The Kraken Waiting Game
Devin Shore played 4th-line center for the Seattle Kraken on Sunday. Along with rookie Tye Kartye moving to the middle for the short term, it was a necessity given the club’s injuries and ailments.
Shore only saw 5:57 in ice time while generating one shot-on-goal against the Maple Leafs.
“It’s just about staying ready and making sure you’re doing what got you there and not trying to be somebody you’re not,” Shore said, “just contributing in any way I can.”
Such is life as a reserve forward in the NHL. While working hard to become a regular, the player spends a lot of time on standby, often watching games from the press box. Since October, the former 2nd-round NHL draft pick (2012) of the Dallas Stars has twice been designated to the AHL and cleared waivers, only to quickly return.
“He’s a smart player, he’s always in the right spots,” Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol. “His thought processes are very good, he’s got good ability with the puck. He’s gotta push the pace when he’s in the line-up, but his instincts and his sense on the ice are very good.”
Like most who put up plenty of points in college or juniors and then in the minor leagues, Shore slowed down offensively once he arrived in the big show. Only a small percentage of NHLers reach ‘star’ or ‘superstar’ status, with the rest of the rank and file adjusting their games to fit their needs.
A sturdy, versatile 6-foot-1, 205-pound forward, Shore believes the key is having a competitive nose for the puck.
“I think the biggest thing for me when it comes to physicality, it’s like ‘puck hungry’,” Shore said. “Puck’s there, I’m just gonna go get it. You’re not just gonna go hit a guy just to feel like you’re playing physical; you want the puck.”
Playing center brings greater defensive responsibility while being the pivot for the club’s execution offensively.
“A big part of our game plan is definitely getting one guy down in the blue paint and another guy just off in the slot, kind of having layers in front of the net for tips and rebounds,” Shore pointed out. “I mean, it’s no secret where most of the goals are scored, so you gotta get to the net and you gotta get to the middle too.”
Shore is a thinker, well spoken, analytical. His thoughts on the game triggered a casual, post-interview conversation about his future in hockey after his playing days — not that we’re in a hurry, he’s only 29 — with potential coaching in mind. The Ajax, Ontario native and former University of Maine Black Bear winger hadn’t given it a whole lot of thought yet, although given that his whole life has been hockey, there’s a good chance he’ll become a “hockey lifer”.
For now, he’ll play the waiting game and try to make the most of his opportunities when they come. He’s tallied one goal and three assists in twenty games for the Kraken this season. He’s up to 442 NHL games for his career.
“Everyone that gets a chance to be in this league, regardless of whether it’s a couple of months or 10 years, everyone here is a really good player,” Shore said. “It bottlenecks, pretty tough at the top, and we’ve got great players on this team, so when guys do go down, you know, there’s a very capable player that’s ready to come in.”
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