The Ice Man Cometh To The Cox Center

Imagine playing 32 games in the ECHL in the early 90’s and racking up 293 penalty minutes. Or how about two seasons later, playing 28 games and earning 237 penalty minutes. Even better, what about back-to-back seasons where you played a combined 40 games, and somehow you accumulated 318 PIM. Such was a snapshot of the pro career of Ron Aubrey. From 1987 to 1999 Aubrey made a career out of being a tough guy — the I’ll-beat-you-senseless variety. This guy had a Thor-hammer fist, a temper that boiled constantly and a love for mixin’ it up. Ironically (or not), he only played 30+ games once during a single season — circa 1991-1992 with the Toledo Storm of the ECHL. He was the player that everyone feared. He was also the one that everyone wanted on their team. My how I miss 90’s minor league hockey.

Living in a CHL hockey town during the 90’s, I knew of Ron Aubrey. He played a total of 24 games as an Oklahoma City Blazer, and he was nothing short of entertaining to watch. For it was a day and a time and a place where goonery was still welcomed. Where guys could make a semi-living swinging their fists with razor blades on their feet. And as I think of some of those CHL brawls, I can’t help but envision the face of Sir Aubrey, punisher of the Midwest.

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Brandon Davidson Becomes Official

Photo courtesy of Steven Christy Photography. All rights reserved.

The Edmonton Oilers finally signed Brandon Davidson to his three year, entry level contract that we all assumed was coming. With the June 1st deadline looming for the 2010 prospects, it was inevitable that it would be done. Here is the official release:

General Manager Steve Tambellini announced today the Edmonton Oilers have agreed to terms with defenceman Brandon Davidson on a three-year entry level contract.

Davidson, 20, played in 69 games last year with the Western Hockey League’s Regina Pats, finishing the season with 49 points (13G, 36A) and 83 penalty minutes.

The 6’1″, 202-pound Lethbridge, Alberta native has collected 134 career points (22G, 112A) with the Pats in 200 games along with 191 penalty minutes.

Davidson, who was the captain of the Pats, also made his professional debut when he appeared in two games last season with the Oklahoma City Barons of the American Hockey League.

The Oilers selected Davidson in the 6th round, 162nd overall, in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

Signing Davidson and leaving out Jeremie Blain suggests that at least one young, current, Barons defender will get a new contract (I’ll go with Alex Plante). And although some favored Blain head-to-head with Davidson, I believe the right choice was made. Brandon is a defensive guy, sure he has some offense gifts, but look for him to be a Teubert style defender. Davidson will hone his craft in OKC in October.

NOTE: You’ll recall he played a single game in OKC last season after completing his 10-11 campaign with the Regina Pats.

Contracts, Coincidence, and Contrast – The Full (Todd) Nelson

Photo courtesy of Steven Christy Photography. All rights reserved.

The easily quotable English author, Douglas Adams, wrote a phrase I use often in life. “I seldom end up where where I wanted to go, but I always ended up where I needed to be,” he poetically lamented. There is a lot of inevitability in life, but rarely is it in the form and fashion with which we presume it will take shape. This happens both personally and professionally.

This week, Jason Gregor interviewed Barons Coach Todd Nelson via his radio show, and asked him about his coaching future. He also posted the quote and commentary at Oilers Nation.

“I expect them to talk to me about the future of the Oklahoma City Barons, but if something else comes up then we’ll talk about that. It’s been so busy here lately for everybody in the organization. Tambi and Kevin have been jet setting everywhere to watch different games, and we just finished up our exit meetings so everybody’s been very busy. I’d like to talk to them about the future of the Oklahoma City Barons and go on from there,” said Nelson.

“I was already an assistant in the NHL. I’ve been there and saw what it was like. Right now I really like my role with this team. I love being a head coach, and if I had the opportunity to be an assistant elsewhere I might entertain it, but it would have to be a pretty decent offer. I’d like to stay here (OKC) as a head coach and eventually try to make it in the NHL as a head coach.”

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Are You Blain Or Are You Davidson?

As the AHL/NHL offseason rolls on with little fanfare for the Oilers organization, there are indeed a couple of things to pay attention to. As the pileup of needed contracts moves to the forefront this summer, it’s worth noting which ones are more immediate than others. Corey Pronman, writer at Hockey Prospectus is a valid source for prospects across many leagues. He has a solid reputation for grading yet-to-be-signed players, and is a weekly read for yours truly. Today he pointed out the June 1st contract deadline for all players drafted in the year 2010 (excluding NCAA or KHL prospects). With that particular deadline only three days away (counting today), it’s time to reflect once more on the whosits and whatsits that fall into that category.

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