BUMP AND STACY

Kraken Breakdown: Forslund on impact of missing Burkovsky, road success

Mar 22, 2023, 2:08 PM

Seattle Kraken Adam Larsson Vince Dunn...

Adam Larsson celebrates a goal with fellow Kraken defenseman Vince Dunn against Washington on Dec. 9, 2022. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

The inaugural season didn’t go well for the Seattle Kraken, who finished 2021-22 with the third-worst record in the NHL. Things have dramatically turned around in Year 2.

Adam Larsson’s OT goal lifts Kraken to 5-4 win over Stars

The Kraken are 39-24-7 with 12 games remaining in the regular season, giving them the seventh-most points (85) and seventh-best point percentage (.607) in the NHL’s Western Conference. That means if the season were to end Wednesday, they’d be in the playoffs. What also helps Seattle is it’s six points up Calgary and seven up on Nashville, which are the two teams on the outside looking in with the Western Conference playoff picture.

So what should we know about the final stretch of the Kraken’s season? And are they close to getting one of their top players back from injury? John Forslund, the voice of the Kraken on ROOT Sports, joined Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy on Wednesday to discuss those two questions and more.

The final stretch

The Kraken’s next two games could really help them solidify a playoff spot as they play in Nashville against the Predators (35-26-8, 78 points) on both Thursday and Saturday.

“Doing away with Nashville will be good. I mean, Nashville is hanging around,” Forslund said. “(The Kraken) have got a ways to go here, but now they have head-to-heads with Nashville tomorrow night and Saturday afternoon. You get out of here with three or four points, or you win both games and you can put that one to bed and that’s good. That would basically put them in a great spot.”

While there’s a high likelihood that the Kraken make the playoffs, Forslund doesn’t want anyone to get ahead of themselves.

“With the road schedule and the fact that this team has a lot to do here on this road trip – you’ve gotta go to Minnesota and they’re an elite team to wrap up the trip and then come home – you don’t want to get ahead of it,” he said. “So I think that’s part of it. And then Calgary won a game last night, so they’re kind of hanging around, too. They don’t play with a lot of jam right now and they were hammered by LA the night before, but mathematically, they’re in it. So until all those equations are put away, you have to be careful.”

“But if the Kraken can just keep doing what they need to do, win the games that are ahead here and not rely on help, not rely on the final two weeks or week of the season to kind of squeak in, they can really feel good about where they’re at right now,” he added. “And they should. They’re in the driver’s seat here to get it done. I really believe they will, I just don’t want to jinx this thing.”

Missing Andre Burakovsky

The Kraken have been largely healthy this season, but they have dealt with one long-term injury that’s been plenty noticeable.

Winger Andre Burakovsky, who the Kraken signed a lucrative five-year deal in free agency last offseason, has been out of action since early February with a lower-body injury. When he went down, Burakovsky was Seattle’s top scorer.

Unfortunately, Forslund isn’t expecting the 28-year-old forward to return all that soon.

“I do know that he’s had a tough time with this injury,” Forslund said. “He was supposed to be closer than I think it’s presenting itself maybe a week ago, but there seems to be a hold up here.”

Forslund said he doesn’t see Burakovsky skating on the ice before practice too often, which is a sign that he’s not nearing a return.

“Until he has a few practices and he gets in a contact sweater, then he’s closer,” he said, “and I don’t think he’s close right now. But maybe after this road trip the situation will change … But he’s a key piece. You take a player like that out, it adjusts the balance, it changes their scoring, it changes their four-line attack, which has been a hallmark of the team all season. But hopefully that’ll turn.”

Road warriors

The Kraken have a beautiful new arena with Climate Pledge Arena, but they haven’t quite made it home just yet.

This year, the Kraken are just 16-15-4 in Seattle. But they’re 23-9-3 on the road, which is third-best in the NHL.

So why are the Kraken so much better away from home? Forslund said he got a bit of an explanation from the team’s coaching staff recently.

“It’s a simpler game on the road … You just play a little bit more of a simple game,” he said. “At home, you press, you try to put on a show for your fans, you take some risks offensively that maybe you shouldn’t. So they dumbed down their game, if you will, on the road.”

The other reason has a bit to do with coaching, Forslund said.

“At home, the coach gets the last change. The coach can adjust the players on the ice and the opponents or visitors put their players out first. If he wants a certain line or a certain defense pairing against the forward line from the other side, (Kraken head coach) Dave Hakstol can adjust and put his players out there,” he said. “And the coaches say on the road, they don’t get that luxury, so they just roll their lines. Maybe they should start rolling their lines at home because it seems like that is factoring in how they play.”

Figuring that out before the playoffs start will be critical, Forslund said.

“They’re going to have to gain some traction at home if the team makes the playoffs because it’s a different ballgame,” he said. “So you throw everything out, but you have to have some confidence at home if you want to be real in the postseason.”

How to support Andy Eide, Kraken insider for Seattle Sports

Bump & Stacy Show

Bump and Stacy

...

Seattle Sports Video

Video: Seahawks OL Olu Oluwatimi on his expectations for himself this season

Seattle Seahawks OL Olu Oluwatimi joined Michael Bumpus and Stacy Rost to talk about what it’s like to come back after the off-season. What keeps him ready for any situation during the game? What are his expectations for himself this upcoming season? He answers that and much more in this in-depth, in person interview. Watch […]

12 hours ago

Seattle Mariners Luke Raley...

Brent Stecker

One thing Mariners excel at reveals what needs to improve

The Seattle Mariners have no problem driving up opposing pitchers' pitch counts, but it's not helping them score against starters.

12 hours ago

Seattle Seahawks Jake Bobo...

Brent Stecker

Jake Bobo: New Seahawks OC Grubb is moving all the WRs around

Wide receiver Jake Bobo says the Seattle Seahawks will be using some of their stars in ways fans aren't used to seeing under new OC Ryan Grubb.

15 hours ago

...

Seattle Sports Video

Video: Seahawks WR Jake Bobo on what this passing game can do for this Seahawks offense

Seahawks WR Jake Bobo joined Michael Bumpus and Stacy Rost to discuss how he’s doing this year, the impact of the new coaches, and what it’s like to get back on the field after his fan favorite rookie season. What goals does he have for himself the rest of this season and beyond? Watch the […]

1 day ago

Seattle Seahawks Mike Macdonald OTA practice 2024...

Cameron Van Til

NFL insider Albert Breer: Why Seahawks’ coaching transition is unique

NFL insider Albert Breer discusses an article he wrote about the Seattle Seahawks' transition from Pete Carroll to Mike Macdonald.

2 days ago

Caitlin Clark Jewell Loyd Seattle Storm WNBA...

Brent Stecker

Analyst: Why Caitlin Clark not going to Olympics may be what she needs

Seattle Storm broadcaster and hoops analyst Elise Woodward weighed in on Caitlin Clark not making the US Olympics squad with Bump and Stacy.

2 days ago

Kraken Breakdown: Forslund on impact of missing Burkovsky, road success