Kraken to face Flyers without leader Brandon Tanev
The Seattle Kraken might have preferred a lump of coal in their Christmas stocking.
Instead, they got word that forward Brandon Tanev, a fan favorite and locker room leader nicknamed "Turbo" because he seems to know only one speed on the ice, had suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament on Dec. 18 and will require season-ending surgery.
"He's an important player for us. He's a huge part of our dressing room and a big part of what we've been doing on the ice," said Kraken coach Dave Hakstol, whose team is scheduled to play host to the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday in its return from the NHL's holiday break/pandemic pause.
Tanev, who will turn 30 Friday, had nine goals and six assists in 30 games. He was on pace to break his career-high in both goals (14) and points (29) in a season.
Not bad for someone who plays on a checking line and the top penalty-killing unit.
"He brings a lot of emotion to the locker room, a lot of life," Kraken alternate captain Jordan Eberle said. "It's just such a tough loss. Obviously, you see the things that he does on the ice. He brings us energy, brings physicality. He's been scoring a lot of goals this year. It's very hard to lose him.
"But for me, more importantly, in the locker room he's a leadership guy. He's got a voice in the room and he brings a lot of energy and a lot of life to the locker room. So, that's for sure a tough, tough loss. I know he's going to get a speedy recovery and I hope to see him around lots because his presence is big for the locker room."
Tanev won't be the only player missing from the lineup Wednesday.
The Kraken announced Monday that Mason Appleton had been put into the COVID-19 protocol, joining fellow forward Ryan Donato on the list as well as defensemen Adam Larsson, Jamie Oleksiak, Carson Soucy and Vince Dunn.
Hakstol said Oleksiak and Soucy should be able to return Wednesday, but that will still leave the Kraken short-handed.
"You just gotta adjust and try to stay healthy as much as possible," said forward Yanni Gourde, who exited the protocol just before the league paused the season. "Honestly, you just gotta do your best. Whenever your name is called, you just gotta do the work as much as possible. Don't look too much into it but, obviously, it's a tough situation."
The Flyers, who are on a season-best five-game point streak (4-0-1) under interim coach Mike Yeo, have their own coronavirus concerns.
Goaltender Carter Hart and centers Sean Couturier, Derick Brassard and Scott Laughton will be unavailable Wednesday, leaving the Flyers thin down the middle of the ice. Center Morgan Frost and right wing Jimmy Hayes were removed from the protocol list Tuesday and could be available to play.
"Everybody coming on this trip has to be ready (to play)," Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said. "As we've seen, every morning you wake up, you don't know what's going to happen to you that day. Hopefully everybody that's on the trip will be mentally and physically prepared to go."
The teams met Oct. 18 in Philadelphia, with the Flyers coming away with a 6-1 victory as Brassard had a goal and two assists.
--Field Level Media
Updated December 28, 2021