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The NHL's opening night has come and gone, but not a game was played. And even worse, the chances of this season playing out at all are looking slimmer and slimmer with every single passing day. Reports out of New York still have the two sides oceans apart with neither side willing to vend even slightly, and at a stalemate waiting for the other to come to the table with an offer. Ultimately, it is we the fans who lose. Again.
At least there is still hockey in Edmonton, and even in Oklahoma City. The Barons have their opening weekend this weekend, Well, at least it's hockey, even if it is only pre-season. And at least the jerseys will look very familiar as the Baron's new third jersey is very much like the Oilers home blue and orange jersey. This will be a sharp looking team.
The Barons are looking to build upon the successes of last season, and with the talent of Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Justin Schultz the Barons will be the team to beat. But all that talent wasn't able to get the Barons an opening night win as the team fell 2-1 on the road to the Lake Erie Monsters. The Barons lone goal was scored by Mark Arcobello, with Oilers turned Barons Magnus Paajarvi and Justin Schultz getting the assists.
Last season's AHL goaltender of the year Yann Danis is once again back in OKC, hoping to defend his title. And backing him up, Olivier Roy. That means that Tyler Bunz will be starting nearly every night in Stockton for the Thunder.
You have to think that this could be an indication of which goaltender the Oilers feel a little better about. While the quality of competition in the AHL will be higher than in the ECHL, there is no way that Roy will be seeing nearly as many starts as Bunz. By seeing fewer starts and getting less ice time, it would be difficult to say that Roy would easily be the Barons' starter next season. But, life is full of surprises and this assessment could be completely off.
The Oil Kings have continued to see wins and losses, but of course are hoping for more of the former. If players continue to set modern franchise records however, that just might happen. On Sunday afternoon TJ Foster scored 4 goals in the Oil Kings 6-5 shootout loss to the Calgary Hitmen. The Oil Kings got back in the win column on Wednesday before dropping another game to Calgary at home Friday night, this time in a shootout. The Oil Kings are currently tied with Calgary at the top of the WHL eastern conference.
If you live in Edmonton and need a hockey fix, the Oil Kings have three home games next week, as the Oilers would have been on a road trip but...
Don't expect big NHL news this weekend, the bleakest reports are indicating this lockout could stretch on further than this season.