Morning Skate: Colin Blackwell Activated, Will Play Tonight

Buffalo Sabres v New York Rangers

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 25: Colin Blackwell #43 of the New York Rangers warms up before the game against the Buffalo Sabres at Madison Square Garden on April 25, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)Photo: Getty Images

Game two of a six-game homestand goes back to the message delivered by Dave Hakstol to his team, earlier this week in practice: “dig in.”

The Kraken, digging deeper for their first win in over a week, aim to break a three-game winless skid and losses in five of the last six games tonight against the Minnesota Wild, in the second meeting of the season at 7pm (6:30pm pre-game, 1090 KJR / Kraken Audio Network).

The Kraken blitzed the Wild in their first meeting, a 4-1 victory in Seattle on Oct. 28 which is very much on the Wild’s radar, with Marcus Foligno telling Michael Russo of The Athletic“we have to redeem ourselves.” On the Kraken radar: shift back to a complete, calm, and clean game that rectifies a defense allowing 23 goals in the last five games, and has slipped to 31stin the NHL in goals allowed per game (nearly 4 per night).

Offensive production, as of late, is no issue: Jordan Eberle, owning the league’s longest active goal streak while as hot as your average furnace, has eight goals in eight games (tied for second most in that span with Edmonton’s Leon Drasaitl) while Jared McCann, fresh off COVID-19 protocol, picked up where he left off with a two goal game on Thursday.

Likely starters in net tonight: Philipp Grubauer (Kraken) and Cam Talbot (Minnesota).


-Colin Blackwell makes (finally) his season and Kraken debut, officially activated from a lower body injury that’s reduced him previously to a practice linemate. A confessed “hockey nerd,” Blackwell admitted he watched his share of games on TV trying to keep up with the team – and as far as how much he produces, despite 12 goals in 47 games last year with the Rangers, he’s trying to keep those expectations for the near future tempered saying he’s “not going to jump into the same game shape.” Blackwell has 15 goals in 80 NHL games, spread across stints with the Rangers and Nashville Predators.

-Based on the morning’s look for line rushes, Blackwell (who’s demonstrated versatility at the forward position) will play as a right winger with center Morgan Geekie, and fellow winger Brandon Tanev.

-Riley Sheahan, absent during line rushes at morning skate, was later announced as placed on waivers to make room for Blackwell, previously with a goal and three points in 14 games this season.

-During this morning’s session, where the Kraken had a full game day skate on home ice for the first time since the historic home opener on Oct. 23 vs. Vancouver, Jaden Schwartz participated in line rushes with Alex Wennberg and Jordan Eberle. Then, Schwartz left the ice early while Nathan Bastian, a visible hint as a spare forward for the day, filled in for Schwartz’s spot. Perhaps, much ado about nothing: Hakstol confirmed after morning skate that Schwartz is available for tonight.

Broadcast notes:

·More intel and a scouting report on the Minnesota Wild below with me, J.T. Brown, and Joe O’Donnell in this morning’s installment podcast of “Kraken This Morning.”

·1stintermission: “Meet the Kraken” with forward Wild forward, and current Kraken left winger Marcus Johansson, in a sit-down with 950 KJR’s Ian Furness

·Programming note: with the Huskies and Arizona State airing on 950 KJR, we move tonight’s flagship coverage over to 1090 AM – and still audible across the Kraken Audio Network. Coors Light Pregame Show coverage opens at 6:30pm, Everett Fitzhugh and Dave Tomlinson’s call will carry you through the game, and we’ll be on air for a full hour after the final horn including “Talkin’ Kraken,” wherewe’ll take your tweetsandthoughts. Text us, too – just send your thoughts to the Coors Light Text Line at 49451.

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