“That is hockey, baby”, TV-pundit John Forslund shouted.
The goal was open and all Alex Wennberg, 27, had do to, after Alex Barré-Boulet magical pass, was just to put the puck into the net. The Swede made no mistakes and Seattle had taken the lead against Nashville Predators.
“It was an incredible pass. Barré-Bolulet really showed his qualities today”, Wennberg said.
Kraken’s lead stood and after a rough third period in front of the fans at Bridgestone Arena, Kraken defeated Nashville 3–4. Seattle Kraken’s first win in the franchise’s history was a fact.
“It’s big for the franchise”, Wennberg said. “Obviously, it’s so new and to get that first win, I feel like it’s a big accomplishment. I don’t know if we celebrate it any differently. I think it’s just really good for the team and for us as an organization.”
Maybe Wennberg, who also did manage to get an assist during the game, and his teammates won’t be celebrating it any differently, but that winning feeling was a moment Seattle has been waiting for a long time. More than two years has passed since the organization got their first permission to become NHL’s 32nd franchise.
It has happened lots of things in these two and a half years. How do you build an NHL team completely from the ground?
This July, Kraken presented their first squad, drafting players from all around the NHL. Goalscorer Wennberg was not part of that list, but with the likes of Mark Giordano (Calgary), Jordan Eberle (NY Islanders) and Joonas Donskoi (Colorado) Seattle started building a strong squad.
Wennberg was presented by the club one week later, coming from Florida Panthers, and his assist-provider, Barré-Boulet even later on to the start of the season. And it did look sometimes like the new faces hasn’t been playing together for a long period of time. In the third period when the Predators were looking for an equalizer, Kraken had problems.
Wennberg said: “Obviously, there is a new team and there is a lot of things that we need adjust a little bit. But instead of thinking ‘hey, what should we do better’, we just take the win and just enjoy this a team.”
As much as Wennberg’s goal was “hockey, baby”, as hard was it for Kraken in the last period. In those tough times in the last period, Seattle had to dig deep and fight for each other. That is also a big positive to take from the game, according to Wennberg.
“We did the job today. We really wanted to win and sometimes and the end there isn’t always pretty. We want do whatever it takes to win.”
Digging deep for each other shows character and probably that is what’s to come from NHL’s newest franchise. After getting beaten by NHL’s second newest franchise, Las Vegas Golden Knights in the first game of the season, the win against Nashville marks the Kraken’s first, but is it its last?
Wennberg is pretty confident that that is not the case.
The center said: It’s just like ‘Hey, that’s the first one’. Hopefully there’s many more to come and that’s what we’re aiming at”