The American Hockey League’s defending Western Conference champions opened their training camp on Sunday. That of course would be the Coachella Valley Firebirds, AHL affiliate of the Seattle Kraken.
A handful of faces recently seen at the NHL training camp can be seen skating in California after being relocated for more seasoning. That would include prospects Jacob Melanson, Ville Ottavainen and Tucker Robertson among others.
Both Melanson and Robertson scored preseason goals for the Kraken.
The 3rd-year Seattle franchise will undoubtedly be sending a few more hockey players to the 2nd-year Coachella Valley franchise in the coming days for another run at the Calder Cup.
1) Speaking of prospects, myself and Kraken TV voice John Forslund broke down the possibilities and scenarios for defenseman Ryker Evans and forward Shane Wright making the big club. We also break down the D-pairings and where the Kraken goaltending battle is headed. Our “Simmer and Forslund” video podcast can be found at the bottom of this page.
2) It’s waiver season. It’s already started, and in the coming days you’ll see all 32 NHL teams unloading some players on to the waiver wire if they haven’t already. A few will get picked up by other organizations, a great majority will successfully clear and report to their respective AHL teams.
A few names hop out from the weekend.
I recall interviewing Lias Andersson at the Traverse City (Michigan) rookie tournament after he was the 7th-overall pick of the New York Rangers at the 2017 NHL Draft. He hasn’t panned out. He was traded to the LA Kings in 2020, signed by the Montreal Canadiens this summer and waived by that organization on Sunday. In 110 NHL games he had a total of seven goals and ten assists. I reckon he’s headed back to Sweden.
Journeyman 31-year-old back-up netminder Louis Domingue’s name might ring a bell. He played well as a starter for the Arizona Coyotes in 2015-16 and served as a back-up to Andrei Vasilevskiy with the Tampa Bay Lightning for a couple of recent seasons. The New York Rangers, the 7th NHL franchise he’s been associated with, waived him on Sunday.
And one of the more fascinating names on the wire is Sean Day, waived on Sunday by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Day was the fourth player in history to receive special exemption status from Hockey Canada, allowing him to play in the Ontario Hockey League as a 15-year-old. Those before him: John Tavares, Aaron Ekblad and Connor McDavid, all eventual 1st-overall picks in the NHL Draft.
Well, three out of four isn’t bad. Day went 81st-overall in 2016 to the Rangers and played a grand total of two NHL games with Tampa.
3) There are more players on the US National Sled Hockey team from Florida than there are from Washington, 2-0. I’ve followed what’s also been called sledge hockey and is now recognized as para-hockey by the rest of the world. It’s a Winter Paralympic sport that combines a remarkable amount of speed and physicality for guys zooming around a few inches off the ice using arm power.
It’s an impressive and tight knit hockey subculture, one I got to know pretty well after calling the play-by-play of a few matches on Canadian TV network TSN a decade ago.
My question to you is … are there any sled programs or players in Washington? If yes, shoot me a note in the comments section.
By the way, the first international para-hockey tournament of the season begins Monday in Czechia. Team USA is the favorite.
4) John Martin, great guy and cameraman at NESN, Bob Snow, hockey aficionado, Graham Harden, legendary lacrosse player and coach. Just a few of the friends and acquaintances lost to ALS in recent years. Now the hockey world can add Chris Snow, age 42, Calgary Flames assistant general manager. He was also Bob’s son.
“Lou Gehrig’s Disease” claimed Snow on Saturday. He donated his kidneys, liver and lungs after living four years longer than he was supposed to while advocating for a cure.
Our sincere condolences to his family and friends.
5) A pleasant reminder, the Kraken host the Edmonton Oilers in preseason action on Monday night at Climate Pledge Arena. They then venture to Abbotsford, British Columbia on Wednesday to take on the NHL Canucks at the AHL Canucks rink. It’s an hour to 2 hours east of Vancouver depending on traffic.
Seattle then wraps up the preseason calendar with a game in Edmonton on Friday.
The Kraken open the regular season in nine days on October 10th in Vegas against the Golden Knights where Seattle will have to suffer through a Stanley Cup banner raising. Oh well, it might provide inspiration. Better yet, just stay in the dressing room until the ceremony is over.
6) Here’s how tough it is to win a championship. So much has to fall in place, including some good luck.
Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol had an incredible winning percentage at the University of North Dakota as head coach from 2004 through 2015, but he only made the national final once, losing to Denver 4-1 in 2005.
The team he recruited then won the national championship the year after he left. They also won in 2000, the season before he arrived there as an assistant coach. In 2001, they lost the national final to Boston College 3-2 in overtime in his first of four years as an assistant or associate coach.
Anyhoo, where was Hakstol an assistant coach for two seasons in between coaching the Philadelphia Flyers and taking over the Kraken? Answer down below.
7) Here’s the game rosters for Monday night, Kraken hosting Oilers:
8) Belated congratulations to Al Kinisky, former Seattle Thunderbirds player, as the new radio commentator for the Kraken. We’ve already had a couple fun hockey chats.
9) For its first 100 years, outside of Bill Barilko’s number-5 and Ace Bailey’s number-6, the Toronto Maple Leafs organization didn’t retire numbers, they just honored them. This meant a man’s name and his number might be hanging in the rafters while someone else was wearing it on the ice. They finally put an end to that weirdness in 2016 when they retired Dave Keon’s number-14, one of the more famous names and numbers in team history.
As for number-9, yes, it’s now retired, belonging to both Stanley Cup winning captain Ted “Teeder” Kennedy and Charlie Conacher from long ago. They were both famous in their day and well respected players, but pale in comparison to the number-9 traditions established by Maurice Richard, Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull, Johnny Bucyk, and even Andy Bathgate.
Twenty different Maple Leafs wore number-9 after Kennedy before they finally decided to shut it down. Tsk tsk.
By the way, by now, you should be able to match those five famous number-9 names with the matching Original Six franchises.
— Trivia Answer: The Toronto Maple Leafs
— Kraken Top-3 Prospect Update