At this point, it’s close to turning into “Gourde Watch.”
After undergoing shoulder surgery this summer with a timeline to start later in the season, Seattle Kraken forward Yanni Gourde made documented progress yesterday with his participation in a full contact environment, and on Friday at Kraken Community Iceplex was showcased in featured, high-impact roles such as first line duty (reserved for forwards usually designated to be the most consistent, high-volume scorers) with and in three-on-three drills, a role accompanying the even strength designs of sudden death overtime.
- Gourde skated with Jaden Schwartz and Jordan Eberle in drills at practice.
- Jared McCann, who operated as the center for Schwartz and Eberle on a routine basis in pre-season, moved to a new center position for linemates Ryan Donato, and Morgan Geekie.
- Forward Calle Jarnkrok, missing in practice this week, was today confirmed by head coach Dave Hakstol out of action after entering the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol. No further details about Jarnkrok were provided including his timetable to return.
- With Jarnkrok out of action, Joonas Donskoi continued with to skate in place as a forward with fellow linemates, Marcus Johansson and Alex Wennberg, previously skating with Jarnkrok.
- Confirmed at the start of training camp, the Kraken are 100 percent vaccinated.
- Kole Lind returned to the ice to participate in practice, two days after being placed on waivers for purposes of reassignment to the American Hockey League.
- Toward the end of practice, the Kraken moved both nets toward the blueline for what is often deemed a “small area game,” typically enhancing a competitive environment,quick decision making, and puck protection skills. The Kraken were split into two teams, with each goal or save eliciting large cheers from either side. It’s fun for the fans as well - a large contingent in attendance today to the point of full capacity - and maybe in a way described as “organized chaos.”
PRACTICE LINEUP TODAY:
Schwartz - Gourde - Eberle
Donato - McCann - Geekie
Johansson - Wennberg - Donskoi
Tanev - Sheahan – Appleton
Bastian / Lind
Giordano - Fleury
Larsson - Cholowski
Soucy - Oleksiak
Lauzon - Dunn
FROM THE PODIUM:
Head Coach Dave Hakstol on the shift of Gourde from left wing to center in practice:
“That was part of our plan yesterday - in on the left wing. We wanted to put him up the middle today and that was a shift we wanted to make, so no change in plan. He's got a couple of good hard working days of practice. It's good to see him back in regular spots. You get more rotations, and you go on to a regular line, so that's why we wanted to do that and yesterday to a little less work as a left winger. It's a little more work as a centerman, so that was a natural progression.”
Hakstol on the update on getting Gourde into game action:
“Well we have a medical team in place that have a plan. We're going to communicate with them, and that's where decisions will be made. On the ice right now, we're trying to make sure that when he is ready and clear, that he's in the best spot he can be physically. So that's what we're doing on the ice.”
Hakstol on the team’s progress toward the end of the week:
“We’re not complete yet. We’re still working at new details every day. We just added a couple of things again today and that's going to continue. Our mindset is good. Our work ethic has been outstanding. We’ve got a day off now (Saturday) for everybody to get away from the rank and from the game for a day, come back with a clear mind, and ready for a full work day again Sunday. We get two good practices, before we start in Vegas on Tuesday night. That's where we're at.”
Hakstol on getting more work in a 3-on-3 situations:
“We only had one three-on-three in the preseason. So we just wanted to get a little bit of time and with our combinations. There was no specific structure that we were looking forward today, mostly we wanted to put pairs together, and you know the defenseman along with those pairs, just so you can start a little bit of chemistry to try to build towards that, you know the game option when it does come.”