Seattle Kraken fans will get a sneak peak at what the team will look like without captain Mark Giordano on the roster tonight when they play host to the Tampa bay Lightning. Head coach Dave Hakstol confirmed after today’s morning skate that Giordano would be a healthy scratch, but made it clear this had everything to do with the business side of things and nothing more.
“There’s no easy way. That’s real stuff, you’re dealing with real life,” Hakstol told media on Wednesday afternoon. “For Gio, it’s a really important night for him and his family, the celebration that we’re going to have before the game. From the reality of the business side of the game, there’s that conflict there. Those are real life items. Gio and his celebration tonight being front and center, that really brings it to light.”
The Kraken are still expected to honor Giordano for reaching a truly incredible career milestone, especially for an undrafted defenseman. There aren’t many of those to make it this far into the league and still perform at such a high level. Still, it’s a bit of an awkward situation and quite jarring to see this news less than 24 hours after many Kraken fans received an email inviting them to the game early for the celebration.
“Join us in congratulating the captain of our ship, Mark Giordano, on the extraordinary achievement of 1,000 NHL games! A ceremony honoring Gio’s commitment to the best game in the world will begin at 7:00 PM tomorrow night, prior to the game.”
It’s not the first time a player has been in a suit and tie rather than his full gear for a big career milestone celebration. In fact, it’s not even the first time this year that this has happened. Less than two weeks ago the New York Islanders honored Zdeno Chara for playing in more games than any defender in NHL history while he was out of the lineup with an injury. It’s not the same thing, but it’s close enough.
There was one more line from Hakstol’s response worth noting as we head towards the deadline: Gio isn’t the only one dealing with issues like this.
“We also have to understand that there are a lot of people in our room that are going through similar things, just maybe not quite as direct today.”
Giordano isn’t likely the only member of the Kraken to get shipped off before Monday’s deadline, and Hakstol seemed to all but confirm that. We have some guesses as to who those may be, but so far nothing concrete has come down the pipeline. Jaden Schwartz was a surprise absence from today’s morning skate, with no explanation given, but it’s hard to see how the guy that inked a 5-year contract as a free agent just last summer would be sent away so soon.
You can catch the Kraken game tonight on TNT, the first of two straight home games before a week on the road. Tim has everything you need to know ahead of the game in his preview here.