Most Seattle Kraken players will get their first glimpse of Climate Pledge Arena the same day as fans.
Because the Kraken opened their inaugural season with a five-game road trip, and with a Coldplay concert christening the arena Friday night, the Kraken won’t get a full look at their new digs, complete with ice, until Saturday before they play the Vancouver Canucks in their home opener.
“I think all the guys are really jacked up about it,” Kraken defenseman Jamie Oleksiak said. “I think it’s been a lot of anticipation and not many guys really got a chance to see the rink. I think everyone is excited to get in there and feel the atmosphere. We know how excited the city is, so we’re excited to finally get a chance to play in front of everybody.”
The Kraken played their preseason “home” games at junior hockey rinks in Spokane, Everett and Kent, Washington, while the finishing touches of their $1.15 billion arena were being completed.
The Kraken went 1-3-1 on their season-opening trip, which concluded Tuesday with a 4-2 loss at New Jersey.
“I know (the players) will be looking forward to it,” Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said of the home opener. “Coming off a nine- or a 10-day road trip, guys will be looking forward to getting home, getting a day to regroup, and then that’s going to be a great event to look forward to.”
The Kraken are expected to get forward Calle Jarnkrok back after he missed the trip while in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol. Forward Yanni Gourde made his debut Tuesday well ahead of schedule after offseason shoulder surgery.
What the Kraken didn’t get on the road was a lot of time to practice, other than morning skates on game days.
“There are no excuses obviously, but we definitely need some practice time,” captain Mark Giordano said. “You can see it in little areas of the game. We’ve got to sharpen up. We’ll get two good ones in when we get home and then a little homestand, so it’s going to be good for our team.”
The Canucks are coming to the end of their six-game trip to start the season. They won 4-1 Thursday at Chicago to improve to 2-2-1. Thatcher Demko made 29 saves and Conor Garland had a goal and an assist.
“It was a good bounce-back game. There was some stuff we wanted to clean up from Buffalo (a 5-2 loss Tuesday),” Demko said. “It’s a good 60 minutes, I thought. We sustained our style for the full 60, which is something we’re trying to evolve with. A lot of good things.”
Vancouver’s Brock Boeser netted his first goal of the season after missing the first three games with an undisclosed injury.
“That was a good hockey game,” Canucks coach Travis Green said. “Not a lot of mistakes by our group. I thought we managed the puck well.”
Seattle and Vancouver met twice in the preseason, with the Kraken winning 5-3 and 4-0.
–Field Level Media