The Barons & Oilers Unintentional PR Stunt

Photo courtesy of Steven Christy Photography. All rights reserved.

I’m not necessarily one to give too much credence to NHL general managers when it comes to good publicity. However, the unintentional PR stunt that is going down right this very moment amongst Barons/Oilers players is quite satisfying.

It begins with the move of Colten Teubert to the now road warrior Edmonton Oilers. The kid was drafted from Regina in 2008 by the Los Angeles Kings, but never saw full-time pro action until last season. The 39 games he spent on the farm as a part of the Manchester Monarchs was not too shabby. 58 PIM, 2 goals, 5 assists isn’t all that bad for a rookie prospect. However, when he was tangled up in the Dustin Penner trade, Oilers fans were left wondering just how significant this player was going to be. And as the defensive depth didn’t improve all that greatly in the draft nor the off-season, Teubert needed to be good…or else.

Teubert, getting his first call-up to the NHL, has to be ecstatic. He proved himself worthy over 20 games with the Barons last season, and nearly 10 this season. And by proved himself worthy, I mean that he looked better than Alex Plante. And that’s saying something, because less than a few days ago Plante got the call up treatment as well. What’s interesting about the Teubert call up is the sudden stickin’ it to the man moment he might be feeling as his call up places him back in LA, but this time in the copper & blue (or orange & white as we’ve been told). Whether he has payback in mind is up for debate, but the “sell” of this game is really quite tasty. Recently drafted kid plays his first NHL game against the team that drafted him. Nice.

Let’s move on to Sir Linus. Linus Omark, after sitting a bulk of games, is sent downward to the Barons. But let’s tap the danglers brakes a tad. He isn’t going that far south, as a matter of fact he’ll most likely play in back-to-back games in Abbotsford (farm team for the Calgary Flames) which is the closest playing spot that the Barons will ever come to Edmonton. Ponder that for a moment. The much maligned or magnified, depending on where you fall in the Omark debate, player gets his first demotion from the NHL and he plays a Canadian team? The other wrinkle to this puggle is that Omark could indeed play against a Marlies team on November 8th, one year and one day removed from his 5 goals plus 1 in the shootout eye grabber that probably earned him the NHL roster spot in the first place. Although the Marlies have changed quite a bit, the story line is dressing room marker board worthy.

For both Teubert & Omark, the key is outlook. The defenseman will need to make the most of his moment, stay focused, and earn the respect of fans who seemingly are desperate for a bright spot on defense in Oil Country. Whether he’s called upon to be tough, shoot the puck, or mix it up (oh, please no!) his time is now. Embrace it big fella. On the other hand, Omark will need to work his proven magic in Oklahoma City where he had so much success a year ago. He’ll be cranky, cantankerousness, and smug, but that’s what makes him great. He can hate Oklahoma City for what it represents (a demotion), but his play will need to speak for itself if he plans on remaining an Oiler. And even that’s not a given (CBJ or bust!).

Do we give credit for the unintentional PR stunt cooked up by the Barons? I don’t. I think the managerial team just played the ponies & temporarily broke the bank. And that’s fine with me.