Lefko: The strange bond uniting the Seattle Kraken — Nickelback
The Seattle Kraken had been mired in a nine-game losing streak until their exciting shootout win in Monday’s matinee against Chicago, and at this point there isn’t much more to say about their wins and losses.
However, the Kraken’s All-Star representative, Jordan Eberle, shared something very revealing when he joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy recently (listen here): he is a rabid Nickelback fan, and the entire team likes the often divisive rock band, as well.
— Curtis Rogers (@AKidFromKent) January 14, 2022
Simply put, this was stunning news (and perhaps says a lot about the team’s performance on the ice). It’s the biggest revelation we have heard about the Kraken this season, and I felt it deserved further attention. Because as you really start to sift through some of the more notable Nickelback songs, they have an uncanny connection to the Kraken’s inaugural season.
“Look at this photograph, every time I do it makes me laugh.”
Who knew that 16 years before the Kraken would play their first game that Nickelback would write a song talking about this very picture from the NHL Expansion Draft? We were so naïve and innocent, wonderfully optimistic about the Kraken core that stood proudly up there ready to take on all comers. A moment frozen in time, fleeting, and lost now that the harsh reality of an inaugural season as an expansion franchise has set in.
“It’s hard to say it, time to say it: Goodbye, goodbye.”
• FAR AWAY
“And I miss you, been far away for far too long.”
Nickelback’s ode to the Kraken’s losing streak is poignant and sorrowful. Before Monday, the Kraken had not seen that precious ‘W’ in over a month – since a Dec. 14 win at San Jose, in fact. Nine straight losses wear on the soul of a team. You forget what it feels like to get a win, it seems so fleeting and far away. Plus, when you have just 11 total wins in 34 games, you can understand why they would retreat to this mournful melody from the Canadian crooners.
“I keep dreaming you’ll be with me and you’ll never go.”
“How did we wind up like this?”
The Kraken made a major splash before the season, signing Philipp Grubauer to six-year deal worth $5.9 million a season. A good netminder who could win you games and keep you in others was exactly the spark a brand new team needed, especially as the offense learned to play together. The Vezina Trophy finalist was coming off a terrific season with Colorado, and at just 29 years old at the time, he seemed like a lock to provide the Kraken stability between the pipes for years to come.
Instead, it’s been a nightmare of a season. Grubauer’s 3.37 goals against average entering Monday is the highest since his rookie season, and the mark sat 62nd among the 75 NHL goalies to have played in a game this year. His save percentage of .880 would be the lowest mark of his career and ranks 73rd. It has been bad, but past performance suggests that this could be an aberration and someday the remedy will come.
“Just as long as you know that someday I will, someday, somehow I’m going to make it all right but not right now”
• HOW YOU REMIND ME
“This is how you remind me of what I really am.”
I wrote about it a couple of weeks ago, but the Kraken’s bad habit of allowing early goals keeps happening to this team. The Kraken have a first period goal differential of minus-15, the fourth-worst mark in the league. And there is not an official stat to track this, but the Kraken also seem to unofficially lead the league in fastest goals allowed to start a game. In case you had forgotten, the Kraken were there to remind you last Wednesday night when they proceeded to let the Stars score just 50 seconds into the game.
“These five words in my head scream: are we having fun yet?”
• BURN IT TO THE GROUND
I think this one is self-explanatory. At this point it’s a lost season, the grueling foundation laid so that one day better things can spring from it. Trade whomever you need to, fire whomever you need to, but from this point on everything should be done with the sole interest of having this team be markedly better when the 2022-23 season rolls around.