Forward and two-time Stanley Cup winner Yanni Gourde’s continuous presence in Seattle Kraken practices delivered more attention to a Thursday session at Kraken Community Iceplex, with the historic regular season looming just five days away when the Kraken start a five-game road trip to visit the Vegas Golden Knights, Oct. 12.
Decked out in a “deep sea blue” jersey, his progress from off-season shoulder surgery started with a timetable to return after the first two months, then “ahead of schedule” as of Day 1 of training camp, though mixing in recent reports of his status as “out indefinitely.”
More quotes below.
- Gourde, one of the first players on ice 20 minutes before scheduled start time, participated on a line with Morgan Geekie and Mason Appleton, taking routine drills and after mentioning the benefits of “getting bumps and also pushing guys off.” He demonstrated an active stick while defending shot lanes, followed by taking deflections at the front of the net during reps involving point shots from defensemen, stationed at the blueline.
- Missing in practice: Colin Blackwell (lower body injury), and now Calle Jarnkrok, due to what head coach Dave Hakstol defined as “out due to illness.”
- Two goaltenders are left: Philipp Grubauer and Chris Driedger, to virtually nobody’s surprise. Expect an announcement soon on goaltender Joey Daccord being reassigned to the Charlotte Checkers (AHL).
- The Kraken began the morning with high-paced “cycling” drills, three forwards against two defensemen, that at times finished with applause from another large contingent of fans in attendance: Marcus Johansson drilled a one-timer to the back of the net, and Jaden Schwartz finished a snap shot under the crossbar from the right circle on Driedger.
- That 3-on-2 drill? What a quote from the stands, tongue-in-cheek observation from television analyst J.T. Brown: “I don’t want to be a defenseman on that one.”
Tonight, 6-7pm on Sports Radio 950 KJR: we’ll bring you a one-hour Kraken Season Preview Show, diving into everything from what you’ll hear this season, top line forwards, veterans like Mark Giordano, apples, quinoa (yes, you read that correctly), and an exclusive one-on-one with the first head coach in Kraken history. Listen below, and we’ll have it podcasted soon!
- GUESTS IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE:
Everett Fitzhugh, Kraken radio play-by-play voice
- Dave Tomlinson, NHL analyst and former NHL forward
- Head coach Dave Hakstol
PRACTICE LINEUP TODAY:
Schwartz - McCann - Eberle
Gourde - Geekie - Appleton
Johansson - Wennberg - Donskoi
Tanev - Sheahan - Bastian
Fleury - Giordano
Oleksiak - Larsson
Dunn - Soucy
Lauzon - Borgen
FROM THE PODIUM:
Forward Yanni Gourde on his status, as of today:
“I felt good. We’re still taking steps, I think that’s the key. We’re checking every little detail and that's where we're at right now with full contact practice.”
Gourde regarding if he’s back to normal with a physical approach, in practice with teammates:
“Yeah they were back to normal and I appreciate that, that’s a part my game and it was good, it was good. Having a regular jersey, getting bumps and also pushing guys off and using that arm like basically doing everything that I usually do.”
Gourde on the challenges on getting up to speed with the Kraken system of play:
“Yeah, that's the big, big part I think it's figuring out the system. I'm going to do some video for the next couple days, make sure I'm ready on that. I don't want to be a liability, even if I go out there, I want to be ready, I want to know everything that I need to know, and try to help this team win, and ultimately that’s the goal. I will definitely do a little bit more video, make sure I know every detail of the game, how we play the game, and we'll go from there.”
Gourde on the value of the coaching staff and their communication abilities to learn through video:
“Yeah it's really important and I think that's why I'm going to do some really nice stuff tomorrow with (assistant coach Chris MacFarland). He's going to communicate every detail that he wants me to know, where we're at on this point of all situations, and we're going to see how it goes. That’s the key - just take it slow, get your head in the game, and then figure out everything.”
Forward Jared McCann on the advantages of a six-day layoff between the pre-season finale and the regular season opener:
“Just get some rest. We've been grinding here; obviously camp was pretty tough and I'm kind of getting to know everybody again, right? So we’ve got some team events coming up here that should be pretty fun for everybody to get to know each other.”
McCann on handling maintenance of the body at the NHL level through a busy stretch of games:
“Recovery is huge. You've got to take care of body. It'll show over time; I'm not that old but even now, I'm 25 and I kind of feel it a little bit more then when I was 19. So definitely recovery is huge and we have a lot of great, great trainers here so they take care of us.”
Head Coach Dave Hakstol on the status of Yanni Gourde for the season opening road trip, and if he’ll travel:
“There’s a good chance to travel with; he's involved in full practice right now so that's the best place for him. We'll be practicing on that road trip, so it makes more sense for him to be with the group and to get his work in that way. He's at that point of progress as he's coming back off the injury. That the best place for him is in, in practice.”
Hakstol, if he’s been surprised at the progress of Gourde:
“No, I really haven't evaluated in that way. I work and am careful to take things day by day, in regards to, to the injuries and how the rehab process goes. I've watched Yanni work every day and his diligence is second to none. So no, I would never use the word ‘surprised’ with him, he just keeps pushing forward, day in and day out and he does everything he can to improve himself on that day. So, we just want him to continue doing that.”
Hakstol what advantages come during a six-day layoff between games:
“Consistent practices. That's a huge benefit. I talked a little bit yesterday about the premium practice time, you don't get very much of it. We won't see this again throughout the season, where we have this number of days in a row that we have to work together as a team. So these are very important days. They’re part of a really important week for our group.”
Hakstol regarding the importance of leadership and habits to build consistency in practice:
“Yeah that’s all part of consistency, right? Doing it every day, we need a bunch of 'everyday—ers' – we show up to work hard, but also having that concentration on the detail of the game that comes that comes from the top, it comes through your leadership and runs throughout the entire group. The learning result was enormous today.”