The Case For Kevin Weekes
January 18, 2010 6 Comments
When I appeared on Kurtenblog Radio a couple of months ago, I told them I enjoyed Kevin Weekes’ performance on Hockey Night in Canada. They thought I was nuts, however, I defended him. I stated that he could get better, and that he was a fresh shot in the arm for hockey players-turned-analysts.
I still believe this, but feel the need to reiterate the point after Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun took a lazy, needless shot at Weekes in his Sunday column:
What seemed like a very good idea at the time isn’t: Kevin Weekes on Hockey Night In Canada.
Other examples of fantastic prose in the column: “Dep’t of tiresome: Mike Tyson Cameos”. Simply astonishing. Well, regardless of what Simmons says, Weekes is doing just fine on Hockey Night in Canada, and Mike Tyson cameos in TV and movies have yet to cease to be very funny.
Why is Weekes getting this criticism in his first season? Give him a chance to develop as an analyst. The guy essentially passed on a chance to play in Europe and work his way back to the NHL so he could join the ranks of TV. Usually, the NHL has such problems keeping it’s analysts from returning to the game.
Sometimes, especially in his appearances on the NHL Network, Weekes can borderline on cheesey, overly wordy nicknames. Then again, with all nicknames, they’re hit or miss. I’m just thankful that someone on that show has decided it’s not their job to inject you with Xanax, but instead have the gall to attempt to entertain you.
Another mild criticism of Weekes is that he tends to repeat what his play-by-play man just set him up with. This also tends to happen when he’s reading a graphic. But all analysts have this problem. Kevin Weekes is a long, long way from the bottom of the HNIC totem pole. What about Guy Carbonneau? Greg Millen? PJ Stock? There’s three less essential people to the entire shebang right there. Why isn’t Simmons filling out column space taking potshots at them?
Look, you won’t find any color analyst who exudes charm like Weekes. He is engaged, affable and at times very funny. He still hasn’t gotten to a point where he’s saying insightful, innovative things week in and week out, but you can’t listen to him and see no way of him becoming a top-flight analyst. In fact, I’d argue if he improves over the next few years, he’d have an American network job immediately. I’m shocked he wasn’t given a shot by one this year, however, it’s clear Weekes was savvy enough to know that HNIC and NHL Net were where he could learn.
The simple fact is that Weekes needs more time to develop his skills as a color commentator. Give him over the summer to work on it. I know from taking courses in TV and calling basketball games for the past three years, it takes time to develop a facade where you’re being natural and comfortable doing the job, both in studio and on site. I feel that criticism like Simmons – of the yawnworthy and “Hey, I’ll get someone to talk about this if I just write it in passing!” nature – do no good to anyone.