Well, it seemed like we were just here yesterday.
No more than 12 hours after over 17,100 rabid hockey souls exited Climate Pledge Arena with a victorious ear-to-ear grin after the Kraken dismantled the Montreal Canadiens, 5-1 for their first home win in franchise history, it was back to work.
As assistant equipment manager James Stucky was one of the first seen to evolve from the hallway tunnel to prepare the bench with necessary bottled fluids for practice a little after 10:00 a.m., the Kraken faced the opportunity to prepare for the “next one,” with virtually their whole previous lineup together, unscathed – except for one player in Mason Appleton.
Oh, and Brandon Tanev was back for more: five goals in seven games. Let’s just say his confidence isn’t unraveling.
·The Kraken appeared to have their presence graced with 12-year NHL veteran, former Portland Winterhawk and Fargo, North Dakota native Paul Gaustad, dressed in a track suit to help the Kraken through drills.
·No official sign of Chris Driedger, officially in practice, though he was seen afterward working through drills with goaltending coach Andrew Allen – and according to the Kraken website roster, his asterisk (indicating injured reserve) has been removed.
·No Appleton, either: after missing the remainder of last night’s game and needing help to get off the ice following an awkward fall from a Sami Niku holding penalty, Appleton was out of practice, later confirmed by head coach Dave Hakstol to “miss some time” and an unclear timetable to return.
·Through regrouping, two-on-one rushes and three-on-two forechecking drills, much of the combinations from Tuesday night remained the same. Brandon Tanev delivered perhaps the most eye-catching finish of the morning, snapping a “bar-down” blast from the right circle.
·Though it’s still early to officially attach “breakout star” labels, Tanev is on the right path: five goals in seven games. Last year in Pittsburgh, he had seven. He’s nearly reached half of his career high (14).
·The Minnesota Wild: after beating Vancouver last night for their fourth win in five games, arrived for the morning routine at Climate Pledge Arena to take the ice after the Kraken were finished. Then they didn’t. According to Michael Russo,covering the Wild for The Athletic, the Wild already have had three assistant coaches (not on the trip) and general manager Bill Guerin dealing with COVID. They cancelled practice 30 minutes before their ice time, on a COVID testing day.(***Update:according to Russo, two players are expected to enter COVID-19 protocol, leaving one call-up on the shortlist with local intrigue: former Everett Silvertips star forward Connor Dewar, who twice broke the 30-goal mark before the end of his four-year career in the north sound.***)
Schwartz - Gourde - Jarnkrok
Donskoi - Wennberg - Eberle
Tanev - McCann - Donato
Bastian - Sheahan - Geekie
Giordano - Oleksiak
Lauzon - Larsson
Fleury - Dunn
Soucy - Borgen
FROM THE PODIUM:
Dave Hakstol on the improvements of last night:
“I liked the way we started. It's one of the things we talked about here and there, too. We can start a little bit better. There were really good stretches within the first period where I felt like we were able to get on a transition up ice and create either opportunities or some offensive zone time. Our third period, there were a lot of stretches there, obviously at that point in time, we were able to stretch the lead which was a positive for us as well. On the flip side of it, we can clean up how we execute with the puck, especially in the second period and make sure that we're valuing that puck and take care of things to give ourselves the best opportunity to play in the offensive zone rather than have to turn around and check 200 feet and play in our d-zone. So like you're in a second period, especially with stretches we were a little bit sloppier even though during that time we're able to build a lead.”
Hakstol on the development of Brandon Tanev:
“There’s not really one thing that I would put a finger on with ‘Turbo.’ What he’s going to play with is pace, he plays hard with passion, and every shift he’s confident with opportunities he expects to be able to find the back of the net. It’s not like he’s just out there hoping or looking for an offensive opportunity to work at 200 feet. So usually when you do that, good things happen and that's the way he’s been generating.”
Hakstol on Jordan Eberle’s breakthrough first period goal on Tuesday night and the example it sets for younger players:
“Well, that’s just being an example. It's not something that probably even has to be spoken to all that much. Maybe it's a side conversation or a short conversation between two players. But it’s just about going out, doing it by example and showing them the right way to do things.”