Mama said there’d be days like Monday in San Jose, where the Kraken forgot to show up and dropped what should have been an easy two standings points to the lowly Sharks. After a day off Tuesday, the Kraken got back to it on Wednesday for a hard-working session at Kraken Community Iceplex, as they shifted their focus to two daunting home matchups against the Boston Bruins Thursday and the Toronto Maple Leafs Sunday.
Seattle’s players and coaches shared similar sentiments after Wednesday’s skate, recognizing they didn’t have their best game in San Jose, but also knowing these things happen during the course of an 82-game NHL season.
“It wasn’t our best effort for sure; we all know that,” said defenseman Justin Schultz. “You have those games in the season that— it just wasn’t there for us for whatever reason. We’ll look at things, and we got a couple of huge games coming up. So not much we can do about the San Jose game now, just look forward to tomorrow.”
With the team’s fathers and mentors along for the short trip to the Bay Area, and Seattle riding a nice little 3-0-1 wave, the vibes were high before Monday. It felt like things had gotten back on the rails after the Kraken returned from the All-Star break on a 0-3-0 skid.
But Monday’s 4-0 loss was a taste of humble pie.
“We failed to show up,” said Jordan Eberle, who—after 13 seasons in the NHL—knows the perils of taking any NHL team for granted. “We got out-competed, we got out-battled, and it doesn’t matter who you play against in this league; you’re gonna get shown up.”
Eberle also said games like that one can have a positive impact on the team when considering the bigger picture. Think about the Dec. 30 spanking Seattle endured at the hands of the Edmonton Oilers, for example, which was a turning point before the team went on its historic perfect seven-game road trip and eight-game win streak.
“Sometimes you get on your high horse, and you think you’re better than you are, and that’s exactly what we did,” said Eberle. “So, you know, it’s good to be humbled in this league. It happens many times, and the key to that is how you get back to it.”
Now, the team is focused on getting back to playing how it normally plays, as it welcomes two teams in a row to Climate Pledge Arena that boast the first- and fourth-best records in the entire NHL.
“We’ve been playing some pretty good hockey,” said Schultz. “We had a lull in the San Jose game. That happens. It’s a long year, and hopefully we do have that bump up tomorrow.”
Even with the loss, Eberle likes where the team sits, just three points out of first place in the Pacific Division. “You look at the playoff picture and where things are at, we’re in a spot where we want to be. It’s a matter of continuing to build, continuing to climb, and you’re going to have nights when things don’t go well, but we got to get back to the way we play.”
Jesper Froden recalled from Coachella Valley
With Andre Burakovsky still listed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury, Seattle called up forward Jesper Froden from AHL affiliate Coachella Valley. Froden is having an outstanding season for the Firebirds, notching a whopping 47 points in 44 games so far (25—22=47).
“It feels awesome,” said Froden about getting called up to the Kraken for the first time. “I’ve been waiting for this a couple months now, so now the opportunity is here, and I’m really excited about it.”
Froden said Coachella Valley coach Dan Bylsma delivered the news to him Tuesday that he had been recalled and told him, “Go back home, pack your stuff, and take the next flight up.”
The 28-year-old Swede has seven career NHL games under his belt, all last season with—ironically—the Boston Bruins, Seattle’s opponent on Thursday. In those seven games, he scored one goal and one assist.
“He’s earned his way to an opportunity here,” said coach Dave Hakstol. “I think he’s second in [goal] scoring in the [AHL], one [goal] behind the leader. More importantly, he’s been really competitive and consistent in his role down there.”
Hakstol said for Froden to have his AHL success translate to the NHL level, he’ll need to just be confident and work hard. “He’s not a young guy,” said Hakstol. “He’s been through this a little bit. He’s done the work where he’s at, and he’s just got to come up and be who he is and be ready to compete extremely hard and do it with a real air of confidence.”
Froden calls himself a two-way player whose strengths are his shot and skating ability.
Where or if he will slot into the lineup remains to be seen, but we would assume if he were to play Thursday, it would be on the fourth line. Seattle’s usual fourth line of Ryan Donato, Morgan Geekie, and Daniel Sprong was intact Wednesday, though, while Froden appeared to be a placeholder for Jaden Schwartz, who was not on the ice (a common occurrence this season for Schwartz). So, that tells us Froden may not go in Thursday, but that can always change on game day.
Kraken announce partnership with Muckleshoot Indian Tribe
Wednesday was also a day of celebration at Kraken Community Iceplex, as the Kraken organization and Climate Pledge Arena announced a unique partnership with the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe.
“The Muckleshoot Indian Tribe is proud to begin this first-of-its-kind partnership with the Kraken, who worked with us from day one to acknowledge that Climate Pledge Arena is located on our ancestral homeland and to honor our enduring place in the cultural fabric of this region,” said Muckleshoot Tribal Chairman Jaison Elkins via press release.
The team welcomed members of the Muckleshoot Tribe and local elected officials onto the ice Wednesday, as they held a presentation to commemorate the new partnership.
With this union, the Muckleshoot Tribe will be the first jersey patch partner in franchise history, beginning in 2023-24. Additionally, more artwork will be added to Climate Pledge Arena that celebrates indigenous heritage, and the team will help build a community multi-sport court on the Muckleshoot Reservation.
“This joyful day brings with it a sense of hope that our young people will see themselves represented by the team in the heart of Seattle and around the country with our Tribe’s logo on the front of every Kraken jersey,” said Elkins.
The Kraken have gone out of their way to represent themselves locally and beyond as an inclusive organization that pushes the boundaries of traditional hockey culture. This is another big step by the franchise to show it cares and that it wants to do good in the community.
“We launched our franchise with an eye to the future as well as an acknowledgment of the past,” said Kraken CEO Tod Leiweke. “This partnership manifests our gratitude and respect for the Muckleshoot People, past and present, who are the ancestral keepers of the land upon which Climate Pledge Arena sits and we play.”