Mark Giordano arrived on a Monday afternoon flight from Florida still looking to get his senses back.
Not figuratively speaking. This was for real. The Kraken captain, who fought off “congestion,” had lost his sense of taste during his stay in COVID-19 protocol, and finally returned home to Seattle off quarantine to settle into a bite of chicken and pasta.
“It caught me off guard that I could taste it,” said Giordano. “Pretty happy for that. It’s a weird feeling being hungry and not being able to taste your food. I don’t wish that on anyone for sure.”
Giordano’s Tuesday was his first back on the ice at Kraken Community Iceplex since being sidelined on the opening day of the Kraken’s four game road trip, when the Kraken fell in a 3-0 defeat to the Tampa Bay Lightning before finishing at a respectable 2-1-1 run.
Despite losing their captain, who returned for an intense practice along with goaltender Chris Driedger (still on injured reserve for a lower body ailment), the event follows a 6-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins the night before, where Kraken previously held together through his absence to win five times in seven games (5-1-1).
Giordano said the additional leadership paid off during that stretch, including a win at home against the offensively charged Edmonton Oilers.
“That’s our team,” said Giordano. “Really happy. (Jaden Schwartz), (Jordan Eberle) and (Calle Jarnkrok) were out too there, so there’s a lot of guys who stepped up and had big moments. Now, I’m trying to get in and get a boost myself.”
Head coach Dave Hakstol, fresh off the ice, informed that he had yet to talk to Giordano about his availability for Thursday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets.
“Knowing ‘Gio’, he’s going to be shooting for and pushing for Thursday night,” Hakstol said.
Fierce battle drills, a feature including board work in Tuesday’s practice, spelled a 30-minute session that forward Mason Appleton called “a good, hard day of work” after the Kraken fell behind three goals in the first 5:07 of Monday night’s game, and inched no closer to a 3-1 deficit on Jordan Eberle’s second period goal.
“Compete day,” said Appleton. “We got outcompeted last night. It’s got to be our bread and butter – being the underdog and outworking teams.”
“We got back to the basics today.”
Hakstol said the substance in the mission for Tuesday morning on the ice was found more in action, rather than words.
“I wasn’t looking at a message today, we went out and worked,” said Hakstol. “We feel like we got away from it a little bit last night, we got back to it today.”
“Good, hard practice with guys competing hard.”
KRAKEN LINE COMBINATIONS AND DEFENSIVE PAIRS