Day 2 of Seattle Kraken training camp, in what may feel like is the second day of school, delivered the trend more familiarity: in teammates, adaptability, habits, pace, and faces that will play a vital role to get the inaugural 2021-22 season up and running.
That included the schedule, which features one more day of two sessions in the morning and spilling into the afternoon, split into two teams competing through drills before another packed crowd to the maximum at Kraken Community Iceplex.
Don’t gloss over those words, “packed crowd” (and again, to the maximum limit with COVID-19 protocol). Every session was concluded with the Kraken saluting the fans in attendance with sticks toward the rafters, with a loud applause and majority standing ovation returned for the players and coaching staff, exiting the ice.
Very little change occurred within the split teams, save for the addition of forward and former Kelowna Rockets WHL standout Kole Lind, previously unavailable for day one. It delivered a continuous high-octane level of pace, a trait that will often be heard when it comes to the core values of this year’s Kraken squad.
One example: a relentless pursuit of the puck to the net by forward Morgan Geekie, who then got a handful of goaltender Phillip Grubauer. Both players were fine.
Quite simply, high stress on the opposing defense and goaltending will cause wear and tear, beneficial for offensive scoring opportunities.
More eyes feasted on the continuous presence of forward Yanni Gourde, slated to play a large, high impact role on the group of Kraken forwards after winning back-to-back Stanley Cups with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Present on ice for approximately 25 minutes (for the public session) in a red “non-contact jersey,” his trademark agility, relentlessness and speed were on display, demonstrating progress to his debut in a Kraken jersey. When will it happen? It was touched on by Ron Francis, Thursday as the Kraken wrapped up their first day of camp.
GROUP 1 LINES - 9:40am
Johansson - Wennberg - Jarnkrok
Tanev - Sheahan - Lohin
Twarynski - True - Melanson
Lohin - Gourde - MacKay
H. Fleury - Dunn
Cholowski - Larsson
Soucy - Carrick
GROUP 2 LINES - 11:55am
Schwartz - McCann - Eberle
Wilson - Kartye - Appleton
Geekie - Donato - Donskoi
Gates - Henman - Lind
Giordano - Oleksiak
Lauzon - Borgen
Olofsson - C. Fleury
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE PODIUM, IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE:
Defenseman Vince Dunn on what makes the ideal teammate, this early in pre-season:
"Just looking at the guy across the room and the guy sitting next to you, and just knowing you gave it your all while putting the team first. Ninety percent of the time when you do that, you can take after the game you put in the effort. You can take your gear off and be happy with what happened on the ice. It might not always be a win. There are a lot of ups and downs in a season. It’s about taking one day of a time. The rest will take care of itself if we put the work in."
Forward Jaden Schwartz on the impact the ovation of the fans has on him and teammates:
"It's awesome. We hear about the city and it’s exciting for everyone. The fans have waited a long time for this. The games are going to be really exciting but to see this many people out for practice and skates – it’s fun for us. I know they’re enjoying a first look at some of us."
Defenseman Jamie Oleksiak on the meaning of having the KCI stands full once he and teammates hit the ice:
“It’s awesome. I don’t think I’ve had that in training camp before. It’s cool to see the fans and support. It’s an eye opener when you first walk out onto the ice. But, it’s awesome – it shows how much city is embracing it. You feel the energy on the ice. These practices have been pretty up tempo and guys have been ready to get the season going.”
On the toughest player he’s previously faced, now grateful to have as a teammate:
“Ooh. (Pauses). That’s a tough question. Depends what you’re looking for. I think, (Jordan) Eberle. He played (for the New York Islanders) and they had a very defensive system and he’s a good two-way player. But also, offensively – he’s so shifty and so deceptive with the puck. We saw in scrimmages playing together. He’s a great two-way player and great guy to have. When you’re playing against him, he works hard. Those are always the tough guys to play against.
Head Coach Dave Hakstol, on naming a captain:
“It’s something we’ve talked about and we haven’t made a decision yet. Ron (Francis) and I will continue to talk about that as we go through training camp and make a final decision after.”
On a leadership group:
“I haven’t had a leadership group together. But certainly, in my mind I have really good people and proven leaders within our dressing room that will be a part of that group.”
How important (those veteran players) are to set the tone with the team (in practice) physically, and emotionally:
“Probably most importantly, emotionally. In terms of that camaraderie in the dressing room, really feel that growing and building already inside the room. We’ve got some great veterans in there, comfortable with who they are. They’ve done a really good job inside that dressing room. What I see through two hard days of work, I’ve seen a continuation of that camaraderie in the dressing room. It has to continue to build. You have to work at that day after day to build trust as a team.”
Countdown to pre-season face-off: 2 days
Sept. 26: Seattle Kraken vs. Vancouver Canucks, Spokane Arena, face-off at 6pm (950 AM KJR).