Kraken Sophomore Slump?
Seattle Kraken center Matty Beniers was the first skater on the ice and the last to leave Wednesday’s practice at Kraken Community Iceplex.
Whatever the reasons for the reigning Calder Trophy winner’s absent goal-scoring, it’s not from a lack of hard work.
Through the first 10 Seattle games (3-5-and-2 record), Beniers has yet to tally a goal. That’s a shocking lack of production for the 20-year-old, whose 24 goals and 57 points played a major part in the Kraken’s 46-win 2022-’23 season.
“Everybody has their own routine, and everybody does it in their own way,” coach Dave Hakstol said when asked about Beniers’ extra-long practice. “Matty’s a guy, he likes to be on the ice. Obviously, you see the results of that.”
Obviously, the coach was protecting his player, not about to discuss specifics of Beniers’ slump. Hakstol, like Kraken fans, just hope #10 breaks out when Seattle plays its next game, hosting the Nashville Predators Thursday at Climate Pledge Arena.
Getting Two-Goal Lead Easier Than Keeping It
Hakstol was more forthcoming about the Kraken’s just-completed four game road trip, in which the team collected five of a possible eight standings points.
“Our focus was good,” he said Wednesday morning after practice. “Very, very close hockey games, each and every one of them, against good teams. We got good play from throughout the lineup, including good goaltending.”
There was that pesky matter of building a two-goal lead and having it slip away in each of the four games. When I asked the coach about that, he specifically referenced the only regulation loss of the trip, a 3-2 setback to the Florida Panthers in which Seattle held a 2-0 lead.
“Our first period was outstanding,” he responded. “A lot of people jumped on our 2nd period. It was really seven minutes at the end of the period where we got ourselves in trouble. There were two or three long shifts that turned momentum over to them.
“All of a sudden, you look disorganized. All of a sudden, you’re not doing things as a group of five. We gave up the power play goal, and then right away off a face-off (loss), they get one through (goals 11 seconds apart, to tie the game 2-2). Argue it how you want, but you can’t give up that second goal quickly. From there, we righted the ship. But that gave their bench a little bit of juice, and they kept pushing.”
The Kraken would like to show some pushback against a Predators team which shut them out 3-0 in Nashville on October 12. The Preds are coming off a 5-2 loss in Vancouver on Tuesday night.
It’s the first home game for the Kraken since they lost to the New York Rangers 4-1 on Saturday, October 21st.
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