The Seattle Kraken are on a seven-game road trip, going through places that will bring players closer to home. Take for instance, a stop in Toronto (Jared McCann, Jamie Oleksiak, Vince Dunn, Brandon Tanev), Boston (Matty Beniers, Ryan Donato), and Montreal (Yanni Gourde).
There are more on the horizon. It ends in Chicago on January 14.
The Kraken come back home for one game: Jan. 16 for a 1pm Martin Luther King Jr. Day matinee against the Tampa Bay Lightning. After that, back on a plane, for another showdown the next night at Edmonton.
Pack heavy. Well, how much? Here are a few and brief tales of the road, where the Kraken are 10-4-2 and own the league’s most potent road offense (4 goals per game).
On how much to pack:
Ryan Donato: “I’m definitely an over-packer. I’ll be packing as much as I can.”
Morgan Geekie: “I’m a pretty efficient packer, honestly. Pretty easy. I’ve just got to make sure I pack enough underwear – we’re on the road for two weeks. That’s the big one.
Jared McCann: “I try to pack as light as I possibly can. It’s tough carrying stuff around, moving up, packing up in hotel rooms - so you try to pack as light as possible.”
Geekie: “Maybe take my PlayStation – it’s like two weeks. See what we can do.
“I can dedicate half of my suitcase to just that. It is the worst, ergonomically designed device I’ve ever seen. It’s an old VCR. Terrible. Different shapes.”
Donato: “For me it’s just making sure I have everything I need. I don’t overpack, like, fifteen pairs of underwear. We’ll be gone for a few days. But just for me, everything I need – contact lenses, necessities, having extra pairs in different places in case I lose some – for me that’s kind of what it takes for a long, long road trip.”
So what gets left behind, extra layers or equipment?
McCann: “More equipment – I leave technology at home. When you get to a city, check out a city. Time flies by in this league. So, to visit each place, and each city, is a blessing, so you have to get out and see things.”
On seeing family on the trip:
McCann: “I have a bunch. Expensive trip for me.”
Donato: “Quite a bit. My initial family will be there. Family and friends, it’s a crazy and hectic day. But for me, looking forward to it.”
McCann: “My girlfriend’s family bought a bunch of tickets for Christmas and they’re going to come down, which is nice. I rarely get to see them. They have a dairy farm – they’re constantly busy.”
On the advantage obtained playing on the road, where the Kraken have been successful:
Donato: “It’s huge. We play at different barns, and it’s tough to create offense. You get teams that are pretty good, offensively, defensively – all around. You’re not going to beat them on things too crazy. So, the simpler we play, capitalize on our opportunities, and limit their chances, that’s a combination for success.”
McCann: “Building chemistry is one thing on the ice. But I really feel it starts off the ice. Getting to know your teammates, and getting to know guys, when you get to know a guy and see how they are as a person, it adds that level of fight into your game.”
“I feel if they were to get a dirty hit, you’re there for them. It makes you want to fight for them much harder.”
On the best day they’ve had on the road with teammates:
Donato: “Good question. We’ve had some good ones.”
“We have a fun group of guys who are close together. Even on days where we practice together, it’s fun. I don’t know if I can pick a single day.”
McCann: “Cali – we got to play some golf – me and (Andre Burakovsky). We took some money from Jaden (Schwartz) and (Alex Wennberg). That went right back into the team fund. In Florida, we had a team dinner. That was good.”
The Kraken will battle the Toronto Maple Leafs, up next, 4pm PT (93.3 KJR / Kraken Audio Network) on Thursday.