Wild Fleury, Kraken Larsson

Simmer’s Sunday 9: Kraken Games, Anti-War, Flower & Huggy

Kraken Wrap

One more day of Kraken training camp before the preseason action begins. Fans are welcome once again to stop by the Kraken Community Iceplex on Sunday morning and afternoon to catch final preparations before Monday’s split squad games against the Calgary Flames and before management has to start thinking about roster cuts.

Sunday sessions run from 9:40 am to 11 am and 12:20 to 1:40 pm. The Flames at Kraken game on Monday evening begins at 7 pm at Climate Pledge Arena.

Simmer’s 9:

1) Here are links to all of the Seattle Kraken Roll Calls that I produced this summer, just so you’re one click away from refreshing your memory on your favorite player or players. Or maybe someone you are intrigued by or would like to learn more about.

Matty Beniers, Will Borgen, Andre Burakovsky, Vince Dunn, Yanni Gourde, Philipp Grubauer, Adam Larsson, Jamie Oleksiak, Jaden Schwartz, Brandon Tanev, Eeli Tolvanen, Alexander Wennberg.

Looks like we might have to sneak a few more in before the start of the season.

2) On Friday, Calgary Flames defenseman Nikita Zadorov became the first Russian NHL player to speak out against his native country’s war with Ukraine.

“I probably can’t go back any time soon, until (Vladimir) Putin isn’t president or (while) the regime is still there,” Zadorov said. “For sure, I can’t go back to my home country, but Florida is home for me right now, so I’m enjoying my time there.”

Before speaking to the Calgary hockey media in general, Zadorov first spoke to a Russian reporter one-on-one, where he talked about a generation of young Russians being sent to their deaths and the state of the country under Putin’s guidance.

“There are a lot of people in Russia who have the same view of the war as I do,” he said.

While current and retired European players from other countries have expressed their opposition to the invasion and ongoing conflict, it’s believed most Russian NHL’ers keep quiet to avoid trouble for family members back home. Most NHL teams seem to have an informal policy about not having reporters ask Russian players about the situation.

3) On Saturday I posted a story about 38-year-old Kraken forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare.

How about 38-year-old Minnesota Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, sticking with the hyphens, about mulling retirement. He’s not completely in a huge hurry.

“I just told myself that I would give myself this season, see how it goes, see how I feel physically, mentally, if I can still stop the puck, and just make a decision at the end,” Fleury told Sportsnet on Thursday. “I don’t want to think about it too much, like, every game. It’s going good, I’ll play again, it’s going bad, I don’t want to play anymore, you know what I mean.”

Fleury posted a 24-16-4 last season with a .908 save percentage and 2.85 goals-against average and was an excellent mentor for 25-year-old crease partner Fliip Gustavsson, who signed a three-year extension with the Wild for $3.75-million per season. Fleury is believed to have had a positive influence on all of the young netminders he’s worked with over the years.

“Flower” was part of three Stanley Cup championships with the Pittsburgh Penguins before moving on to the Vegas Golden Knights, where he almost won another in 2018, to the Chicago Blackhawks for a season, and then to the Wild.

4) Sheer sadness: Former Anaheim Ducks forward Nic Kerdiles has died in a motorcycle accident at the age of 29, the team reported Saturday.

Anaheim Ducks twitter/X.

5) I spoke to him about the possibility following an informal skate in Richmond, British Columbia three weeks ago, and it appears former Kraken defenseman Carson Soucy might indeed start the season partnering with Canucks star D-man Quinn “Huggy” Hughes. That pairing has seen plenty of ice time at Vancouver’s training camp in Victoria.

It would mean lefty Soucy playing the right side. He told us he was comfortable with it and had plenty of chances when he started his career with the Wild.

6) No funny business, just straight up trivia.

Which of these players had the most assists for the Seattle Kraken last regular season:

A) Oliver Bjorkstrand, B) Daniel Sprong, C) Adam Larsson, or D) Alexander Wennberg

Answer at the bottom of the page above the video.

7) It officially became fall in the pacific time zone at 11:50 pm on Friday night. Did you notice a change? The autumnal equinox is when the sun is directly over the equator on its way to summer in the southern hemisphere and winter in the north.

8) Last week’s trivia involved the Seattle Kraken’s one and only captain up until this point, Mark Giordano, who was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs before the NHL trade deadline during the Kraken’s inaugural season. On October 3rd, the former Sea “C” captain will turn age-40. He’s the oldest player in the NHL.

Former Kraken captain Mark Giordano.

9) Starting about 25 years ago, I had the pleasure of working with Bart Hull for four seasons, calling the Idaho Steelheads games on radio and television, a gig that brought us to Seattle and Tacoma often. As visitors, we’d take on the Sabercats of the West Coast Hockey League.

Bart just happens to be the younger brother of Hockey Hall of Famer Brett Hull, and of course the son of one of the great number-9’s in hockey history, Bobby Hull.

Hull originally wore numbers 16 and 7 with the Blackhawks but later switched to number-9 in honor of his childhood hero Gordie Howe. In his first nine seasons Hull led the NHL in both goals and points in the same season on three separate occasions. He led Chicago to the 1961 Stanley Cup championship, the club’s first since 1938, and the only one of his career.

The “Golden Jet” became the first player to score more than 50 goals in a season when he scored 54 in 1966. The previous record was 50, first set by another number-9, Maurice “Rocket” Richard.

Mr. Hull, who I enjoyed hanging out with, for lack of a better term, on a few occasions, passed away this past January at the age of 84.

— Trivia Answer: Which of those four Kraken had the most assists for the team last season? OK, maybe there was a bit of funny business, or trickery in this case. The answer is all of them. Bjorkstrand, Sprong, Larsson, and Wennberg all had 25 regular season assists in 2022-’23. There’s that balanced scoring for you.

Since I didn’t give you an “all of the above” option, every answer is correct.

Last Sunday’s Simmer’s Kraken/NHL Joy Joy Link

— And the “vintage” video du jour …

“Vintage” Simmer’s Morning Skate (3 weeks ago).

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.
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8 months ago

Wow, I haven’t heard the Tacoma Sabrecats mentioned in a long time. Theirs was the first hockey team that I got to see play live, the Thunderbirds being a bit too far up the road for my parents to want to drive me to see them. I had already seen plenty of games on TV (before ESPN stopped airing NHL games), but that just is not the same thing. I even convinced my father to buy me a cap with the team logo on it. Boy, do I wish that I could have talked him up to getting me a sweater. He did get me a beat-up old hockey stick from a second-hand store, though, so I can’t complain.