You’ve heard the phrase, “capitalize on your opponents’ mistakes.” That equation has two sides: the team making the mistakes, and the team capitalizing on them. During the first five games of the season the Seattle Kraken provided their opponents with ample capitalization opportunities.
You can chalk it up to any number of things: the season being just a handful of games old; the roster hopscotch that’s been taking place with injuries and COVID and minor league call-ups; the team still having to get used to playing with one another; a road trip that stuffed five games into eight calendar days; or just a plain old slump.
The bad news is, these gaffes have accounted for five goals against in the first five games of the season. The good news is, they’re all fixable problems, and you have to know every one of these guys was kicking themselves for the mistake. They’re pros, and I’m pretty confident we’re not going to keep seeing this game after game.
I suppose the best news is, other teams are not immune to these kinds of mistakes either — and Seattle has already benefited from one of them. More on that later.
Vince Dunn is our first victim:
Here Dunn is the first one to the puck, with forecheckers coming towards him from both directions. He has both Ryan Donato and Jeremy Lauzon nearby, though neither is an easy target for a pass. But pass it he does, and either fans on it, or doesn’t connect, or gets interfered with — whatever the cause, the puck ends up on William Karlsson’s stick, who flips a quick pass to Marchessault, and it’s into our net.
This one’s kind of a borderline case, and I would argue that the thing to do in that situation is either pin it to the boards and wait for help, or ring it around behind the net. If you’re going to pass towards your own slot, you need a wide open recipient, and the pass has to get there. Dunn broke both of those rules.
This one needs a little setup. It’s tied 1-1, we’re into 3-on-3 overtime, and this group of Kraken skaters is gassed. Morgan Geekie is looking for relief, and heads to the bench...
...allowing a 3-on-2 the other way, and it’s game over.
That’s just bad timing on Geekie’s part, pure and simple. Whenever you head for the bench you can’t leave your team in the lurch. That’s especially true in 3-on-3 overtime, when the game is literally on the line.
Two candidates here, the first is the kind of thing you see in Squirts house league games:
Five Kraken skaters bunched up on one side of the ice, looking at the puck like they’re under hypnosis. Then, “Oh, hey, look... there’s somebody behind me...”
This next one is hard to swallow, since it’s Adam Larsson, who absolutely knows better.
Again, watching the puck like he’s in a trance and drifting towards his off-side circle, when he realizes that the guy he was supposed to be covering has the rebound on his stick.
That was the end of a long night in Philly, but don’t think this didn’t come up with the video review coach.
I don’t even know where to start with this one. So, so many things...
You have two forwards pinching deep on the left side, then lollygagging it back out of the zone. Larsson pinches on the right side, which doesn’t help things. But by the time the Devils’ defenseman is releasing the stretch pass to Tomas Tatar, there are four Kraken players in the offensive zone, leaving Jamie Oleksiak to handle the 2-on-1 by himself. He plays the shooter instead of preventing a pass — again, he should know better — and then takes himself out of the play by flopping and sliding.
Oh, But How The Turntables...
Remember us bunching up on one side of the ice leaving an opponent wide open? Well, two can play at that game...
Alex Barre-Boulet with the sauce. Wenny with the finish! pic.twitter.com/V8wH462pNw— Seattle Kraken (@SeattleKraken) October 15, 2021
The Kraken are finally back home against the Canucks on Saturday, and it couldn’t come soon enough. They have had a full day’s practice, with another on tap for Friday. Maybe it’s good that this all happened to start the season, instead of in the home stretch when they’re clinging to a wild card spot.
Either way, we should all be crossing our fingers that the Kraken have this type of thing out of their system.