We’ve “experienced” two Barons games this week. Both on the radio, and both polar opposites of each other. Last Sunday, we saw a team get waylaid by a Texas Stars team that sniffed the unsteadiness of both Yann Danis & David LeNeveu who combined to let in 7 goals. The offense was literally non-existent, and the forward lines seemed continually confused. Game two, last night, was a gutsy effort by the Barons against a typically power play good San Antonio Rampage squad. OKC scored early, an abberation compared to last season, and kept San Antonio to a 1 for 7 power play mark. Colten Teubert would score the game winner, but not after another insufferable string of bad penalties that hurt more than helped his team.
Game three is here, and this one marks the first 11-12 game played in downtown Oklahoma City. There are a couple of things to look for tonight, as we usher in the new season.
Two games is two games, but we have learned something about this squad already. I’ll ignore the offense for a few more games since we chose not to score until game two, but the defense is speaking to me. It’s saying, “We are confused, and are prone to shamelessly hurting our squad.” Yes, the merciless penalties have placed the Barons atop the AHL penalty peak, but also for fighting minutes. I won’t bicker too much, but this is a source of mal-content for two reasons. A) It will create a Barons team that will learn to play from behind constantly. B) The Oilers need their defensemen in the minors to learn NOW to be smart, helpful, and poised. Through two games, as a whole, we’ve seen none of these characteristics from any defensive player.
After the muck fest put together by Yann Danis, and then by David LeNeveu, the two will again face the exact team that concocted said muck fest. And don’t think that isn’t in Yann Danis’ noggin – because it is. A good game will instill confidence in both his mind as well as fans, after David LeNeveu played very well yesterday evening.
The promise of a nifty Barons merch shop, concourse music, better on-ice shenanigans, and between periods rigmarole, the off-ice things will be on display as much as the on-ice things. I’m anxious to see what the night holds after the criticism expressed by many over last seasons “trial” year.
Pitlick, Tulupov, Tryvainen, Hartikainen, Cornet – The young guns need to show us their stuff. A good first homestand can give some much needed swagger to a young group of attention grabbers. Pitlick, for one, has the ability to be a huge asset to this team, as well as his parent club. Tryvainen, also has a chance to show us why he’s so nasty (in a good way). Watch these young guys, and a few not listed, they are important moving forward.
Rears In Seats
The bar was set last year for potential attendance when opening night urged 8,000+ out of their cozy confines for a hockey game. Can we do that again on opening night? You bet. However, the Taylor Swift concert, Myriad Garden Redux grand opening, and other various activities, it will be a tough sell. Nonetheless, the world knows Barons hockey now, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a good showing tonight. But really Sunday will give us a more accurate depiction of what attendance might look like.
The powerplay units for Oklahoma City are 1/13 through two games. Given the young firepower this team has, that’s atrocious. They’ll look to gain some momentum as both the 5 on 5 and man advantage lines begin to merge into a harmonious unit.