Barons Postseason ATO Parade – Mike Marcou

Photo courtesy of Dennis Pause. All rights reserved. Visit his Flickr page for some great photos.

The Athletic Tryout contract that exists in the American League is intended to bring in players that might be considered for future play within the organization, and give valuable ice time to those that are guaranteed that same future. It’s a time, typically in postseason play, where young players are given the opportunity to taste the pro ranks. Players that are finished with their junior or college seasons are eligible for these opportunities (with the latter becoming ineligible for return to the collegiate level). It’s a nice setup, but also one that is strangely awkward for teams that have a familiar core for nearly 80 games a season. Yet the clubs take it in stride and every now and again a diamond in the rough is spotted (Hunter Tremblay, who knew?).

The ATO parade has begun for most teams in the American League, but the Barons seem to be jumping into the fray as well. In a tweet discovered by good friend Scott from OilField Hockey, Mike Marcou, a smallish defenseman from the University of Massachusetts has likely signed an ATO with Oklahoma City.

Marcou is a Kings Park, New York kid that earned a mini camp tryout with the Islanders this past season. In addition to being a UMass defender, Marcou had a USHL career with the Waterloo Blackhawks where he appears to be a hard working, slowly improving defender, that overcomes a bit of a size issue with tons of heart.

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Previewing Playoff Potentiality – The Rampage

The Rampage of San Antonio are one year removed from being a PP juggernaut in the AHL. They are having a down season, but a strong enough one to be included in the postseason conversation in the Western Conference. They also play in a very stout West Division (with Oklahoma City), and thus are a tough team to guage when it comes to future playoff potential. They currently sit 4th in the Western Division which equates to the 8th and final seed in the playoffs were they to start today. We’ve seen a trend of 8th seed Westerners that is not surprising — play well at home, play abysmal on the road. This is not the case with the Rampage. Their home ice record is actually barely above 500 (16-15-0-1) and likely will be below that mark if they don’t make the playoffs. Their away record is significantly better (19-12-3-1). As you’d expect, both PP and PK totals are better on the road as well as overall goal scoring. This makes the Rampage deadly because they likely will play first and second rounds moreso on the road than on home ice near the Alamo.

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The Best Oilers Farm?

Photo courtesy of Rob Ferguson Photography. All rights reserved.

“The farmer has to be an optimist or he wouldn’t still be a farmer.”
– Will Rogers

The Oklahoma City Barons earned four out of a possible six points this weekend in a three games in three days home stand with the playoffs in full and glorious view. The Barons, for the second straight season, will make the playoffs. They’ll also look to make some history as an Oilers farm team, and quite possibly in a shortened season.

The 2002-2003 Hamilton Bulldogs are the only Oilers affiliated farm team to have nabbed over 100 standings points in the regular season. That team did have the advantage of being dual affiliated with the Habs, and thus featured the talents of some players you may have heard of – Michael Ryder, Tomas Plekanec, Marc Andre Bergeron, Marcel Hossa, Fernando Pisani, Mike Komisarek, Francois Beauchemin, Raffi Torres, and Mike Ribeiro to name a few. That squad eventually would lose in the Finals of the AHL Playoffs but they were a dominate team from beginning to end.

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Previewing Playoff Potentiality – The Americans

The nightly rotation of eighth seeds in the Western Conference continues. Today we find the Americans in that final spot with close to ten games remaining this season. Hovering around that same spot is Lake Erie and San Antonio. With two games in hand for both San Antonio and Rochester, the spot is anything but tied down. If the playoffs began today and the Americans met the Barons in the first round, we’d find a very interesting matchup. One that just might favor the team with the higher seed for the benefit of home ice advantage.

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Barons Playoff Ticket Suggestions

Photo courtesy of Rob Ferguson Photography. All rights reserved.

Many AHL organizations eyeballing a Calder Cup Playoff run have released first and second round ticketing options. For most teams this included a base rate for season ticket holders and another set of rates for box office purchases. In almost every circumstance there is a $2 increase from the first round to the second round. The Rochester Americans, for one, have added a nice “package” wrinkle to the purchasing of playoff tickets. The first and second rounds can be purchased in a combined package.

