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Seattle Kraken Refute Report Players Want Dave Hakstol Fired – Hockey Writers –

The building is getting stronger. On Monday, the same day that Seattle Kraken general manager (GM) Ron Francis gave head coach Dave Hakstol his marching orders, unexpected information emerged. ESPN NHL reporter, Emily Kaplan, while discussing this situation in a segment called The Point, revealed that some Kraken players have expressed that they will not want to continue on the list if Hakstol is the head coach. We now know that it did not go down well with the team's GM or the players.

Reported by ESPN

Let's jog our memories of how the hubbub in Seattle started. On Monday afternoon, after Hakstol's firing became public knowledge, Kaplan said this while speaking to ESPN's NHL studio:

“I was told that in the exit meetings with the players that a number of players, and important players, made it clear to the management that 'I don't want to play in this team in the future if Dave Hakstol is the coach. '”

That was quite an information bomb. We wrote on Tuesday that some of the games played below after the club was statistically eliminated from the playoffs proved that. Validate means to prove something or at least support a theory or argument. Evidence, if you will. Strong performance over the last few weeks supports Kaplan's reporting.

Do they confirm it? No, unless Hakstol, Francis, or any of the players agree.

Related: 2 reasons why Kraken fired Dave Hakstol and what's next

It is important to remember something in all of this. In journalism school, one quickly learns that a reporter's reputation is their main calling card. It is a loss of human dignity and there is no reason for any reader, listener, or viewer to pay lip service to his work. There is little reason for potential interviewees to want to talk to them again.

Mistakes can happen, even in news reporting. However, it doesn't fly to voluntarily say such a thing without solid information. So someone, somewhere in or around the organization told Kaplan something that led to that report. Who said it and what did they say? We don't know.

What Ron Francis and the players said

The story is not over yet. On Wednesday (May 1), both Francis and Jordan Eberle were among people in the organization who publicly reacted to what was said on ESPN.

According to Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times, Francis responded:

“The players who are not there have made any kind of decision about the coach – that I can confirm. That's not really what those meetings are…No one sits there asking 'What did you think of the coach?'” (from 'Kraken 'very disappointed' at report that players want Dave Hakstol fired', The Seattle TimesMay 1, 2024)

The Seattle Times article continues with the GM admitting that if the season ends as badly as Seattle did, the players will voice their grievances openly, but no one has shared anything to the extent of refusing to play under Hakstol's direction.

Francis' frustration was echoed by Eberle, one of the leaders in the dressing room. He was interviewed by a radio station, 93.3 KJR.

“I heard that, I was watching the game. I was very disappointed. I think at the end of the year when you have an exit meeting with the coach, an exit meeting with the general manager – and to be honest – the whole goal is to get better. You know, trying to fix things. You, yourself and the group, but no one ever agreed. It's just not the way our team works.”

Jordan Eberle Seattle Kraken
Jordan Eberle, Seattle Kraken (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Who is telling the truth? We may not know. This is not to say that Kaplan is doing a bad job. It could be a situation where the reporter is not well informed. Admittedly, the journalist has to verify their information, therefore, it may not have been up to standard, but it is hard to imagine that they do everything. As of this writing, there has been no follow-up from ESPN about where their information came from.

Reputation means nothing only to journalists. They count for something for GMs and players too. Whether weeks, months, or years down the road it's revealed that the initial report was completely true, it's hard to blame Francis, Eberle, or any other players for separating them from that kind of nonsense (Jared McCann quoted in a Seattle Times article).

There aren't many situations in the NHL like what happened in 2023 in the National Basketball Association. For those who do not know, the current star of the Los Angeles Clippers James Harden, who is still with the Philadelphia 76ers in August 2023, publicly called the owner of this club a liar.

In the middle of all the attention is the former Kraken coach. If Hakstol wants to coach again, this doesn't look good. The facts are that he helped the Philadelphia Flyers make the postseason twice during his tenure with them (2015-16 and 2017-18) and brought Seattle to the second round of the playoffs in 2022-23. He can do a good job. Francis knows this, and so do the players.

They say you can't believe everything you read or hear. In this instance, it is still difficult to know what to believe and what not to believe.

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