Happy Tuesday hockey fans, where the wait you’ve endured has finally come to an end:
The Seattle Kraken are for real, they will play, and officially take the ice as the NHL’s 32ndfranchise tonight against the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Needless to say, the hockey world and sports world will have eyes on this.
For those in this electrifying and passionate community, from “NHL to Seattle” grassroots leader John Barr, to Tod Leiweke, the Oak View Group, Kraken ownership group, GM Ron Francis, head coach Dave Hakstol, Chanel Keenan, and thousands of Kraken season ticket holders, ticket buyers, merchandise carriers, and more who represent a dream – for those just curious in the present moment to those who have been around here for a long time to witness the Seattle Totems to Thunderbirds to Everett Silvertips, the dream is now a reality. It’s a day to be proud.
It’s a day that will live forever.
It’s a chance to make more history – as the Kraken will try to become the eighth team in NHL expansion history to win their first game. The Golden Knights did that four years ago, a team of“Misfits”that drove that bus all the way to the Stanley Cup Final, the first team to do so as an expansion franchise in 50 years (St. Louis Blues).
Fair or not if the Golden Knights are an accurate measuring stick, the two will collide on a night we’ll never forget.
-COVID-19 protocol hit the Kraken even further amongst the roster, with four players (Calle Jarnkrok, Jared McCann, Jamie Oleksiak, and Joonas Donskoi) ruled out of action. We were *this* close to a fifth – Marcus Johansson – originally in protocol yesterday, was reportedly cleared before the Monday flight to Las Vegas and was seen on ice in morning skate today.
-Philipp Grubauer (pictured, above) was the first goaltender off the ice – a strong indication he will start in net.
-Beyond that, no reported definitive as far as line combinations and defensive pairs. Dave Hakstol said the lineup is “a work in progress.”
-To be determined if waiver claim forward Alex Barré-Boulet makes his Kraken debut tonight, reported yesterday to be available for the game if travel delivers him in time.
-Local flavor: Alexander True, assigned days ago to the Charlotte Checkers (AHL) in a round of roster cuts, has made it back as a called up reinforcement. The former Seattle Thunderbird is now a part of history and trivia, making the Kraken final opening night roster.
-The Golden Knights, ready for their fifth season of play in the NHL, come off their third trip to the Conference Final in four seasons under head coach Peter DeBoer. Many have them pegged as the favorite (again) to win the Pacific Division, last season losing in a tiebreaker with the Colorado Avalanche in a restructured West Division, due to the pandemic, at 40-14-2. Vegas still beat Colorado in six games, in the second round.
-Did you know? There are 5 remaining Golden Knights, who suited up in the team’s first ever NHL game, remaining on tonight’s roster: Brayden McNabb, Reilly Smith, William Carrier, William Karlsson, and Jonathan Marchessault.
Radio coverage: 6:30pm pregame on Sports Radio 950 KJR and the Kraken Audio Network. Our well wishes to friend and colleague Everett Fitzhugh, announcing today he’s in NHL COVID protocol as well. John Forslund and J.T. Brown will be on tonight’s call – there’s no local televised coverage with ESPN carrying the national telecast – we’re fortunate to have them this evening.