Happy Thursday, friends in hockey.
The first one is done, a part of history, and officially locked up in the record books. While the Kraken had their first slice of a historic night in the fact that they’re real, and have their first goal (Ryan Donato), there’s now pressing matters at hand that remain:
Get their first win.
Up next, tonight, their first visit to Bridgestone Arena and “Nash-Vegas” (as it’s sometimes referenced to in the world of hockey), the home of the Nashville Predators. Another home opener awaits as Nashville welcomes back a potential sellout crowd for the first time in two years. The place can get rowdy and took on a life of its own during their Stanley Cup Final run in 2016-17.
- The morning skate in Nashville gave the indication of an optional set up, meaning the Kraken had less than a full lineup to report on the ice. Several players in this case are given the option to skate or rest, with the appearance that rest was a better option for a few.
- Philipp Grubauer was reportedly the first goaltender to leave the ice, a strong indication he will start in net again this evening. After Vegas buried a pair of goals on Tuesday in the opening minutes, Grubauer settled in after that, allowing just one the rest of the way while the Kraken played their way back into the game.
- Alex Barré-Boulet, claimed off waivers three days ago, was confirmed by Dave Hakstol as in the lineup tonight for his Kraken debut. He’ll replace Marcus Johansson, who finished Tuesday night’s game but has been placed on injured reserve with a lower body ailment.
- Tough break for Calle Jarnkrok, who hasn’t been seen on ice in nearly a week with COVID protocol, and will miss tonight’s game against his former team.
- The Predators, members of a loaded Central Division (think: Avalanche, Blues, Jets, Wild, and the rebounding Dallas Stars), have made the playoffs seven straight seasons but have lost key components in the off-season, despite keeping former Norris Trophy winner Roman Josi and re-signing longtime defenseman Mattias Ekholm to a four-year extension. Juuse Saros, in net, can be a handful and got ridiculously hot to get Nashville back into the postseason last year, but how sustainable is that mechanism to get to the postseason again? They’re underway with their season tonight.
- Radio broadcast notes: with play-by-play voice Everett Fitzhugh (get back soon, Fitz!) still on the sidelines with COVID protocol, pleased to share friend and colleague Ian Furness (a former WHL guy!) will slide into the chair beginning tonight. He’s got a rough travel schedule ahead – don’t forget, he covers the Seahawks, who are in Pittsburgh Sunday. We’re lucky to have him, and we’re in good hands.
Pre-game show: 4:30pm on Sports Radio 950 KJR and the Kraken Audio Network. Talk with you soon!