Groz: Seattle Kraken will build connection with fans with tough defense
A couple weeks into the season and the Seattle Kraken are already making an impact.
Their first home win, a 5-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night, was their best performance of the season so far. They are designed to be an uptempo team, but what I really think might cement the connection to their first-year fan base is that this is a team that will win with defense.
From the great Chuck Knox-coached Seahawks teams, to the Jim Lambright-era Washington Huskies, to the Palouse Posse, “The Glove,” “Little O,” “Junior” and Mike Cameron, Seattle sports fans have been chanting “de-fense” ever since I got here. And that’s how this Kraken team is going to succeed or fall this year.
Obviously for a hockey team it starts with good net-minding and strong play by your defensemen, but it extends to what I think might be the most important stat by the end of the season: blocked shots. That’s not to be confused with saves; blocked shots are when forwards and defensemen give up their bodies to stop the puck before the goalie even needs to make a save.
I think that is going to be key for the Kraken moving forward. Right now, Adam Larsson is leading the team and tied for 20th in the NHL with 13 blocked shots. I look for these numbers to go up as the year goes by, and for the chants of ‘de-fense, de-fense” to start echoing throughout Climate Pledge Arena.
More Seattle Kraken coverage from 710Sports.com
• Andy Eide: How Kraken are aiming to finish more of their chances
• Mike Lefko: Kraken have something to build on at home
• Video tour of Climate Pledge Arena at Kraken home opener
• Brandon Gustafson: Kraken hope to make arena ‘tough building to play in’
• Jon Mosori: Why didn’t Kraken start strong like last expansion team?