Perhaps third time’s a charm, where the Seattle Kraken return to home ice tonight with professed reinforcement of core values, habits, and a mission to snap out of a four-game losing skid in their first meeting with the Chicago Blackhawks, 7pm at Climate Pledge Arena.
An extended Coors Light Pregame Show will take you up to opening face-off, with an updated look at the Kraken, the mission for a fast start, Alex Wennberg finding his game, and a scouting report on the Chicago Blackhawks, who have won three in a row under interim head coach Derek King. A consistent pattern of change in the last few weeks, from GM Stan Bowman stepping aside to the dismissal of head coach Jeremy Colliton, has now led to longtime coach Marc Crawford being named associate coach this morning while Rob Cookson was added to the staff after time with HC Lugano (Switzerland).
More below in Kraken This Morning: Dave Tomlinson joined us to unfold Kraken developments further, while Blackhawks TV analyst Eddie Olczyk (now adding to his duties with TNT Sports) shared a Blackhawks scouting report.
-This game will have no shortage of star power. Philipp Grubauer will be in net for the Kraken while Marc-André Fleury gets the start for the Blackhawks, pairing two Vezina Trophy finalists from last season on the same ice surface in Seattle.
-Not to mention, the trio the Kraken have to stop: Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Alex DeBrincat – the former two as the centerpiece of three Blackhawks Stanley Cup titles, and have combined for 1,996 career NHL games. DeBrincat has a point in three straight games, and is tied for fifth (Kane) in Blackhawks history for most goals before his 24thbirthday (126).
-Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol hinted at nearly no lineup changes, save the subtraction of Carson Soucy, who will be replaced tonight by Haydn Fleury who returns after sitting as a scratch for three straight games.
-Family bloodlines: how fun will this one be for the Olczyk household? Brothers Ricky (Kraken assistant GM) and Eddie (Blackhawks color analyst, though handling national TV duties tonight) will be in the same building, with their two teams squaring off. Eddie admitted on the large collection of Kraken gear assembling in their family, also having much to do with Eddie Jr., a Kraken amateur scout.
-Can he stay hot: Yanni Gourde has ten points (6g-4a) in the last seven games of his career against the Blackhawks.
-Local visiting team “we’ve returned” hockey ties: Jujhar Khaira (Everett Silvertips, WHL), Seth Jones (Portland Winterhawks, WHL), Caleb Jones (Winterhawks, WHL).
-Seth (who’s younger brother is Caleb, no coincidence) said this morning about returning to Seattle, a place where he fondly remembers Winterhawks vs. Thunderbirds matchups and facing Mat Barzal: “the fans were always great coming to Seattle. Coming in with Portland we’d bus ride in and leave right after, so we didn’t get to see the city at all. The fans were great, loud, and exciting.”
Don’t forget: we’re now bringing in the Coors Light Text Line for post-game coverage (text us your questions and Kraken comments to 49451)!