SEATTLE (AP) — For the gamers and employees who had been round a season in the past when the Seattle Kraken had been racing to make their debut as an enlargement franchise, what occurred Thursday felt downright regular.
The Kraken began coaching camp with a bunch of gamers who had been on the ice collectively earlier than, however had been now capable of be round one another within the locker room with COVID-19 protocols lifted to start out the method of bettering on what was a difficult and disappointing first season.
“It is so much totally different,” ahead Jaden Schwartz stated. “(We’re) extra comfy with one another. Extra comfy with the town. Simply form of figuring out the routines and stuff and simply attending to know the blokes extra is an important factor.”
Because of some key offseason additions, the Kraken ought to be much better than the workforce that completed final season 27-49-6, together with a depressing nine-game shedding streak in December and January and a stretch of 11 losses in 12 video games in February and March.
It was a season that seemed like most enlargement seasons for the previous 30 years, the debut season from Vegas excluded.
However what Seattle confronted was much more tough. Between well being and security protocols, the unfamiliarity of getting by no means performed with one another and the novelty of an enlargement franchise, nothing about final 12 months’s inaugural coaching camp felt regular.
And it carried into the season.
“It was exhausting final 12 months with COVID and every little thing to form of get to know one another. All people was just a little bit scared that it’s important to miss like three or 4 weeks in case you hang around as a result of COVID protocols,” goalie Philipp Grubauer stated. “So there was not a lot workforce constructing off the ice. However now everybody is aware of one another. All people feels comfy and I feel that is an enormous a part of this.”
The ambiance for the primary day of camp this time round was drastically totally different. A 12 months in the past, followers packed the workforce’s apply facility with pleasure to get a primary take a look at the league’s latest franchise and broke into applause when the primary gamers hit the ice.
There have been followers in attendance Thursday however not in the identical numbers or exhibiting the identical fervor. They appear to be taking the identical strategy as most that the Kraken want to point out they are going to be higher this season earlier than absolutely leaping on board with a workforce that on paper ought to be considerably improved.
“Among the good issues that we did final 12 months do not actually present up within the level totals. So we have to enhance each little piece of our recreation,” coach Dave Hakstol stated. “And clearly, we’ve got to have that present itself within the factors standings.”
There are many new faces within the Kraken locker room, together with Oliver Bjorkstrand and André Burakovsky. However one of the crucial necessary items for Seattle goes to be ahead Brandon Tanev, who’s returning after he missed most of final season with a serious knee damage.
Tanev had 15 factors in 30 video games earlier than struggling a torn ACL on Dec. 18, 2021, in opposition to Edmonton. The damage took necessary vitality away from Seattle’s lineup and took away a persona who had rapidly turn out to be a fan favourite.
Tanev was again on the ice for the beginning of coaching camp with out restrictions or limitations.
“We have all been by means of it, clearly final 12 months being the primary season in Seattle,” Tanev stated. “However this 12 months it is all enterprise proper from the get go. I do not assume there’s any time warming as much as issues. I feel we have to get on the market, we’ve got to compete, we’ve got to prepare for the season.”