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Set ‘skills’ | NHL.com

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The monorail train cars filled up (not overcrowded) with properly masked fans trip after trip on what can best be described as a hockey vacation, with sunny weather with blue skies and temperatures in the 50s.

A sensory sample of those train rides: Kraken jerseys with Grubauer, Tanev, Eberle and the number 32 on the back – oh, and a futuristic item, a pre-teen son with the popular “31” jersey with his dad wearing the soon to be popular (we just don’t know when) “10” (no official confirmation here) and “Beniers” on the name line.

There were families big and small going to see Kraken players for the first time. A young girl holding hands with both her parents, she was seated and her parents were standing. Six members of another family got off the train and quickly set up a group photo of mum, dad, three daughters and a son, all wearing Kraken home jerseys, with grandma taking the photo worthy of a coat.

Lots of chatter, smiles, laughter, even among complete strangers waiting for the next train – within minutes but long enough for two young women to talk about tentacle-decorated leggings and how they both covet hats of tentacles. If they saw the young man with an elaborate tentacle-shaped hoodie walking towards the Armory, they would put him on their shopping list as well.

Then the showcase began and there was much more awe among the fans who filled the lower bowl and box section at Climate Pledge Arena to see the display of game night player presentations, represent the national anthem (another great performance) and a celebratory face-off with Davy. Team dog Jones does the honors (with a little help, he’s still a pup after all).

Kraken CEO Tod Leiweke stood at center ice to greet everyone with Seattle-like noise when Leiweke mentioned Friday’s win at Anaheim. He thanked the players (huge applause and cheers), the coaching staff and, above all, the fans who have so clearly convinced NHL leaders and the world that Seattle is indeed “the great city of hockey” including Leiweke even dreamed when he was managing the Seahawks. and Sounders earlier in his illustrious and inspiring career.

The Kraken guardian duo of Philippe Grubauer and Chris Driedger (Friday Night’s winning goaltender) acted as team captains, recording a must-see video of their Super Skills Showcase draft. Lots of fun ideas and nicknames were revealed by the captains.

Video: Driedger and Grubauer draft their teams

Although there was a wide variety of events, Grubauer and Driedger mainly played the role of coach, sending teammates to participate in Fastest Dresser (with young hockey participants as well), Accuracy Shooting, Obstacle Relay Race, Juggling Puck, Fastest Skater (two young ladies competing), Hardest Shot, Breakaway Challenge (with the Kraken emergency backup goalies or EBUGs in the net), and a 3v3 final (same goalies).

There were lots of fun moments, clear winners, and finally a bit of trepidation about the radar gun for the fastest shooting competition.

Fun moments included Grubauer and Driedger going head-to-head in the Fastest Stick Taper. Driedger finished faster but lost points as his tape work had some gaps while Grubauer’s blade was sewn perfectly. Kraken equipment manager Jeff Camelio served as judge and jury, giving the “Grubi” team a boost and the “Driedgs” team a boost.

Moments later, as broadcast team analysts JT Brown and Dave Tomlinson interviewed players, Grubauer was on the “twins” video overhead still smiling and showing off his perfect tape work.

Among the winners: Riley Sheahan won the marksmanship, edging out the newcomer (via New York Islanders) Austin Czarnik. The two teams were a tenth of a second apart in the obstacle relay race, in which morgan geek spectacularly beat the Grubauer team time by a fraction of a second – despite Yanni Water Bottle and others literally throwing down gloves and sticks to try and slow Geekie down.

“I think the results speak for themselves,” Geekie said, tongue in cheek when asked about Team Grubauer’s tactics. “Hold your head after that [resulting in a 11 to 9 win for Team Driedger].

Another notable winner was Jack Giordano, who replaced his father, in the breakaway challenge, putting the shots for a score on one of the EBUGs (who made several solid saves each in the 3-on-3 event, which ended in a draw after five minutes).

The fastest shooting competition was where controversy erupted. It started with a Adam Larson shot that everyone, fans, media and gamers guessed was the fastest and scored on the radar gun in the mid 80’s. Then Giordano hit low numbers after predicting he would win the contest (again tongue in cheek, the players had almost as much fun as the fans).

Geekie ended up winning the event with a reading of 98 mph. Jared McCann hit 96 while Jamie Oleksiak, Will Borgen, Jeremy Lauzon and Carson Soucy were all at 94-95 mph.

“One hundred percent there was something wrong with the [radar] gun,” Giordano said during the media scrum afterwards. “Either that or the boys are tired of Friday’s win. I’ll go with the gun.”

Giordano quickly exited with joy after saying he was “glad that we could all provide some entertainment for the fans”, especially the new fans inside the arena for the first time.

Geekie was next and the hard-hitting media (right, tongue, cheek) jumped in to ask if the young forward being tracked by the ‘Geek Squad’ wanted to weigh in on the accuracy of the radar gun.

“Probably,” Geekie said without hesitation. “I thought of ‘Lars'” [Adam Larsson] took the hardest hit.”

Asked about using a really high backswing on his shots as a strategy to generate miles per hour, Geekie said, “I have no idea, I’ve never done that before.”

After a few laughs, Geekie summed up his teammates’ gratitude to the fans in attendance.

“It was so good to see everyone out,” he said, “especially after taking the win last night. It was a very special day, getting here maybe half an hour early. ‘go on the ice, like we did when we were kids. I look forward to doing more every year.”