Seattle Kraken at Detroit Red Wings
4:30 p.m. Pacific time
Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Michigan
TV: ROOT Sports
Radio: AM 950 KJR
On last week’s Sound Of Hockey Podcast, yours truly commended Calle Jarnkrok for how well he played against the Washington Capitals and even named him one of the SOH Three Stars. The following game, Jarnkrok got injured when Jordan Staal of the Carolina Hurricanes fell on him. On this week’s Sound Of Hockey Podcast, our own John Barr commented that—although Jarnkrok and Mark Giordano (COVID protocol) are out currently—the Kraken have been relatively healthy during the course of this season. Well, lo and behold, news broke Wednesday morning that in addition to Jarnkrok and Giordano, Jaden Schwartz, Jordan Eberle, Chris Driedger, and Will Borgen are all unavailable for this Kraken game against the Red Wings.
Do we think podcast-related jinxes are real? Not really, but the timing truly is incredible.
Coach Dave Hakstol didn’t give any additional information beyond that the players noted above are out Wednesday. Jarnkrok and Driedger are now officially on injured reserve, though, which means Driedger will be out at least a week, while Jarnkrok could theoretically return Friday if he happens to be ready. Schwartz, Eberle, and Borgen are still on the active roster for now.
Schwartz and Eberle have shown a lot of on-ice chemistry, so maybe it’s just a “two peas in a pod” thing. Or maybe Schwartz just refuses to play, knowing that Eberle is out. Or maybe it’s just sympathy pains? We don’t know, but we’ll look into those theories.
Ok, kidding aside, losing two of your top scorers simultaneously is not ideal.
The Driedger injury is also especially disappointing. He had just started playing well, earned himself a second consecutive start Monday, and won in both of his latest opportunities. The sequence played out in a very similar manner to his first injury, where he completed the game in Philadelphia, then was surprisingly on IR the following day. When he returned from that injury, he shared that he had tweaked something in his knee, and it got worse as time passed after the game against the Flyers. Hakstol did say that whatever the injury is this time, it popped up after Monday’s win in Buffalo, so one can’t help wonder if this new injury is related to the previous one.
Kole Lind and Joey Daccord recalled
Seeing that many players become unavailable at once might make you wonder if the Kraken can even field a full team against the Red Wings, but the math works out. They lost two forwards and a defenseman from what they had in the lineup on Monday, but they had a forward and a defenseman scratched that night. So Colin Blackwell and Jeremy Lauzon will draw back in, while Kole Lind was recalled from Charlotte, along with netminder Joey Daccord.
Assuming no last-minute scratches, the Kraken do have just enough healthy bodies present and accounted for in Detroit to avoid playing guys out of position or dressing fewer than the usual 20.
After sticking with Seattle all through training camp, Lind played just one game during his October call-up. It came on that fateful night when the Kraken got smoked by the Flyers and Driedger got hurt the first time. Lind played 9:21, was a minus-2, and had two penalty minutes. With the Charlotte Checkers, he does have two goals and five assists in 17 games played.
Daccord played two games in place of Driedger during his first stint with the NHL club. He was good against the New Jersey Devils on Oct. 19, but got hung out to dry a bit against the Edmonton Oilers on Nov. 1. At the AHL level, he has a 2.35 goals against average and .915 save percentage in eight games this season.
Kraken look to close out road trip in successful fashion
The Kraken will certainly need a “next man up” mentality against the Red Wings on Wednesday, but if they can find a way to win—despite so many players out of the lineup—then this could end up being a hugely successful road trip. Returning to Seattle with six points in four road games would be another lift to this club, which is still relatively fresh off a six-game losing streak.
To get it done against the Red Wings, the Kraken will need to continue to employ the winning formula that the team conjured up the last two games. That means opportunistic scoring, stout defense and shot blocking, and steady goaltending.
Philipp Grubauer has been good in his recent starts, so let’s see if he can continue to build on his game, especially now that he is again back to shouldering most of the load for the foreseeable future.
Detroit Red Wings
The Kraken will also have to slow down an improved, young Detroit Red Wings team.
Lucas Raymond was just named the NHL’s Rookie of the Month for November. He posted five goals and seven assists in 14 games and narrowly beat out his teammate, goalie Alex Nedeljkovic, for the honor. Raymond, 19, was the No. 4 overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft and is paying very early dividends for general manager Steve Yzerman and his staff. In all, he has 21 points in 23 games and leads the team in scoring.
Meanwhile, Moritz Seider, the No. 6 overall pick in 2019, has also burst onto the scene on the Detroit blue line. Seider, 20, was the Rookie of the Month for October. He has two goals and 12 assists, while Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi have chipped in with 19 and 18 respectively. Side note, we believe Bertuzzi is still unvaccinated against COVID and is the only player in the NHL who has not gotten the jab. It has no bearing on this game, but we thought it was interesting.
In all, the Red Wings are 11-9-3, good for fourth place in the Atlantic Division. They’ve won three in a row after losing four straight on a recent road trip.