Seattle Kraken, Washington Capitals

Are Kraken Entering Hockey’s Version of a Recession?

The Seattle Kraken are amidst a three game losing streak and are entering a road gauntlet over the next five days. We’ll get some answers to whatever questions we have and whatever theories we may propose with Sunday’s stop against the Florida Panthers, a team that seems to be finding it’s game, a Tuesday date with the Tampa Bay Lightning, need we say more, and a Thursday hook-up with the 14-6-and-6 Carolina Hurricanes.

Seattle ain’t sneaking up on anyone anymore. There’s no lulls awaiting the inaugural Kraken. This second-year team’s reputation and record precede it.

That’s just one of the reasons the Kraken might be entering a prolonged dip; a concept we brought up as part of our coverage of Friday night’s 4-1 loss to the Washington Capitals.

Not Too High or Too Low

The “can’t get too high or too low” quote is one of the clichés that gets dragged out during an NHL season, and it does so for a reason. In terms of wins and losses, the schedule is full of peaks and valleys, some of them prolonged. Any long downturn can test a team’s resiliency and its chemistry and character.

Just as you can’t get too high on yourself during a seven game win streak, you have to control your emotion and frustration during the reciprocal. That’s not to suggest the Kraken will lose seven in a row, but they are primed for a challenge.

When a lull hits, players can collectively grip sticks and can collectively question self-confidence. Which only makes things worse. Seattle will set its tone against the Panthers on Sunday evening (3 pm pacific).

Down a Man

This sub-headline has two meanings. One: Stay out of the penalty box.

As we mentioned Friday, some of the recent Kraken penalties have been lackadaisical at best. It can’t happen. The Florida Panthers went three-for-four on the power play in their 5-1 victory over the Kraken last Saturday at Climate Pledge Arena. One of the goals came after an unsuccessful replay challenge delay-of-game penalty, which was a legitimate review request, but the other two followed slashing penalties.

The Montreal game featured two puck-over-glass delay-of-game penalties. They didn’t lead to goals, but they did pull the Kraken out of its five-on-five flow while killing momentum.

Two: We learned Saturday that the Kraken will be without Jamie Oleksiak for the aforementioned upcoming games after the NHL’s Department of Player Safety issued him a three-game suspension.

“Big Rig” got tossed from the Capitals game Friday for a match penalty, a five-minute major and a game misconduct, for a hit to the head of Capitals defenseman Alexander Alexeyev. Marcus Johansson scored the game winning goal for Washington during the perpetual power play.

The Kraken are up against in the Sunshine State, with Sunday’s performance potentially being an augur of what’s ahead: a set of gutsy road performances or a tumble down the Pacific Division standings.

Worth noting: The second place Kraken have games in hand on all of the teams giving chase. Seattle has played two less games than the Edmonton Oilers, three less than the LA Kings, and one fewer than the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks.

Rob Simpson

Rob Simpson has covered the NHL in five different decades. He’s authored 4 books on hockey and is a veteran TV and radio play-by-play man and reporter.