While the Kraken “Black Ace” reserves like Cale Fleury and Jaycob Megna and a few others skated at the Kraken Community Iceplex on Monday morning, the Seattle regulars popped in for a quick meeting or two and a media availability.
Among the urgent topics; playoff beards.
To Kraken forward Ryan Donato: “Does it itch?”
We then proceeded to garner Donato’s expert evaluation as to whom might have the best beard right now.
“Not me,” he said somewhat seriously. “Ebb’s (Jordan Eberle) is pretty good, he’s pretty thick, he’s got a little grey coming in too, which is cool to see.”
“Me,” he answered. “Matty (Beniers), but it’s coming in a little thicker now, Tye (Kartye), definitely a little thin there.”
No surprise from the young guys. What about Borgie (Will Borgen)?
“Borgie’s beard is coming in pretty thick now,” Donato stated, “He’s got the missing tooth now, that kind of ties the whole thing together.”
“I think mine’s pretty good,” Justin Schultz said of his dark growth, “we’ve got some pretty good ones on this team. (Adam) Larsson’s is pretty good, he’s always got a beard though. Nice and thick. Guys are doing a good job, everyone’s trying.”
Thicker Beards Means More Kraken Wins
To be able to have that conversation means the beards are still growing because the wins keep coming and the playoffs continue on. It also means the team is using its off days to their maximum advantage by getting rest and winding down before winding back up.
“Typically we haven’t practiced the day before a game, we get our work done in the (game day) morning skate, we touch on things in our meetings, and then energy is really premium for us as we get into game action,” Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol said Monday morning. “When Dallas raised the temperature in Game-2 and we showed a little bit of fatigue, that’s not a very good formula for us, so rest has been really important for us especially as you go through the intensity of games and the volume of games as we’re going through the playoffs.”
After playing every other night in the 1st-round in the seven-game series against the Colorado Avalanche, the Kraken had to turn around and start Round-2 just two nights after wrapping up their 1st-round win. After winning Game-1 in overtime against the Dallas Stars, a team that had an extra day off after Round-1, that fatigue set in and Seattle lost Game-2.
That’s when the Kraken picked up some schedule luck; an extra day off before Game-3. With recharged batteries their forecheck looked itself again and the energy level was impressive.
“We’ve done a nice job, the coach has done a nice job preparing us every night and we haven’t practiced much,” Schultz said. “It’s tougher out west, you’re travelling a lot and you need rest, especially this time of year. We’re sticking with that plan, preparing as much as we can before that. This time of year you don’t really need practice, it’s more about being ready and rested and good to go.”
The Kraken are also good about having short memories. Win, lose, home, road, they handle their business and then move on to the next one. At one point Donato referenced the old “one day at a time” cliché.
“It was great, it was fun last night, but I think we forget about it, learn some things, and bring it into Game-4,” he said.
“We’re just going out and playing and having fun,” Schultz said, “don’t really feel much pressure in the dressing room.”