Seattle Kraken, Matty Beniers

Kraken Game Day; 2 Big Points, Toews Speaks

Yes they’ve clinched a playoff spot, but the two points available for a victory against the Chicago Blackhawks are still big ones for the Seattle Kraken. A win Saturday night clinches the top wild card spot in the Western Conference. It would also potentially move the Kraken to within two points of the Los Angeles Kings for 3rd place in the Pacific Division. The Kings have dropped two games in a row and host the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night.

“The fact remains, two points solidifies the 7th spot, the top wild card for us, that’s just factual,” Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol said Saturday morning. “A couple of days ago we get two points, we’re in the playoffs, today, well, here’s what’s in front of us, here’s what you can accomplish by gaining two points in the standings and that’s significant.”

Between the pipes, it’ll be Petr Mrazek from the Czech Republic against Martin Jones from North Vancouver, BC.

Kraken Netminding

Seattle’s number-one Philipp Grubauer gets a little rest after helping to clinch the postseason with the win against the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday night and by picking up victories in three of his last four starts,

That said, goaltending seems to be a bit of a concern moving ahead, simply based on the inconsistencies we’ve seen from the Kraken’s main tandem. Here’s a wacky thought we’ll expand on in the coming days: Just think, if there’s an awful start or an injury in the early going of the playoffs, we could have a Joey Daccord sighting.

The Coachella Valley Firebirds (AHL) stalwart is 2-0-and-1 as a Kraken.

When you’re going for the Stanley Cup you pull out all the stops and never extinguish any possibilities. Plus, there is no salary cap in the postseason and there are no roster limitations. NHL teams carry a taxi squad of “black aces”, who skate on their own mostly, but are available for use in the postseason. If they’re participating in the American Hockey League playoffs, fine, but the big show takes precedent.

For now, Grubauer one, Jones two.

Blackhawks Woes

The Kraken’s foe on Saturday night offers up a lot of depth … for an AHL team. The club is carrying nine defenseman at the moment, a majority of which would likely not be NHL regulars on a playoff contender.

Their beloved captain, limited this season due to illness, appears to be playing in his final four games for the franchise. Jonathan Toews alluded to this in an exclusive morning skate conversation with His partner in success over the last decade-and-a-half, Patrick Kane, already moved on to the New York Rangers, and it looks like “Captain Serious” will bounce via free agency this summer.

The Blackhawks won three Stanley Cups under their leadership, 2010, 2013, 2015.

Right now, the Blackhawks are tied for the fewest points in the NHL (56) and have a solid crack at landing the top overall pick in the NHL Draft. That will be generational phenom Connor Bedard, like Jones, from North Vancouver, and presently with the Western League’s Regina Pats. A loss to the Kraken won’t hurt the cause.

Game time at Climate Pledge Arena is a little after 7 pm.

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews on “Simmer’s Morning Skate”

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.