Why are Kraken surging? Hakstol says they’ve found their identity

Jan 6, 2024, 2:38 PM

Seattle Kraken...

The Seattle Kraken celebrate a goal by Tomas Tatar on Jan. 4, 2024. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

After coming one goal short of a Western Conference Finals appearance last season, expectations were high for the Seattle Kraken in Year 3.

But Seattle got off to a slow start and lost quite a bit of close games. The Kraken also struggled to consistently put the puck in the net after being a very efficient scoring team last season.

The Kraken have turned things around, though, as they’ve won six in a row and eight of their last 10. And even in those two losses, Seattle came away with points in the standings.

Joey Daccord, Seattle Kraken stay hot with 4-1 win over Senators

Entering Saturday, the Kraken are holding the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference, meaning they’d make the playoffs if the season ended today.

“It’s a bunch of small things at this time of year, especially as you get to the middle portion of the season,” head coach Dave Hakstol told Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy on Friday. “It’s just a bunch of little things that make the difference. We went through a stretch where we could not find a way to come out on the right side of a solid performance, continually losing points. And since we’ve been able to turn that around, we’ve got on a roll and confidence is surging throughout the group, and we’re just finding a bunch of little ways to win games and gain points.”

Part of the team’s early struggles were “self-inflicted,” Hakstol said. Some were related to injury. It also took a bit for the Kraken to find their identity, which put Seattle in a bit of a hole.

“We didn’t find our identity early in the season. That puts you at risk as you get into an 82-game schedule and some points leak away,” Hakstol said. “That really put us under a little bit of fire and our guys responded the right way and stayed with it and found a way to get to the right side of things here. And now we’ve given ourselves a chance to fight our way back into playoff contention here over the last couple of weeks.”

The way the Kraken are playing right now is exactly how Hakstol and the team envision their identity being.

“You’re seeing it right now. You’re seeing a group of guys that scratch and claw defensively and make it really hard to generate anything against us,” he said.

A big part of that has been the hot streak of goaltender Joey Daccord, who has been a brick wall in net for Seattle.

“He has continued to work and when the opportunity arose to get a consistent string of games here, he’s taken advantage of it,” Hakstol said. “And it’s big saves at the right time, it’s making the saves you’re supposed to make throughout an entire game, and he’s been giving us that element. He did it again (on Thursday). When we sag, he makes a huge save and that just bolsters your confidence, it pumps up the bench and instead of dwelling on a mistake, you forget about it and you move on to the next play.”

Daccord’s play in net coupled with a healthier roster has helped the Kraken make up a ton of ground in the playoff race in a rather short period of time.

“As we find a little bit more success and we have a little healthier roster, we’re starting to see depth in our scoring. And that’s what this team is all about,” Hakstol said. “It’s a group that needs everybody night in and night out. And we can call it identity, we can call it whatever we want. It’s the rhythm that works for us, and we’re starting to find that stride. And like I said, there’s many, many battles ahead. The playoff race is now in front of us. It’s still an uphill battle, but that’s one that as you look at an identity and a feel of a group, that our guys are pretty excited for.”

Listen to Bump and Stacy’s full interview with Dave Hakstol at this link or in the player near the top of this story.

Seattle Kraken Takeaways: Is this win streak the start of a run back to playoffs?

Bump & Stacy Show

Bump and Stacy

Seattle Seahawks Riq Woolen OTAs 2024...

Stacy Rost

Rost: Ranking Seahawks players who are under the most pressure

Even though expectations may be lower for the Seattle Seahawks under first-year head coach Mike Macdonald, some players have a lot of pressure on them for 2024.

22 hours ago

WSU Cougars Drew Bledsoe USC 1992...

Cameron Van Til

Michael Bumpus shares his WSU Cougars football Mount Rushmore

Former WSU Cougars wide receiver Michael Bumpus names the four football players he'd place on his alma mater's "Mount Rushmore."

2 days ago

UW Huskies football...

Brent Stecker

Insider thinks UW Huskies can keep up in Big Ten debut season

"I think they can still come through with a decent year," longtime college football insider Phil Steele says of the UW Huskies.

2 days ago

WSU Cougars Jake Dickert...

Brent Stecker

How a CFB insider sees WSU Cougars’ 2024 season playing out

WSU football has a different kind of schedule ahead of them in 2024, which could be a good thing, as insider Phil Steele explains.

2 days ago

Seattle Mariners Dylan Moore Astros 2024...

Brent Stecker

ESPN insider’s view on Mariners and Astros’ trade deadline plans

The Seattle Mariners are looking for bats, but their competition in the AL West is also expected to make moves before the MLB trade deadline.

3 days ago

Former Seattle Mariners OF Teoscar Hernández...

Zac Hereth

Examining what Teoscar Hernández said about hitting in T-Mobile Park

Seattle Sports' Michael Bumpus and Stacy Rost discuss what ex-Seattle Mariners OF Teoscar Hernández said about hitting at T-Mobile Park.

4 days ago

Why are Kraken surging? Hakstol says they’ve found their identity