MORNING SKATE PODCAST: We’re joined by Kraken TV analyst J.T. Brown and Blue Jackets radio voice Bob McElligott ahead of tonight’s game, as we discuss Marcus Johansson’s upcoming 700thgame, the power play, the Blue Jackets trip, and the Trevor Zegras goal. Good stuff in here.
The Seattle Kraken entered the morning with a simple mission to get back into the win column, and ended the morning with a few more ingredients that will be needed to cook up a victory.
By lunchtime, several moving parts are at play for the Kraken, preparing for the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight (7:00pm PT, Kraken Audio Network) for the second meeting of the year, and the first time the Kraken will host the Blue Jackets.
Among the matters at play:
·Yanni Gourde, Riley Sheahan, and assistant coach Jay Leach were all confirmed by Dave Hakstol entering COVID-19 protocol, joining Colin Blackwell. It’s now two coaches the Kraken have lost for protocol purposes, previously Paul MacFarland on Oct. 31. Leach, hired by the Kraken after serving as bench boss with the Boston Bruins AHL farm team in Providence, handles the team’s defensemen and penalty kill units.
·Making room for the stream of moves on Saturday was the call-up of Charlotte Checkers leading scorer and former Seattle Thunderbirds forward Alexander True, expected to make his Kraken debut in the lineup tonight. The author of, arguably, the most famous goal in T-Birds history when he roofed a game six overtime winner at Regina in 2016-17 to win the WHL championship, True has 18 points in 22 games with Charlotte and is searching for his first NHL goal, previously getting in 19 games with the San Jose Sharks.
·Assuming no further developments are at hand, Marcus Johansson is set to play in the 700thgame of his NHL career tonight, joining Jordan Eberle and Mark Giordano as Kraken skaters who have logged 700 games or more in their NHL careers.
·No line rushes on display this morning, explainable with all the moving parts that need organization from Saturday’s developments, while the Kraken exercised their power play and penalty kill through reps before the morning’s conclusion.
·Chris Driedger will come off injured reserve and back up tonight’s starter Philipp Grubauer, while Joey Daccord has officially been returned to Charlotte on reassignment.
·Columbus will start a lengthy five-game trip without all-world talent and injured forward Patrik Laine, who beat the Kraken in overtime, 2-1 on Oct. 16 in Columbus.
·The Jackets are very good at home: 9-3-1. They have struggled on the road: 4-8-0.
·Gavin Bayreuther, Blue Jackets defenseman andsubject of a season-long running gag, will play in place of the injured Adam Boqvist.
·It was a matter of “this close” for defenseman Jake Christiansen, called up from the Blue Jackets AHL affiliate in Cleveland and looking to make his NHL debut. Christiansen will be out of the lineup, 30 miles south of where he forged his decorated major junior career as an Everett Silvertip. Not all is lost though: next stop for Columbus is Vancouver (Dec. 14), nearby where Christiansen grew up and his parents still live, in West Vancouver.