup Final was his first pro start at Madison Square Garden. He hadn't played at MSG since he was in peewee playing for a minor hockey team and family come down from Connecticut to watch. He grew up idolizing the Rangers and Mike Richter. With all that, he put on a show in Game 3. He made body-based saves and compact saves because his timing and positioning were excellent. When he had to go to his tool kit, he did. That's when he brings out the superhuman flexibility and athleticism and net instincts. It's an amazing combination.

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Quote of the Day

It's not always going to be pretty, especially against a great goalie [Lundqvist] like that. My goals are never how you draw them up. It's just a matter of grinding it out and trying to create havoc in front and good things happen.

— Capitals forward Jay Beagle on scoring in their Game 3 victory against the Rangers on Monday