Oh man, the storylines in this one are riiiiiich.
Start with the homecoming of quite possibly the most popular human this franchise has ever employed, aside from maybe the head coach. Tonight, John Forslund will take an elevator ride up to the fifth floor of PNC Arena, turn left down the hallway, zig-zag around the CanesVision control room, past the table with the popcorn and the Sour Patch Kids and the gummy bears and the refrigerator of canned Pepsi products.
He’s done all this before, countless times. But tonight, he’ll be opening the door to the visitor’s broadcast booth.
It still doesn’t seem right. It isn’t right, in many ways, that this is what it came to, and it remains a sore spot for many (most?) fans — in full disclosure, present company very much included.
It’s unusual, although not unheard of, that a broadcaster is the subject of a scoreboard tribute, but if anyone deserves it, it’s John. Should there be one tonight — and, if I may make myself perfectly clear, if there isn’t one it will be a nearly unforgivable travesty — the roof of the arena might well and truly launch into orbit. And he will deserve every single decibel.
OK, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, onto the lines. Frederik Andersen, who likely would have started tonight’s game, is out with what Rod Brind’Amour calls a minor knock that shouldn’t cost more than a few days. But we’ve heard this before with Rod downplaying a so-called minor injury that ends up ruling a player out for a few weeks, so until Andersen is back on the ice, it looks like it will be Antti Raanta’s ball to carry.
Other than that, things will stay the same as they looked at the end of Friday’s comeback win over the Penguins. That includes the newly-constituted line of Steven Lorentz, Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Seth Jarvis, and if you didn’t feel old already this quote should do the trick:
Kind of funny to hear Steven Lorentz say he's something of the "dad" when he's around Jarvis and Kotkaniemi. Then again, Lorentz is 25. Jarvis is 20 and Kotkaniemi 21. Lorentz says he enjoys seeing Jarvis and KK "be kids and enjoy coming to the rink."— Chip Alexander (@ice_chip) March 6, 2022
Here’s how the Canes will look:
Andrei Svechnikov - Sebastian Aho - Teuvo Teravainen (500th NHL game)
Jordan Martinook - Vincent Trocheck - Martin Necas
Nino Niederreiter - Jordan Staal - Jesper Fast
Steven Lorentz - Jesperi Kotkaniemi - Seth Jarvis
Jaccob Slavin - Ethan Bear
Brady Skjei - Brett Pesce
Ian Cole - Jalen Chatfield
Injuries and Scratches: Derek Stepan (healthy), Frederik Andersen (undisclosed), Brendan Smith (upper body), Tony DeAngelo (IR abdomen)
In addition to Mr. Forslund, two other members of the Seattle Kraken will be visiting their old stomping grounds tonight as members of the visiting squad for the first time.
Neither Morgan Geekie nor Haydn Fleury were roster mainstays in their time in Raleigh, and while Geekie has carved out a role as a bottom-six fixture in Seattle (playing 50 of the Kraken’s 57 games so far), Fleury has been in his now-standard position as the seventh defenseman and occasional fill-in. He’s unlikely to play tonight, and will have the same vantage point as so many times before from the press box on the fifth floor.
The Kraken were boat raced by the suddenly torrid Capitals last night in the District, and this is the second of a five-game road trip that will see them visit eastern Canada as well in the span of just eight days. The Canes have every opportunity to take advantage of a tired and spiraling squad that’s lost eight of their past nine games.
Here’s how the Kraken will line up as they make their inaugural visit to PNC Arena:
Calle Jarnkrok - Jared McCann - Jordan Eberle
Colin Blackwell - Yanni Gourde - Mason Appleton
Jaden Schwartz - Alex Wennberg - Marcus Johansson
Riley Sheahan - Morgan Geekie - Joonas Donskoi
Jamie Oleksiak - Adam Larsson
Mark Giordano - Carson Soucy
Vince Dunn - Jeremy Lauzon
Injuries and Scratches: Will Borgen (healthy), Haydn Fleury (healthy), Ryan Donato (healthy), Brandon Tanev (IR knee surgery), Karson Kuhlman (IR upper body)
Referees: Brad Meier #34, Colin O’Donnell #41
Linesmen: Brad Kovachik #71, Jonny Murray #95