Is it Time for Seattle to Panic? On Failure and Forging Ahead

Yanni Gourde, Jordan Eberle, and Matty Beniers celebrate after a goal.
Photo credit: AP Photo/John Froschauer (APMedia)

A reverse hit to the head, and Adam Larsson is flattened by a Nashville Predator. Disoriented and drowning in skaters swarming for possession, it takes him a moment to pull himself to his feet to keep fighting.

Nashville smells fear— there will be no easing of the barrage, not with glory at their fingertips. And why should there be? Mercy knows no flock here, and triumph will not tarry for a suitor. Kill or be killed. Two shots are taken in the span of six seconds, and the Seattle Kraken are swiftly losing leverage.

Larsson reassumes command in front of the crease, clutching his stick in matching fists. When play careens to the boards again, he ignites, charging headfirst into the storm and leveling an opposing skater with a poorly concealed cross-check.

Foreboding descends upon the rink like a miasma; luck flashes a cold shoulder. Delayed penalty is the call, six-on-five. Nashville traps the zone, launches a missile cross-slot, and shoots. In a poetically cruel twist of fate, the puck is tipped in off none other than Larsson.

No better characterization of Seattle’s start to the season exists. Circumstance, hell-bent on their foiling, has left them starved of offense, stuck on the wrong side of own-goals and shutouts, and perpetually, inexplicably late to the one pass, one shot, that would turn the tides in their favor.

Luck is, at least, part of the problem. Plagued by one of the worst spells of misfortune recorded in the league right now, quantified by a PDO of .932, it’s no surprise Seattle’s nightly effort has been met with insurmountable, frustratingly intangible pushback.

Misfortune normally brings with it inevitable resurgence. However, features of Seattle’s game indeed suggest the source of their ailment is deeper rooted— controlling a mere 50.92% of the total shot quality and finishing on only 1.47% of shots on goal leaves much to be desired from their offensive ability. Scoring only two goals in three games without contributing in some way to that drought is difficult; luck is influential, not all-determining. Any resurgence seen will probably not resemble excellence. Difficulty lies ahead.

Whether panic is warranted given these dismal results is a loaded question. Seattle isn’t doomed, nor are they incapable of finding success this season. At the same time, it doesn’t help anyone to tip-toe around reality, which is that these first three games are concerning. And that may be an uncomfortable truth to reckon with.

Berths and championships are the accumulation of everything put on the ice over the course of an entire regular season. Spinning three games into an omen is unproductive, yet so is ignoring their implications entirely. Ample opportunity lies ahead for improvement— 79 games’ worth— but not all of those games are going to be pretty. In fact, the coming season might get incredibly ugly.

That’s it. Adversity presents the circumstances, and teams can take or leave them. The only way out of a rough patch is through.

Perhaps success this season will be determined by resilience instead of exponential improvement. Wrestling with misfortune, stripped of key depth pieces, and still searching for sustainable success, does Seattle have the strength to forge ahead in relentless pursuit of their goals, knowing full well the challenge that lies in wait?

Success isn’t impossible, just at the summit of a higher mountain; Seattle is no stranger to the altitude of tribulation. Armed with a refreshingly staunch tandem, stingy defense, and a wily, versatile forward group, the only sin now would be to shy away.

When Larsson, bloodied and beaten, returned to the bench after the ugliest shift of the season, and maybe even his career, he didn’t panic, and the world didn’t end. He dusted himself off, took a breath, and got ready for the next one.

Stats via MoneyPuck, NaturalStatTrick.

Allyson Ballard

Goth sports enjoyer covering all things Seattle Kraken. Freelance writer, as seen on SeattleHockeyInsider, Cor-sea, formerly of the 32 Krew. Currently majoring in English at the University of Washington

6 thoughts on “Is it Time for Seattle to Panic? On Failure and Forging Ahead

  1. Pure poetry. I don’t mind the idea of a tough year if it makes us better in the long run! Good look at both possible sides of these first few

  2. I love the word choice used in this article, it gives it a sudden, dramatic effect! Looking forward to more articles from Allyson.

  3. Excellent article! Looking forward to many more! And looking forward to more Kraken hockey, it’s early, and Kraken will improve.

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