Each Friday throughout the season Kevin Weekes will bring you his Friday Four. The former goalie and current NHL Network analyst will be blogging about four players, teams, plays, or trends that have caught his eye.
Commissioner Bettman's statement at Board of Governors meeting
I must commend NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly and the NHL Board of Governors for their approval of the new plan which outlines what will not be tolerated in the sport anymore. We have a great game, and while everybody makes mistakes, we have had some people who have made some that aren't easily forgettable.
The mandatory annual program on counseling, consciousness-raising, education and training on diversity and inclusion for coaches and executives only can help eliminate the negative things that have come out in recent weeks.
Having been on the wrong side of this stuff and having some experiences in the game, I couldn't tell you how cathartic some of this has been. But also it provides some of the framework to govern and that will be enforceable as we go forward so that players and people aren't needlessly taken advantage of because of different prejudices.
Jim Montgomery had done a really great job as Dallas Stars coach in his two seasons and it's an unfortunate situation for everyone involved with him being fired Tuesday for reasons we're still unaware of.
It was a very difficult decision, as you could tell by the response of some of the players and general manager Jim Nill at his press conference. But let's hope Montgomery can learn from this and earn another opportunity going forward.
Rick Bowness, who has been behind the bench as a coach or assistant for more than 2,000 games, aspired of being a head coach again at some point, although he got it this time under difficult circumstances. His first game was a win, 2-0 against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday.
This is a very good team Bowness inherited. The Stars have played well and I'm looking forward to seeing where they go from here as they began the season as Stanley Cup contenders and have rebounded nicely after a 1-7-1 start.
Video: NJD@DAL: Faksa strikes on wraparound for early lead
San Jose Sharks
Peter DeBoer was fired as coach of the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday with the Sharks in an 0-4-1 skid. Assistant coaches Steve Spott and Dave Barr and goaltending coach Johan Hedberg also were let go, but I think they'll each get another opportunity in the NHL moving forward.
Bob Boughner, the new coach, said the Sharks must attack better and defend better around the net as a team. It'll be a nice opportunity for him after coaching the Florida Panthers the past two seasons. New assistants Mike Ricci, Evgeni Nabokov and Roy Sommer, who won more games as an American Hockey League coach than anyone in history, round out the new staff, which should inject some life into the Sharks. They lost the first game under the new coaching staff, 6-3 against the New York Rangers on Thursday.
It's all on the players now. Goalies Martin Jones and Aaron Dell must rediscover their game. Let's see if the Sharks can make a move up the standings because they certainly have the pieces to do so.
Another team with a coaching change recently, the Flames, haven't lost since Geoff Ward took over for Bill Peters, who resigned Nov. 29. From the players I spoke to on the team, they've just had a much more positive attitude at the rink and on the ice, and it's why they've won seven straight, including six in a row after the coaching change, following a 5-2 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday.
Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan are playing much better hockey of late and look like themselves. The Flames were the top seed in the Western Conference last season but lost in five games against the Colorado Avalanche in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
In their past seven games, they've scored at least three goals in each, including at least four goals five times, and allowed two goals or fewer four times, which is a good recipe for winning.
Video: TOR@CGY: Gaudreau collects hat trick vs. Maple Leafs
The Winnipeg Jets lost to the Detroit Red Wings 5-2 on Thursday but have been playing well. Patrik Laine being bumped to the top line with Mark Scheifele and Kyle Connor, they're playing like one of the best lines in the NHL. And to have lost their top three defensemen from last season (Dustin Byfuglien, Tyler Myers, Jacob Trouba) but be 19-11-2 and four points out of first place in the Central Division, you must give coach Paul Maurice credit.