3 Kraken forwards activated as Monday's practice cancelled

Colorado Avalanche v Seattle Kraken

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 19: Yanni Gourde #37 of the Seattle Kraken warms up before the game against the Colorado Avalanche at Climate Pledge Arena on November 19, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)Photo: Getty Images

The Seattle Kraken cancelled a Monday scheduled practice for 10:30am at Kraken Community Iceplex out of “an abundance of caution,” the team announced on Monday with preparations still underway for a 7:00pm PT puck drop on Tuesday night against the Arizona Coyotes.

As of Monday morning, the team said one more positive test was waiting to be confirmed, and Tuesday night’s game against the Arizona is still on as scheduled.

On Sunday, defenseman Carson Soucy was placed on COVID-19 protocol, the second member of the Kraken blueline to become sidelined in as many days. Defenseman Jamie Oleksiak, fourth on the Kraken with an average of 19:28 of ice time per game, was ruled out of action shortly before puck drop on Saturday.

In addition, a team source confirmed forward Brandon Tanev’s status on Monday morning was still “being evaluated” after he left the Kraken 5-3 defeat on Saturday night to Edmonton Oilers with less than four minutes left in the third period, absorbing a heavy collision into the end boards to the blocker side of Edmonton goaltender Stuart Skinner.

Other developments have bodies returning to the roster for what will be the Kraken final game before the holiday break: forwards Yanni Gourde, Colin Blackwell, and Riley Sheahan were all activated off COVID-19 protocol, with Gourde and Blackwell seen on ice separately, in the window of an hour before practice was officially cancelled.

Should they return to play, the additions could provide a boost with options among their forward corps. Most notably, Gourde is a veteran of two back-to-back titles with the Tampa Bay Lightning who logs big minutes and is second only to Alex Wennberg for time on ice among the team’s forwards with 18:51 ice time per game.

The veteran of 332 NHL games is tied for fourth on the Kraken with 16 points in 22 games.

Sheahan, just 15 games shy of 600 in his NHL career, has four points in 19 games with the Kraken along with a brief stint in the AHL with Charlotte, but has also become a heavily used forward on the penalty kill, third most among forwards with 29:52 of ice time this season on the kill.

Blackwell, logging three points in eight games with spare time on the penalty kill since his debut last month, was last seen on ice Dec. 3 in one of the signature Kraken wins of the season, 4-3 over Edmonton, when he roofed a backhander over Stuart Skinner.

Assistant coach Jay Leach remains in COVID-19 protocol with a team source confirming he could be released as early as game day on Tuesday. As part of head coach Dave Hakstol’s staff, Leach’s primary duties involve the team’s defensemen, their pairings, and the team’s penalty kill groupings.

The Kraken will have their pre-holiday break schedule complete after their game against Arizona. Two pre-holiday break games have been postponed due to COVID-19 developments and will be rescheduled for a later date: Dec. 19 vs. Toronto (home) and Dec. 23 vs. Calgary (road).

The NHL announced on Sunday that shutdowns of NHL teams would be handled on a case-by-case basis, and games involving cross-border travel between United States and Canadian based teams before the end of the holiday break on Dec. 26 would be postponed and rescheduled.

Nine teams have completely undergone pre-holiday break shutdowns due to COVID-19 developments, with the Columbus Blue Jackets and Montreal Canadiens as the latest teams to pause their schedules.

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