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.