Oklahoma City Barons Early Season Reviews

Photo by Candace Riley © 2011

It's not a surprise that the Oklahoma City Barons are receiving more coverage through the Baronosphere than they are in the mainstream media; that's been the case since the team was conceived and namedArtful Puck, A New Ice Age, Oilers Jambalaya, OKC Hockey, and of course our own coverage is out in front of any mainstream coverage of the team, even if the team has yet to recognize that.  Our man on the scene, Neal Livingston, maintains a second basement at his mom's house where he talks about the Barons from time to time and he just published his early season take on the entire roster.

 

The Barons Best Through Six Games - Neal Livingston
Below you’ll find my personal ranking of the Barons positionally through six games. Keep in mind my criteria for the "best" positionally might differ from the stat sheet, although that weighs heavily in the process. Rather, I look for several factors that sweep across each category. Besides points and plus/minus I favor what my eyeballs see the majority of the time. So let the ribbon ceremony begin as I uncover the best of the Barons through six games.

What jumps out at me is Neal's defensive rankings.  Number one is personal favorite Jeff Petry, and Neal's description of his early-season play does nothing to diminish our opinion of the young defender:

The gap between Jeff Petry, who’s NHL ready, and Alex Plante, who has me thinking Cam Abney might be a better Baron at this point, is monumental. Petry heads down after starting the season in Edmonton, enters an already steady lineup, and immediately makes a difference. Mainly in his puck handling and distributions, Petry is a man among boys at this point (Helmer excluded). What can I say about him other than this; the longer he stays on the farm the more he peaks the interest of teams needing defensive puck movers (excluding Edmonton).

Trading Jeff Petry at this point would infuriate me.  Read the rest of Neal's article to get his early take on the Barons and who he's ranked at the bottom of the defensive depth chart.

Around the league

Surprising Season Starts - Arctic Ice Hockey
Sleeper pick-up Sheldon Souray is one reason and he must be making Oilers fans and management twitch with anger given the sad state of their D. 1G 4A and with a +6 he is leading the Stars. If you don't know Sheldon's drama in Edmonton, count yourself blessed because it was ugly and on the front pages. The man is clearly on a mission this season to prove something.

Stacy's Mom has a kid playing with the Spokane Chiefs - Spokesman.com
According to Stewart, his dad is a soccer guy and his mom is a rugby fan. That would be rock music icon Rod Stewart, who is from England, and supermodel Rachel Hunter, who is from New Zealand. They divorced in 2006. "I’m privileged to have parents like that," their son said. "I’ve traveled the world, (but) I never thought of myself different than anyone in the room. I’ve never been too cocky about it, or talked about it."

Shot Distance Allowed as a Team Talent - Arctic Ice Hockey
Long-time readers know what that means: shot distance - and by extension, long-run shot quality allowed - accounts for 5% of save percentage. Worst-case, I suppose it could be 10%, but it's very small.

Sunday Conversation: What's next? - The Cannon
Other teams seem so patient with and without the puck, and the Jackets always look like they're just waiting to react to the play, or scrambling to recover from the previous play. Are they thinking too much or not enough? Does a trade need to occur to shake things up, or do you believe this group of players can still be good enough to get through this? Playoffs or not, you can't have a group of guys that won't fight for each other, and this team has certainly lost its way. Did they ever have a way?

David Booth becomes a salary dump - Shutdown Line
Tallon will only save about $3 mil by dumping Booth's contract and it will probably end up being a net loss for him when you factor in him trading for Brian Campbell's ludicrous contract and signing Ed Jovanovski for 4 years at $4.125 per year. A cap hit and salary he will have to pay even if Jovanovski retires before the end of it. If Tallon was so concerned with freeing up roster space and saving money then why the hell did he give four long-term contracts to players who are all inferior to Booth?

UAH topples the Hockey Capital of the South - MotleySu
The Chargers may have seemed an anomaly, but they drew attention from the likes of Sports Illustrated and NBC Nightly News, who sent feature reporter Bob Dotson down to investigate "this little southern hockey team" after the Chargers soundly defeated Providence College - on Providence's home ice, no less.

Five Reasonable Discussions with Don Cherry - A Theory of Ice
Because tonight, I finally figured out the secret: you have to close your eyes. If you close your eyes, he loses his power over you, and you can hear the substance of his ideas.

Dallas Stars Sale & Tom Gaglardi: What Changes Can We Expect? - Defending Big D
The NHL has confirmed there were no other bids on the Dallas Stars. Tom Gaglardi will be the new owner of this hockey team.

Oilers-Related Items

So About Those Penalties…
So when the Capitals were whistled for NINE penalties in two periods of play (four in the first, five in the second), it kinda went with the theme of the evening. One of those penalties, a Troy Brouwer hook, led to Edmonton’s game-winning goal. Goodbye, 82-0 season. Haha.

Recap: Oilers 2, Capitals 1 - Japers' Rink
The last time John Carlson shared the ice with Taylor Hall he was busy shutting down the future prodigy and dashing the dreams of a nation. Well, tonight Hall had the goal and the victory, but when the game was at evens Carlson repeated his shutdown performance. And something tells me Carlson wouldn't trade the victories for anything.

Islanders Bits: Is Steve Staios Working Out So Far? - Lighthouse Hockey
That's what makes the addition of Steve Staios interesting: he's had a rough couple of years (that's putting it kindly; he was a training camp tryout this summer) but he has a good hockey brain and he's been an important defenseman in the past. Can pairing him with Mark Streit work? My guess in camp was that it could, but that his body at this age is a risk if subjected to that role for 82 games.

The Hockey Symposium - Consistency and Fairness
The problem comes if and when you handle different players differently, because I'm sure players want to feel the organization is being fair, and not playing favorites. If you are looking more towards development than you are to wins, is there just as good an argument for demoting Lander and Paajarvi as there is for Petry? Could both of those players see their long term development assisted by first line PP and PK minutes at the AHL level?

Tom Renney’s Plan – At Home At Least - Edmonton Journal
This is the conundrum of the ‘Kid Line’ – they’ve done a great job of taking advantage of offensive situations, but somebody needs to take the defensive minutes so that they can be put in those offensive situations. That job falls to the Horcoff line; it’s a natural role for both the Oilers’ captain and line-mate Ryan Smyth, while Ryan Jones has looked surprisingly good on the wing.

 

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