Jared McCann took a centering pass in the slot and with a full wind-up, uncorked a one-timer that tickled the crossbar, dropped to the bottom like a gravity-induced sack of potatoes, and was followed by a primal scream from McCann to simulate a goal that energized Climate Pledge Arena with a surge of human electricity.
In other words, there was visible and extra emotion behind it.
This defined practice for the Seattle Kraken on Monday at Kraken Community Iceplex. Energetic, thorough, emotional, and detailed on the necessities that will define preparation for their next game.
They’ll have a while to get ready for it. Thursday’s game with the Ottawa Senators, 7pm at Climate Pledge Arena, has been postponed due to COVID issues involving the Senators, now paving the way for a complete eight-day layoff in between games.
Last playing on New Year’s Day in a 5-2 loss to the Canucks, the Kraken won’t play again until Jan. 10, starting a three-game road trip at Colorado.
TANEV SURGERY IS SUCCESSFUL
A splash of good news greased the Kraken roster outlook for the long term on Monday. Brandon Tanev, undisputable crowd and dressing room favorite bearing the nickname “Turbo,” had successful surgery on his anterior cruciate ligament and has already begun his rehabilitation, the team announced via Twitter.
As the injury at times typically takes between six months to a full year for full recovery, Tanev, who was injured colliding into the end boards on Dec. 18 against Edmonton in the third period, is expected to return for opening night in the 2022-23 season.
That target date is most likely nine months away.
“It’s a real positive that everything went well with the surgery,” said Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol. “There's a lot of work ahead for Brandon, but you've come to see on the ice with the way he works and prepares, he's going to do all the work necessary as he goes through his rehab."
ACL injuries are no laughing matter for an athlete, let alone a hockey player. But as they’re not as common as in football and basketball, the ligament is still crucial for range of motion and change of direction. Most recently, New York Islanders captain Anders Lee recovered from ACL surgery, ending his 2020-21 season in March, and has just about equaled his offensive output from last season – 12 goals in 27 games – with 10 goals through this season’s first 23 games.
And as he goes by “Turbo,” there is full value to the speed and quick twitch movements of Tanev’s brand, which will take time to recover.
Then, there’s the emotional side of it. It means not just under a full year away from game action, but potentially that same time period managing disconnect from his teammates – at least on the bench and on the ice.
Yet, Hakstol said he won’t be out of sight, out of mind.
“The support of teammates - it is really important,” said Hakstol. “It’s a long time when you go on a season ending injury, it can weigh more heavily on you. I know the guys will take care of ‘Turbo,’ and he'll have a ton of support.”
NO OTTAWA, ALL PRACTICE
Hakstol said the Kraken came into Monday with a plan for a three-day touch-up session before the Senators came into town. That was all blown into oblivion with the Ottawa game on hold, effectively ending the Kraken homestand and now requiring seven games to be rescheduled.
Also, it completely redefines the purpose of practice for the next six days ahead.
“We have to find the positives,” said Hakstol. “We really haven’t had a ton of good practice time over the last month as we come through the Christmas break. So, we have to grasp that, and take advantage of this week with good quality practices.”
“It’s not same as game action. We have to minimize the effect as we get back into a game, a week from now. This will give us ability, get up and down rink, and skate a lot, and execute to touch on some things we haven't touched on in last month.”
The Kraken haven’t exactly enjoyed a ride down Easy Street since the Christmas break, 0-2-1 in three games while surrendering 14 goals. This presents another issue, psychological effects, where the Kraken echo hope for the week ahead, wiping the memory clear of what happened, and opening the window for opportunity.
“One of the biggest benefits - clear our mind,” said Hakstol. “Get our thought process square and straight and get to work over next few days.”
“We had a good work day today,” said forward Morgan Geekie. “This week coming up, it’s kind of critical we put the work in and take as much out of it as we can. Unfortunately, it sucks getting these games cancelled, but we’re going to do the best we can to use it to our advantage.”
The Kraken now will need to have seven games rescheduled at some point, most likely around the large gap existing in February 2-23 that was originally cleared for the Olympic break, one that is no more with the NHL pulling out of participation shortly before Christmas.
Those games are:
·vs. Toronto (Dec. 19)
·vs. Arizona (Dec. 21)
·at Calgary (Dec. 23)
·at Vancouver (Dec. 27)
·vs. NY Islanders (Jan. 4)
·vs. Ottawa (Jan. 6)
·at Winnipeg (Jan. 8)
When those games are actually rescheduled are to be determined.
APPLETON BACK, WENNBERG OUT TO COVID PROTOCOL
The Kraken got Mason Appleton back in practice on Monday, participating on a line with Max McCormick and Riley Sheahan after heading to COVID-19 protocol on Dec. 27.
Appleton, coming off a 12-goal and 25-point output last season with the Winnipeg Jets, has been limited to just two goals and six points in 19 games.
But for the stream of players who come back from an isolation period where the only connection to their teammates is a text message, FaceTime, or other ways of electronic communication, the return is a victory for a human connection; an elevation an emotional advantage.
“You don’t want to see that happen, but it seems to be a part of our world right now,” said Geekie. “It’s awesome to see him come back, get back in the gym, back on the ice and back to game shape. He’s a great guy, so it’s great to have him and what he brings to the locker room back today.”
Wennberg’s absence from practice became clear by Noon when the Kraken forward was announced as entering COVID-19 protocol, subtracting 14 assists (tied for the team lead) and 17 points in 33 games, along with time on their power play unit.
It continues the trend where the Kraken are forced to deal with an ever-changing world, fluctuating lineup, scheduling, winless streaks and more, where veterans and leaders with a letter “C” or “A” on their jersey are challenged to pave a path.
“We’ve had discussions since the first week, through smooth waters in good times, through tougher times,” said Hakstol. “There’s been some frustration in our completion of games and being able close out games and walk away with points. Perspective and being a real good pro – sometimes it’s not really what you say and what you do, and I believe that’s the most important things for our veterans.”
“We’ve all got to lead by going out and showing in our actions, the care, work ethic, and togetherness that’s a big part of our hockey team.”
KRAKEN AT PRACTICE, JAN. 3:
Lind / True