Postgame: The "no panic" zone, Gourde returns, Hakstol quotes

Seattle Kraken v New Jersey Devils

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - OCTOBER 19: Yanni Gourde #37 of the Seattle Kraken skates in his first game with the team against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on October 19, 2021 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)Photo: Getty Images

The definition of “growing pains,” per Merriam-Webster, is attributed to the discomforts in the growth of children, or:

“2the stresses and strains attending a new project or development”

For a group of under 30 hockey players officially assembled for less than a month, five games in eight days on the road easily count under the stress and strain of a new project. The Seattle Kraken, designed to serve as a big league hockey sanctuary for the Pacific Northwest, like any team, will undergo growing pains. It’s the big picture in mind that perhaps, brighter days are ahead after a 4-2 loss at New Jersey on Tuesday night, with one big event waiting for them in four days:

The home ice, their fans, and their night to never forget, in Climate Pledge Arena’s hockey ribbon-cutting Saturday night when the Vancouver Canucks visit in the first ever home opener in Kraken history.

Riley Sheahan and Jared McCann each scored goals for the Kraken tonight, which featured the debut of Yanni Gourde and goaltender Joey Daccord, both activated just over 120 minutes before puck drop. Both newcomers made an impact, and both newcomers kept the Kraken hanging around the course of the game, enough to stir a rally, and enough to make the Devils sweat – though, their 2-0 lead admittedly went a long way to set the tone of the game.


  • Gourde logged an assist on McCann’s power play goal in the third period and nearly helped another – which could have set a different tone with the Kraken down 1-0 – when he fed Jaden Schwartz off the rush but saw a rolling puck just fall off his stick, with goaltender Jonathan Bernier still scrambling to cover the blocker side post.
  • No surprise: Gourde assumed top line duty between Jaden Schwartz and Jordan Eberle, while McCann was re-positioned to center a trio with Brandon Tanev and Morgan Geekie on the wings. Alex Wennberg took on a center role for new linemates, Nathan Bastian and Joonas Donskoi.
  • More Gourde: excellent in face-offs, winning 13-of-22 draws (59%), well over the 50% line.
  • As the game got deeper, the Kraken improved at the face-off circle. New Jersey, at one point in the second period, held whopping 63% edge at the dot. The Kraken turned that around to take the game’s lead, at 51 percent.
  • Poor Jordan Eberle: he’s been through this before and as many people who’ve watched hockey understand, even the best scorers undergo violent peaks and valleys, his one shot on net was flanked by two blocked opportunities that were moderate-to-high danger opportunities: a break in the second period that Ryan Graves hustled back to disrupt, and an odd-man rush in the third that wound up on a defender’s stick from Eberle’s snap shot attempt at the left circle. His next attempt for his first goal of the season: the historic home opener on Saturday. (Wouldn’t it be a hoot, if….)
  • Three fights outlined the game, suggesting an extremely abrasive approach: after Tanev dropped the gloves with Mike McLeod, Jeremy Lauzon’s check on Jack Hughes(who sat out, late first and early second period, then left for good with a shoulder injury) stirred the Devils’ hornet nest and Lauzon fought Mason Geertsen. Morgan Geekie then took a shoulder to the chin from Jonas Siegenthaler (Geekie would not return), and Ryan Donato responded by trading punches with Siegenthaler. In other words, things got ugly.
  • A potential game-changer that went by the wayside: Wennberg’s second period snap shot that beat Jonathan Bernier appeared to draw the Kraken within a goal. The play was overturned. A coach’s challenge issued by Devils head coach Lindy Ruff confirmed through video that Donskoi was offside at the left wing portion of the blueline, and Wennberg’s goal was wiped off the board.
  • Tanev played in the 300thgame of his NHL career.
  • Daccord, a substantial reason the Kraken hung around all night, took the loss despite a high-stress 28-save night – routinely, he was quick to track pucks amidst a Devils advantage in “high danger” scoring chances (anything between the circles and at the front of the net), 21-13.
  • Vince Dunn, returning after sitting the last two games due to injury, logged on assist on Sheahan’s goal along with two hits in 16:11 of ice time.

