Seattle Kraken practice

Kraken NHL: Parity, Mediocrity, And Inconsistency

Kraken Inconsistency

Concerned fans asked earlier this week about the inconsistency of the Seattle Kraken. ‘World beaters’ one night, flailing another.

You’re not alone.

Fans for a majority of the middle-of-the-pack teams in a watered down NHL share a similar experience. It’s tough to gain a foothold on a consistent basis when everyone’s depth is limited and rosters are filled with “haves” and “have nots”, the latter being those players that round out line-ups while playing at or near the minimum salary.

Why do these teams get on hot streaks? Confidence and momentum, the result of collective confidence, can carry a team to great heights for the short term, until injuries or reality set in.

By the way, if you’re getting poor goaltending, forget about it.

It took just a couple of injuries and illness to derail the Kraken off their latest hot streak in January.

Brookie’s Beat

When discussing this topic, I defer to an acquaintance of mine, the Hockey Hall of Fame recognized writer Larry Brooks of the New York Post.

In a recent article, ‘Brooksie’ reiterates his greatest peeve, the parity in the NHL and how the three-point-game (two points in the standings for the win, one point in the standings for an OT or shoot-out loss) plays into it.

Because of the “loser point”, and teams willingness to play for it, particularly in games against clubs from the other conference, 24 of the NHL’s 32 teams possess records better than what we refer to as “modern .500”.

Or as Brooksie put it:

“In a league where you can have a night where, officially, 16 teams win and not one loses, 24 clubs started Saturday with records above NHL .500 even while 15 teams had not won more than half of their games. The new math is the old voodoo arithmetic. Every GM wins! Ticket-price increases are justified! The owners win, too!”

Meanwhile, the clubs that have put together what Brooks refers to as super teams, can romp through this mediocrity, until of course salary demands after a few winning seasons gut that team’s roster.

Meanwhile, as for the Kraken and the rest in the middle, th0se teams not so deep, inconsistency can be expected.

Built In Problems

Other contributing factors to teams playing inconsistently are institutional. First of all, 82 games is too many.

76 would make for better hockey, 72 even more so, but good luck with that. It’s a business first and foremost, so owners, and the exhausted players who share in the revenue, aren’t looking to reduce the number of events taking place in home buildings.

Suck it up butter cup, quality be damned. Lowering the number of games to increase the quality of play is a pipe dream.

Expansion is the other issue. Of course it’s wonderful that Seattle has an NHL team and the organization possesses some wonderful people and does a world class job of marketing, but it doesn’t remove the uncomfortable fact that the league is watered down.

Simply put, every time the NHL adds at team, 22 American Hockey League players are added to the NHL ranks. Yes, Vegas and Seattle got to pick one player from each other franchise, but ultimately as the talent gets spreads thinner, those spots around the league are filled in from the bottom.

Yes, there are some talented Europeans given opportunities, but you get the idea, since 2017, 44 to 46 new AHL’ers popped up that didn’t exist before the arrival of the Vegas Golden Knights.

And they’re actually talking about adding more!! Why? The owners get to split what would likely be a $800,000,000 expansion fee for each new team, revenue they do not have to split with the players.

Greed? Yes. And it also helps dull some of the pain for those clubs surviving on the NHL’s “revenue sharing” teat, a larger-than-you’d-expect list of welfare teams that includes the names of some surprising franchises. But that’s a story for another time.

Hard work and determination make up the modus operandi for the Kraken; admirable qualities. If those qualities remain strong enough and the roster healthy enough, the team might provide its fans enough consistency to make a legitimate playoff run.

Earlier Kraken:

— Seattle Kraken Stories The Numbers Can’t Tell

— Kraken: Where They Stand And What Stands In Front Of Them

— Red Wings Beat Kraken In Overtime, 4-3

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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