A week before Halloween, the Seattle Kraken 2023-24 season is already devolving into a nightmare.
The team announced over the weekend that winger Andre Burakovsky would miss approximately 6-8 weeks with an upper-body injury sustained in Saturday’s 4-1 home loss to the New York Rangers.
New York’s Jacob Trouba shoved Burakovsky, causing him to fall what appeared to be shoulder-first into the corner boards. He rose favoring his right shoulder or collarbone (the team hasn’t released details of the injury).
Combined with the lower-body injury sustained by Brandon Tanev in Seattle’s season-opener, the Kraken now have more injured wingers (two) than victories (one).
Hope From Carolina Hurricanes Win Fades Fast
Seven of Seattle’s 11 goals on the season were scored in that lone win, 7-4 over the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday.
The seven-spot seemed especially impressive due to the Hurricanes’ pedigree as a perennial Stanley Cup contender. In retrospect, a closer look shows how defensively porous Carolina has been – allowing five goals per game, worst in the entire NHL.
The Kraken had hoped Thursday’s offensive explosion would signal the end of goal-scoring woes, which kept the team winless (0-3-1) in its first four games.
Instead, those struggles returned against an inconsistent Rangers squad. The Kraken recorded only 19 SOG in the game, just two in the middle period – despite 18 seconds of a 5-on-3 power play.
Losses Leave Kraken Lost For Words
The fault, dear Kraken say, lies not in their opponents, but in themselves.
“We didn’t execute very well,” offered coach Dave Hakstol. “We weren’t moving. We didn’t have a lot of pace to our game. The sharpness, crispness – not there.”
“We didn’t have our best effort tonight,” Kraken winger Jared McCann said. “Not our best effort all around,” echoed defenseman Justin Schultz. “We weren’t skating like we can.”
One could reasonably wonder, given Seattle’s struggles, “Why not?” In prior losses, while results were lacking, effort didn’t seem to be.
“Soft On Pucks”
McCann explaining, “We were soft on pucks,” was amply illustrated by New York’s final goal, early in the third period by Artemi Panarin.
A puck which had deflected straight up in the Seattle zone, dropped between the hash marks. Jamie Oleksiak and Jordan Eberle were close enough to Panarin that one blanket could have covered all three. Will Borgen and Eeli Tolvanen weren’t much further away.
Surrounded, 1-on-4, it was nevertheless Panarin who won the battle, rifling home his second goal of the evening.
McCann was left to wonder, along with the rest of us, why his team hasn’t been able to follow the script which produced such stellar results last season. Referencing Seattle’s play against New York, McCann added, “It isn’t like us.”
Unfortunately, six games into the current season, it is.
Notes: Seattle’s scratched surplus forward has been Devin Shore, recently recalled from their Coachella Valley Firebirds AHL farm team. Shore would seem to be in line to replace Burakovsky when the Kraken play the first of a four-game road trip Tuesday against the Red Wings in Detroit.
— Simmer’s Sunday 9: Lights Out, ‘Lifeless’ Kraken, McDavid Hurt
— Kraken Morning After: Ugly Loss More Than Just An Off Night