CLIMATE PLEDGE ARENA, SEATTLE, WA
TV: CBC, CITY, HULU, ESPN+. RADIO: SPORTSNET 650
OPPOSING BLOG: DAVY JONES LOCKER ROOM
The wait is over for hockey fans in the US Pacific Northwest. The Seattle Kraken make their debut at home tonight in the brand new Climate Pledge Arena and who better for them to host on this momentous night than the rivals to the North: The Vancouver Canucks.
With the Canucks coming off a big bounce-back win to ruin Patrick Kane’s special night in Chacago on Thursday, they’ll have their hands full in front of a packed house against a team desperate to not just get a win for their fans in that first home contest, but the Kraken are also looking to snap a three game losing streak that has them near the bottom of the Pacific Division standings.
The Canucks came out with a much better effort on Thursday, getting some balanced scoring, a solid night from the defence, and another stellar performance from Thatcher Demko to get back in the win column after Tuesday’s embarrassing effort in Buffalo. I think the key in this one will be making sure they can get out of the first ten minutes of the first period. The Kraken will come out firing on all cylinders, hoping for an early goal to get their fans something to scream about. Get past this, or better yet take the crowd out of the equation with an early goal of their own and they can dictate how this night goes and play spoilers for the second straight game.
It’s an exciting night for our frienemies in this I-Fivealrly (I don’t know who came up with that but it works for me), the crew over at Davy Jones’ Locker Room. We had a little chat with their managing editor Dan Morse about tonight and how the city of Seattle is embracing its new pro sports franchise:
1- So, we’ll start with giving you a chance to introduce yourself. Maybe a little background on how you ended up behind the wheel at Davy Jones’ Locker Room?
I’ve been around hockey for as long as I can remember. Growing up, we were a billet family for the Seattle Thunderbirds and had season tickets back when they played at Key Arena (now Climate Pledge Arena). I started writing about hockey around four years ago, got sidetracked with football writing, then found my way back to hockey as the expansion draft approached, and here we are.
2- We’ve seen a lot of the social media on the buzz that’s building around the Kraken, but what’s it like first hand as the team prepares to play its first home game?
It is incredible. Every interview you hear where people mention how there’s Kraken gear everywhere? All true. I went to the pumpkin patch last weekend and saw more Kraken shirts than Seahawks shirts. It’s honestly the perfect timing for the team to come around too. The Seahawks aren’t playing as well, and without a basketball team (bring them back) there’s this huge sports void this fall in the region. People I know that have never been into hockey are throwing the game on because it’s truly a once in a lifetime event.
3- Expectations are a funny thing when it comes to expansion franchises. Generally it takes a while for a team to build into a winner starting out, and then Vegas ruined everything (hah!). Do you think the team is doing a good job of trying to keep the reality grounded for the fans hoping for a repeat of Vegas’ first season?
Vegas really did change the expectations for an expansion team, but fans around here don’t expect an exact repeat of a Stanley Cup Final appearance. The front office has done an excellent job of emphasizing that they’re building a team to compete long-term—not an immediate Cup contender. That being said, nobody expects Seattle to finish at the bottom of the standings. There’s enough talk out there (at least in preseason, prior to the road trip) that the Pacific division is pretty wide open after Vegas, and as far as I’ve seen most people seem to believe Seattle can make the playoffs but not much beyond that.
4- A lot of people have this idea that people in Seattle have no clue about hockey, but as anyone who grew up in a WHL city can tell you, Seattle’s pretty in tune with the game. What kind of impact will the Kraken have on the T-Birds as well as the other WHL teams in Washington?
It’s phenomenal. Seattle even grabbed former Thunderbird Alex True in the expansion draft. It shows people that hey, guess what, you can see some of these future NHL players playing at your local rink, for a fraction of the cost of a Kraken ticket. People will see Mat Barzal come to town and say “I saw that dude win a WHL championship here!” The Everett Silvertips also have a (hopefully) star in the NHL in Carter Hart, who will now get to make his way back to town with the Flyers.
The “3-Rink Rush” the team did for preseason, playing games in three different WHL arenas, was borne out of necessity, since Climate Pledge wasn’t quite done in time. But that idea gave all these fans from just outside of Seattle a chance to see the NHL club in person. I wouldn’t be surprised if they tried keeping something like that around for next year’s preseason too.
5- Can we say we’re excited to have an actual geographical rivalry? Also, your thoughts on I-Fivealry? Seriously, it’s probably going to take a bit for things to get to Battle of Alberta intensity. Besides the Canucks, which teams can you see the Kraken having a rivalry with?
I’m a sucker for a good pun so I am on board for the I-Fivealry. It’s going to be a blast. I expect both fanbases will be sending a good chunk of people to those road games too, since it’s really not too bad of a trip. I do think that Vegas will be the team to look out for on the rivalry front as well. Everything Seattle does gets compared to Vegas, and let me tell you—when it goes our way, like with the season ticket drive selling out so much faster, it feels so good. But Vegas is a much more complete team at the moment, and that might end up being a one-sided rivalry, where Seattle fans have a bit more animosity towards Vegas than Vegas fans do to Seattle. My assumption is that Seattle and Vancouver will be a much closer matchup. They very well could be fighting for the third spot in the Pacific, or a wild card playoff spot for the next few years. That alone gives me hope that this rivalry will really kick into gear pretty quick, and I’m looking forward to rooting for your team to lose.
We wanna say thanks to Dan and congrats to him and his hard working crew on what should be a special night, and hopefully they’re still loving things after a Canucks win tonight.
I do have to say that while it seems like ESPN and TNT are doing a fantastic job covering the NHL this season, having this game available by streaming only seems like such an NHL thing to do.
Courtesy of nhl.com, this is what we will probably get served up in Seattle tonight:
Canucks projected lineup
Kraken projected lineup
Looks pretty much what we saw in Chicago on Thursday night, and yes Podkolzin is a scratch again. Just breathe, we’ll let you know when you should start being angry about it.
As far as the Kraken, apart from a couple injuries, this is their A squad, as expected.
GAME DAY CHATTER
From the depths of uncharted waters, a rivalry emerges in the Pacific Northwest. pic.twitter.com/vb3QwFVG4x— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) October 23, 2021
“Should be an easy game to get up for. A game you look forward to playing. It’s going to be loud out there tonight and we’re going to try and silence them.”— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) October 23, 2021
J.T. Miller#Canucks | @theprovince pic.twitter.com/4NftxOfjkh
“There’s a lot of passionate hockey people in the Pacific Northwest. This is great for the area, it’s exciting. There will be a rivalry right away between the fans.”— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) October 23, 2021
Coach Green on facing the Kraken#Canucks | @theprovince pic.twitter.com/ZCHuoM04uc
GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN
Some Seattle metal? And no, we’re not talking about Soundgarden or Alice In Chains here, folks. Forced Entry released just two albums, but they were both massively underappreciated back in the day. Do yourself a favour and seek out these guys. Here’s a vid shot in the Emerald City they released for the track ‘Macrocosm, Microcosm’ off ‘As Above, So Below’. Enjoy the game tonight, Go Canucks Go!