The winds of change continue to blow, shifting the path of one life to another.
The gust brings the final home game for the Seattle Kraken before the Monday trade deadline, tonight at 7pm when they take on the visiting Detroit Red Wings, seeking a split in the two-game head-to-head series. Philipp Grubauer will start in net for the Kraken, expectedly facing Alex Nedeljkovic.
The Kraken lost in a shootout, 4-3 at Little Caesars Arena, in what feels like a lifetime ago on Dec. 1.
As the trade deadline – already sending Calle Jarnkrok to Calgary – continues to move through the weekend, defenseman Mark Giordano, understanding the necessity of sitting out Wednesday’s game, will be sidelined tonight once again. He did though appear on ice this morning aside from Kraken line rushes.
“It’s a part of hockey,” said forward Alex Wennberg, who is expected to return to the lineup tonight after missing two games with an upper body ailment.
“It is what it is. You can’t overthink the whole thing. The trade deadline is here but this shouldn’t be any different than a week in November. You should approach every game the same way. Every night you go out to win and play your best.”
Jaden Schwartz, appearing to have a maintenance day to avoid morning skate, was confirmed by head coach Dave Hakstol as available while injured forward Joonas Donskoi – who won’t play tonight – took his place in line rushes. Karson Kuhlman, out since Feb. 1, skated this morning and will be a game time decision.
The last 20 games of the schedule have been a topic of discussion, from Jordan Eberle’s direct challenge of commitment to building after Wednesday’s loss to Tampa Bay to today, when Hakstol channeled the outcome to address specific team goals.
“From day one we’ve been talking about standards,” said Hakstol. “The other night, we spent less than three minutes in the offensive zone. Why was that? We didn’t win enough puck battles.”
“Standards in those little areas of the game competitively; togetherness, focus and poise in different situations in the game. Those are things that are all very important in the next 20 games.”
The Red Wings, 23 points out of the Eastern Conference playoff picture and reportedly sitting defenseman Nick Leddy, who awaits a potential trade, snapped six straight losses in a 1-0 victory at Vancouver on Thursday when Nedeljkovic made 43 saves, the most for a shutout in Red Wings history since 1956.
Detroit will get forward Tyler Bertuzzi back, who has sat the last three games with the Red Wings in Canada and is more than a week removed from the arrival of daughter, Kinsley, born eight days ago.
Bertuzzi was asked of the biggest challenge of becoming a new father.
“Very little sleep.”
Bertuzzi, three behind Red Wings leader Dylan Larkin with a career high 24 goals, reportedly has been made available on the trade market. Bertuzzi, after Saturday's morning skate, denied having any conversations with general manager Steve Yzerman about a trade, and said he has preferred to stay in Detroit.
“I love it here,” said Bertuzzi. “Never said I want to leave, so it’s where I want to be.”
“I want to be a Red Wing.”