Practice Notes: One more tune-up before the big night


The next time the Seattle Kraken practice at their home facility in Northgate, also known as the Kraken Community Iceplex, they will be coming up from the other side of history, new surroundings, and perhaps a night on Saturday, Oct. 23 at Climate Pledge Arena that millions will say were there, but only validated by over 17,000 fans.

Their last practice of the week, before moving Saturday morning into Climate Pledge Arena to finally claim their space of home ice, spent Friday at KCI to tweak habits that at times were tough to follow up on a 1-3-1 road trip, reinforce the lineup available at their hand, and break in an injured body they hope is making progress to come off the shelf.

All of this, while their new home: swanky, cutting edge, and state-of-the-art, had the official ribbon cutting ceremony, flanked by Kraken CEO Tod Leiweke, brother Tim Leiweke (CEO of the Oak View Group), Kraken co-owner Jerry Bruckheimer, Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan, Washington governor Jay Inslee, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, and more.

Notes:

-More below, and Dave Hakstol hinted that the look in practice will have strong similarities to what the Kraken will ice in Seattle’s first NHL home game in franchise history, and first professional home game since 1975.

-Morgan Geekie is making progress, one day removed from wearing a red “non-contact” jersey in practice after he sustained a high hit from New Jersey’s Jonas Sieganthaler on Tuesday. Geekie started the morning wearing a white colored jersey, eventually switching to dark blue for the remaining 30 minutes of practice.

-Colin Blackwell alert: another potential missing piece of the high impact puzzle of the Kraken, the former New York Rangers forward – arguably on pace last season for a 20+ goal campaign – started the morning on ice in a white colored jersey before the primary group took over on the ice.

-No further appearance from Marcus Johansson (lower body injury) or goaltender Chris Driedger (undisclosed), the latter making progress for his return per Dave Hakstol on Thursday. Driedger is eligible to come off injured reserve as soon as next Tuesday, when the Kraken host the struggling Montreal Canadiens (0-5).

-Line combinations remained the same from 24 hours prior with Ryan Donato swapping with select teammates at center or on the wing.

-AHL update: the Charlotte Checkers, improving to 2-1, blasted three unanswered goals to knock off the Hershey Bears, 5-3 in Charlotte. You might be interested in a few names making an impact: Max McCormick (2g-1a) earned second start honors, and Alexander True (1g-2a) was named third star. Trailing 1-0, True got Charlotte going with a blast from the right wing at 6:43 of the first to tie the game. And he set up this winner to McCormick.

TODAY’S PRACTICE LINEUP:
McCann-Wennberg-Eberle
Schwartz-Gourde-Jarnkrok
Tanev-Geekie-Donskoi
Bastian-Sheahan-Appleton
Donato

Giordano-Oleksiak
Soucy-Dunn
Lauzon-Larsson
Fleury-Borgen

Grubauer
Daccord

FROM THE PODIUM:

Head coach Dave Hakstol on the look of the team at practice:
“Very similar look to what we did today. I don't expect any major changes. Now, we’ll wait until morning skate to make those final decisions and choices, but as of right now I'm expecting a group to look very close to what I did today.”

Hakstol on the team’s development through two practices:
“We had a couple of really good work days and we want to pinpoint certain areas – we were able to do that. Now, in general just our transition from defense to offense, and from offense and defense really was one of the areas we needed to clean up – with and without the puck. So that's one of the areas that we touched on.”

Hakstol on getting prepared for the first home game in Kraken history:
“Right now, we haven't talked a whole lot about it. Naturally, guys are feeling that and looking forward to it. You know it's a night where, for sure, a lot of people have family in town and a lot of people are excited of our first game here. That being said, I also believe we're a veteran group that we'll use that to our advantage, take a few minutes to take it all in and really enjoy it, and then feed off the energy that will be in the building tomorrow night.”

Hakstol, on if he’ll be at the arena all day or go home between morning skate and game night:
“I’m a guy, I get out of there for an hour or two, whether it's outside for a walk in the sunshine – or the rain – for an hour or two but that's it. Early start and a little break in between, and get ready to go.”

Goaltender Philipp Grubauer on the meaning of seeing Climate Pledge Arena, ready to go, for the first time yesterday:
“Yeah, I mean, the rink and the setup down there is incredible. So we're really pumped to play in front of our fans and we heard it's going to be really, really, really loud and really nice so we're really looking forward to it. It’s going to be a great experience.”

Grubauer on what part of the arena made the biggest impression on him:
The locker room is incredible. I'd say it's probably one of the nicest, if not the nicest locker room I've ever seen. So guys are going for very comfortable in there.”

Grubauer on the impact of practice over the last two days:
“I think it's been really good. I think we changed a couple things, systems, and revise things that didn't work out for us as a group and we had to experience. We got to practice a couple of things and I think moving into tomorrow that was necessary, and we had a couple of days into practice today. So we should be good to go.”

Colin Blackwell on his progress, returning from injury:
“Yeah I’m still trying to figure some things out and it felt good the last couple of days to get back on the ice. Really, it's just kind of a ‘feeling things out’ type of thing, just some nagging stuff that has been bothering me since I got here for a little while now, and kind of over the summer. (I’m) just trying to get that right so that I can come back one hundred percent healthy, and hit the ground running.”

Blackwell, on the timetable of his return and if surgery is necessary:
“Yeah I hope that's not in the cards, hopefully just a little bit of time and everything will hopefully, you know, turning the corner that stuff and that's what I'm hoping for. and just kind of go from there."

Blackwell on his potential with the team after a double-digit goal scoring season with the Rangers:
“Yeah, I don't really think about it like that, it's just when I get ready, I'm going to go back to exactly what I did last year and so that's not something I'm worried about. I think it's definitely frustrating that, you know, I want to be playing (and not) watching from your couch, when the guys are on the road for 10 to 14 days. But for me, I know what I did last year and I know what has gotten me to this point, so when the time comes, I'll be ready to show that and prove that. Whatever my role is, I’m ready to accept it hit the ground running.

Mark Giordano on what the Kraken have accomplished this week in practice:
“It’s been really, a good two days. I think we made some little adjustments. Going through our meetings and then on the ice, I thought was really good for us and the pace was really good both days. So there's a lot of energy. I know guys are excited for tomorrow and we're really looking forward to it.”

Giordano on seeing the arena for the first time on Thursday:
“I was in the building when we had the (expansion) draft here and seeing the finished product now – it's pretty cool. I mean, they've honestly done every little detail. They haven't left anything out. As a player, you now know it's on us to go out there and perform, because we've been given every resource possible.”


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