Head coach Dave Hakstol on upcoming practices making a potential impact:
“What we've only looked at I think – we've had four or five practices. Over the last, probably, 20-some days, we played a lot of hockey. So there's a lot of things that we want to sharpen up in our game. Now that being said, we battled hard tonight, and that was the one thing that was missing last night. We look at all the little pieces of the game, from guys sticking together, and taking care of one another. To get all the push to get back in the game and come back - we just ran out of time and ran out of gas a little bit.”

Hakstol on the debut of Yanni Gourde:
“Wow, great energy tonight. He brought a real boost to our lineup. He really brings to life on the bench, he brings the exact same thing on the ice. So, he was used as a productive guy out there, he made some plays, he created a lot of o-zone time and did a good job with two linemates that he's never played with before. So that's step number one. Now, we've probably got one, maybe two practices ahead of us. So, you know we'll get some practice time for the linemates he's going to be with for the home opener.”

Hakstol on the transition from the first to second period:
“Yeah, not a whole lot had to be said. We came out against a fresh team and they were quicker than us throughout the majority of the first period - they won a lot of races. They got us on transition for one of the goals, but as the period went along, I could see us getting our legs. As we went through the second and third we had some tired moments, but we had a lot. We had a lot of good stretches as well.”

Hakstol on what he anticipates for the historic home opener on Saturday:
“I think it's going to be a fantastic night. Just the energy, the positivity that has surrounded everything over the build up, over the last few months, but really longer than that. I haven't really talked to any of our players about it but I know that they're going to be looking forward to it. Coming off a nine-day road trip, guys look forward to getting home, having a day with their families, a day to regroup and then, it's going to be a great event to look forward to.”

Hakstol on Joey Daccord:
“Joey was outstanding tonight. He made some huge saves for us. It's not always just about big saves it's about when you make them. Joey gave us both. He gave us big saves and he gave them to us at the right time.”

Yanni Gourde on getting adjusted to his first game:
“It’s pretty tough to come in -new linemates, new team, new everything. But I think we did a good job of simplifying everything, just going north and deep, and just keeping our game simple. We didn't win, but we got some good looks and we'll build from there.”

Gourde on what’s next after training camp and the long road trip:
“We’re going to, like you mentioned, (have a) couple practices, and get some rest. That's going to be good for team is a long road trip, but there's no excuse, we have to go out there and battle. That's part of what we do, a part of our business, but it's good to go back in front of our fans. Everyone's going to be super excited. Our fans are going to be super excited, we're all looking forward to that. That calendar date was circled for a while for me. I'm super excited to play in front of them and hopefully we can win and go from there. But right now we’ve got a couple of good practices in front of us, and that's what we're going to focus on.

Mark Giordano on tonight’s response versus Monday in Philadelphia:
“We had way better pushback tonight. When we got down I thought we started to carry the play. We started to really generate. The third (Devils goal) really stings. But I thought we still pushed hard in the third. They were definitely doing a good job of clogging the neutral zone as much as they could. But it was good to get the power play and then have a push. We can find a way to get inside and get that extra goal that we needed. It seemed like (it was) all night, so we definitely have a lot of areas to clean up, obviously. This road trip didn't go the way we envisioned, other than the Philly game, but they're all pretty much one goal games in close games. But we're going to find ways to generate more, I think, especially from these last three (games).”

Giordano on what he says to his teammates to maintain perspective:
There's no excuses obviously but we definitely need some practice time. You can see it in little areas of the game. We’ve got to sharpen up and we'll get to good ones. I think when we get home and then a little homestand, it's going to be really good for our team.”

Giordano on what to expect, looking ahead to Saturday:
“Yeah it’s going to be special, so I think I think a lot of guys are looking forward to that one. I think you get a guy like ‘Gourde-o’ back in the lineup help tonight you saw the energy he brings. I think, hopefully, we'll get Jarnkrok back when we get home and those are two top guys in our lineup. So we'll get a little boost that way, but also playing in front of family and friends and in our building for the first time ever, it's going to be a special night and hopefully it brings us a lot of energy.”

Giordano on the positives of the road trip:
“I liked tonight, I liked the fight and the pushback from the guys. I just think we’re guilty a little bit of having guys care too much where you start. You start squeezing (the stick) and overthinking it. Because, you don't want to be the guy to make the mistake and we’ve got a lot of guys who really care in that room. You can tell we compete together and communicate with each other, we just got to clean up a few areas and I think we will. I think we have the players to do it.”

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