Kraken Sunday practice

Simmer’s Sunday 9 – Kraken Healthy, Beniers Tumble, Red Wings Skate

On Sunday the Seattle Kraken conducted their second practice since returning home from their four game road trip that saw them go 2-and-2, the wins coming consecutively over the New York Islanders and Boston Bruins to wrap up the journey.

The Kraken remain in the heart of the Western Conference playoff race, presently four points back of the 2nd wild card St. Louis Blues, both having played 54 games.

Here’s your joyous puck notes for Sunday:

1) Kraken center Matty Beniers took a hefty tumble into the end boards about twenty minutes into practice on Sunday. He took a moment to get up and then skated doubled-over to the area in front of the benches. He seemed to have a mild hitch-in-his-giddy-up for the next few minutes, but stayed out to continue drills and finish practice.

2) With Pierre-Edouard Bellemare a full participant at practices and now off of injured reserve, Seattle has the full compliment of 14 forwards, seven defensemen and two goalies on their roster. That means two healthy scratches each night up front with Bellemare likely being one of them on a regular basis.

Although it’s not superstar talent, the club has a bit of a logjam in the middle with different wingers sliding in to play the pivot with various degrees of success. All remain an option in the middle, including Tye Kartye, Kailer Yamamoto and Jared McCann, although the latter’s time centering the top line has come to an end for now.

3) The Detroit Red Wings, Seattle’s opponent for the Monday matinee at Climate Pledge Arena, were skating at the Kraken Community Ice Plex on Sunday afternoon. Former Kraken winger Daniel Sprong popped by his old stomping grounds a bit early just as his ex-teammates were coming off the ice.

Sprong has had a solid season for a Detroit team that’s one of the NHL surprises this year, presently sitting in the 2nd wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

It’s been a slow rebuild for a franchise that’s missed the playoffs the last seven seasons after making it for 25-straight. The “Winged Wheel” won four Stanley Cups (1997, 1998, 2002, 2008) during that run.

Sprong has 14 goals and 20 assists this season in 54 games, a bit off his career-high pace (21 G, 25 A) set last year with Seattle.

4) As the New York Islanders and New York Rangers wrap up a set of outdoor games this weekend at Metlife Stadium in New Jersey, the first since the Kraken hosted the Vegas Golden Knights in the Winter Classic, the NHL announced the Red Wings will play the Columbus Blue Jackets outdoors at Ohio State’s famed “Horseshoe” football stadium next March.

Saturday, the New Jersey Devils beat the Philadelphia Flyers 6-3 in the first of the two-game set.

5) The Kraken finished practice with power play drills and the top unit of McCann, Vince Dunn, Andre Burakovsky, Jaden Schwartz, and Alex Wennberg looked sharp, finding some new cross-ice passing seams with one of the “high guys” jumping down late from the point on the weak side.

Most importantly, the player and puck movement was brisk. Power plays fail when they stand around.

6) Trivia slot! On only one occasion in their history, the Kraken have scored two shorthanded goals in the same game. It happened in November of 2021. Can you name one of the two players who scored a “shorty” in the game? Take a stab at it. (answer below this list)

7) Learn about the delightful feeling a coach gets when he thinks he has two number-one goalies potentially clicking, from two perspectives. The Joey Daccord and the Philipp Grubauer. The “Grubi” story is almost a bit wacky.

8) Just in case you needed a reminder, apparently I did, Monday’s game between Detroit and Seattle begins at 12:30 pm pacific time and will be seen on ESPN(+), not ROOT Sports.

9) Fitting that it’s the Detroit Red Wings in town because it allows us to go back to the origins of this “Simmer’s Sunday 9” list, and that would be in honor of all number-9’s, but especially “Mr. Hockey” himself, Gordie Howe.

Howe played 25 seasons with the Red Wings, scoring 786 goals and tallying 1,835 points. He won the Art Ross Trophy six times as the NHL’s leading scorer and the Hart Memorial Trophy six times as the league’s MVP. He helped win four Stanley Cups and at one point during the “Original Six” era, his Detroit team finished the regular season in first place seven consecutive times. That’ll never happen again.

— Trivia Answer: Forward Brandon Tanev and defenseman Carson Soucy were the shorthanded goal scorers for Seattle when they beat the Sabres 7-4 in Buffalo back on November 29th, 2021.

Most Recent Kraken:

— Kraken’s Beniers Needed A Jolt And He Got One Back Home 

— Sunday practice video …

Rob Simpson

Rob Simpson has covered the NHL in five different decades. He’s authored 4 books on hockey and is a veteran TV and radio play-by-play man and reporter.
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