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The Wave of Roy & The Beginnings of Bunz

Photo courtesy of Steven Christy Photography. All rights reserved.

It seems that the goaltending situation for the Oilers is nearing a sunny disposition. After bad contracts and failed expectations, the Edmonton net minders of the future are both signed, sealed, and soon to be delivered.

It began with Olivier Roy who inked a three year entry level deal nearly a year ago. He found himself in Stockton of the ECHL where he’s now posted a top ten showing for goaltenders in that league. His recent call-to Oklahoma City was solid, and his play seems to be steadily on par with where the organization would like it to be.

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San Antonio Is For Pre Seasoning

Photo courtesy of Stu Seeger. All rights reserved.

Announced yesterday, the San Antonio Rampage will play host to a preseason game between the Florida Panthers and the Dallas Stars. The game will be played Friday night, September 28th at the AT&T Center in San Antonio. It will be the third time an NHL preseason game has been played in San Antonio, but the first played in the ten year old AT&T Center. Tickets will only be $15.

From the release:

“This is a great opportunity to showcase the NHL talent from our affiliate the Florida Panthers and from Texas’ NHL team, the Dallas Stars,” said Spurs Sports and Entertainment President Rick Pych. “Spurs Sports and Entertainment is dedicated to providing the highest caliber sports and entertainment to the San Antonio community and this NHL game will feature some of the best hockey players in the world. For years the Rampage have been developing talented players right here in San Antonio that have gone on to achieve great success in the NHL. This game will exhibit exactly what the Rampage and the American Hockey League is all about, which is seeing the same players who you once saw in San Antonio and other AHL cities now playing at the highest level on teams like the Panthers and Stars.”

This is fantastic on the part of both the AHL and NHL as well as the two affiliates. Pitting a Texas team against the Rampage affiliate is a double-whammy of excitement for fans. It’s also an interesting wrinkle to the on-going discussion of how AHL and NHL counterparts can work together to promote the game well beyond the boundaries of any particular city.

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Previewing Playoff Potentiality – The Monsters

Nightly the playoff seeds change. Nightly I get a little precocious in my hopes that the Barons get a good matchup in the first round of the Calder Cup playoffs. Ironically, last season it was the Barons that were clinging to a final playoff spot during the month of March. With the uneven divisions, the Barons narrowly made the postseason, and played as admirably as any 8th/9th seeded team could have hoped to do. But the tables have turned. The Barons are on top and dreaming of whom that 8th seeded team just might be.

Today we look at the Lake Erie Monsters. Affiliated with the Colorado Avalanche they are (pun intended) eerily similar to their parent club. They don’t have dominate scoring on any forward line, but can unleash chunks of offensive erratically. They play a defensive style of hockey as a result, and can muck it up with the best of them.

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Don’t Be The One That Pronounces It Wrong

The day has come. The time is right. The call has been made. Olivier Roy gets his first start in net as an Oklahoma City Baron. There might be a chance (a big one) that someone butchers his name. Oliver Roy (Twist & Rogers pronunciations aside) please don’t be the one that does it. So please pass the sentiment along because friends don’t let friends mispronounce hockey players names.

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Previewing Playoff Potentiality – The Heat

Arguably the most interesting playoff series of the Western first round would be Abbotsford vs. Oklahoma City in a five game grudge match. Simply put, these teams matchup well at times, but the firepower of the Barons offense is too much to swallow for Heat goaltenders. But even more than the player-by-player matchup is the Heat-Flames and Barons-Oilers affiliations that have deemed this rivalry the “Baby Battle of Alberta”. Although it’s not been a stout competition nor anything resembling a persnikity rivalry, the games are fun to watch. Owning a 9-3-0-0 record against Abbotsford over the last two seasons, there is reason to believe that the Barons might soar through a first rounder with the Heat. Even more cretankerous for the Heat is their inability to dismantle the Barons in Abbotsford. So much so that the Heat haven’t beaten the Barons in Western Canada in six attempts. That’s painful.

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