It appears Jared McCann has made progress in recovering from the Game-4 Cale Makar hit in the opening series against the Colorado Avalanche. He’s skating with the club Saturday morning at an optional practice after missing the last five Kraken playoff games.
After a long trip back from covering the start of the Kraken series in Dallas, I’m sitting out visiting today’s skate at the Kraken Community Iceplex, but we have a crack reporter on hand to pick up all of the latest developments.
That would include comments from head coach Dave Hakstol and a few of the players on Hakstol being named a finalist for the Jack Adams Award, essentially the NHL coach-of-the-year honors.
Besides McCann, that would be it injury-wise that we’re aware of … Justin Schultz and Jaden Schwartz took the morning skate off before Game-2 in Dallas but that’s not unusual. Those were “maintenance mornings”; the resting of weary bones. It generally takes a hell-of-a-lot more than soreness or even a torn something-or-other or a small fracture to keep a hockey player out of a Stanley Cup playoff game.
Ironically, just part of the beauty of it all.
Should the Seattle Kraken defeat the Dallas Stars in their Western Conference semi-final, Seattle would be facing the winner of the Edmonton Oilers, Vegas Golden Knights series.
Presently, Vegas holds a one-nothing lead in the series after a 6-4 victory on Wednesday. Following an extra day off, those two teams finally get after it again Saturday at about 4 pm pacific.
Oddly enough, just like Joe Pavelski’s four goals for the Dallas Stars in a losing effort in Game-1 against the Kraken, Oilers star Leon Draisaitl had four goals in Edmonton’s opening loss at “the Fortress” in Vegas.
Weird, and despite that coincidence, no one will ever tell you it’s a bad thing to have a player score four goals in a playoff game. That thought deserves an hysterical-laughter emoji.
You’ll hear the phrase “the East is wide open” quite a bit these days with the NHL’s top regular season team, the Boston Bruins, being knocked out of the playoffs by the Florida Panthers in seven games. Those same ‘Cats’ are up 2-0 in their second round series with the soft Toronto Maple Leafs.
The New York Rangers added a lot of talent ahead of the trade deadline, the likes of Patrick Kane and Vladi Tarasenko, but they’re out of it also, seven game victims to the New Jersey Devils. The Devils have subsequently been spanked twice by the Carolina Hurricanes in Round-2, 5-to-1 and 6-to-1.
So maybe it’s the Canes who are ready to walk through that wide open door.
The Kraken’s ECHL affiliate Kansas City Mavericks, two levels down, lost in the first round of the Kelly Cup playoffs to the Allen (Texas) Americans in six games. Every single game in the series was decided by one goal, with Game-3 going to overtime.
The club was led this regular season by French Canadian forward Pascal Laberge who finished with 53 points in 53 games. That’s a pretty handy ratio.
Meanwhile, the cream rose to the top out west in the American Hockey League. The Kraken’s top affiliate, the Coachella Valley Firebirds, finished the season with the second most points in the AHL, 103. They’ll be taking on the Calgary Wranglers, the team that finished with the most points, 106, in the five-game Pacific Division finals. The Wranglers are the Flames AHL affiliate playing out of the Scotiabank Saddledome, the same building as the big club.
That series doesn’t start until Thursday, May 11th.
The Firebirds beat the Tucson Roadrunners two-games-to-one in the short opening round and then defeated the Colorado Eagles 3-games-to-2 in the Pacific semi’s.
In the regular season, the Firebirds were led by captain Max McCormick with 67 points. Kole Lind, the prospect nabbed from the Vancouver Canucks in the NHL expansion draft, led the way with 30 goals. Those two lead the Calder Cup playoffs in scoring, Lind with 11 points, McCormick with 10.