It’s as old as the game itself, the scoring slump. Right now, 2nd-year Kraken center Matty Beniers finds himself without a goal through the first eleven games of the season. If it’s bugging him, he’s not showing it, in a quiet chat with Seattle Hockey Insider on Saturday morning.
“I would like to (score), but we’re winning right now, so can’t worry too much about it, play hard, and good things come when you play the right way,” Beniers said.
Veteran winger Jared McCann, the Kraken’s 40-goal scorer last season and their co-leading scorer now, says that everyone goes through it and he’s been through a drought more than once.
“It happens to all of us,” he said. “Some guys just relax and let the game come to them, confident they’ll get through it. Others guys will go out early and shoot a million pucks before practice. I was like that when I was younger, I’d go out before practice and shoot a million pucks, hoping to get through it.”
“I think I’m similar that way,” Beniers said, “when things aren’t coming that easily, I just try to work harder, that’s kind of what I’ve done in the past and that’s what I do now.”
Beniers has been seen spending extra time on the ice before and after Kraken practices.
Not Messing With Overall Game
Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol brought up Beniers on Saturday morning even before we raised the scoring question.
“I thought Matty Beniers had a real good hockey game the other night,” Hakstol said. “Ollie Bjorkstrand was part of that, so that group showed a little bit of chemistry (with third linemate Tye Kartye).
As for the infamous NHL ‘sophomore slump’ concept, Hakstol said coaching or counselling isn’t really a part of it.
“I’m not going to talk him into it, he doesn’t need to be talked into it,” Hakstol said emphatically. “He played a really good hockey game the other night. With him it’s just making sure he continues to do things the right way. There’s a fine line between trying to do too much and pressing to score and I don’t see that in him.
“We were here three or four days ago in a group setting here and I said ‘Matty’s gotta help himself first, he’s gotta be his own biggest proponent out there, and he is. That’s the good thing, that’s why we think so highly of him, and in terms of the offensive side, just keep shooting the puck, keep going to the net, get a little hungry in and around there. One’s gonna bounce in for him, whether he shoots it in the net or it bounces in off his ass, one’s gonna go in sooner or later, and when it does, that’s gonna loosen him up a bit offensively.”
“That’s it,” McCann concurred. “One bounces in and then the floodgates open.”
When Beniers gets the first one, the relief will be palpable. The reigning Calder Trophy winner as NHL rookie-of-the-year has just three assists and is a team worst minus-11.