Seattle Kraken have had a fight and a beef — are rivalries soon to follow?
A lot of people were happy to see the Seattle Kraken get their first win as an NHL team on Thursday night when they outlasted the Predators 4-3 in Nashville’s home opener. There was something else people were exciting about seeing for the first time in the game: a Kraken player in a fight.
After six preseason games and one regular season contest, somebody from the Kraken, defenseman Vince Dunn, finally dropped the gloves.
While a hard hit by Dunn on Nashville center Colton Sisson set off the physical exchange, the battle was with Predators forward Yakov Trenin, and it didn’t appear to go Dunn’s way. You win some, you lose some – such is the way in hockey.
But where there’s smoke can also be fire, and as the newest team in the league, the Kraken have yet to establish rivalries. Could one be brewing already after Dunn’s fight? Or perhaps coming off the hard-fought loss in the team’s opener Tuesday night in Vegas?
NHL Network’s Jon Morosi joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s Wyman and Bob on Thursday for his first weekly segment talking hockey – he’s also an MLB Network correspondent who joins the show during the baseball season – and he spoke about the physical playing style of the Kraken, how rivalries are born in the NHL and the likely candidates for Seattle to develop animosity toward.
“It will be interesting to me to see what kind of brand of hockey this team plays,” Morosi said. “I think they’re going to play aggressive hockey, they want to forecheck intensely, but then the question comes, is there going to be a player on this team who fights a lot? Or who really plays on the edge, to use the hockey expression, and what does that mean for the lineup?”
While Dunn did engage in the first fight in team history, don’t expect him to be that guy. Now in his fifth season, he didn’t come to the Kraken with much of a reputation for throwing down.
“There’s a lot of intensity and rivalry (in hockey), and that’s where I think for me, I’m going to be really curious to see which teams really become the Kraken’s rivals,” Morosi continued. “On some level naturally it’s Vancouver become of geography or Vegas because of the expansion fraternity. I thought that the game Tuesday was spirited.”
That it was. In fact, the first signs of a rivalry between the Kraken and Golden Knights have already started to show as some Vegas players took exception to how Morgan Geekie celebrated a goal that briefly tied the game in the third period.
“The guy kind of did a little stick twirl and stared the bench down, so it kind of got our line fired up,” Golden Knights captain Mark Stone said after the game.
Keep that in mind for when the NHL’s 31st and 32nd teams – who by the way both play in the Pacific Division – meet next on Nov. 9, also in Vegas.
“You play in your own division a lot, and so those are the kinds of things where, ‘Oh, there was a fight in this game? Well circle the next one next time they play because you might see some either hard plays or another fight next time around,'” Morosi said.
Not that teams need to see each other a lot for a beef to develop, so maybe circle the Jan. 25 game when the Predators come to Seattle, too.
“Sometimes it only takes one or two players that want to showdown all the time for there to be a rivalry,” Morosi said. “Detroit and Denver have like nothing in common, but for four or five years (Red Wings-Avalanche) was the rivalry in hockey because they were both good and because Claude Lemieux hit Kris Draper when he did, it was a cheap shot, and that’s all it took for the rivalry to become one of the hottest things in sports.”
Listen to the full conversation between Morosi, Dave Wyman and Bob Stelton in the podcast at this link or in the player below.