November is now here. And there is a lot to mumble about in the world of Barons hockey. I’m not a pessimistic person, and if I were, these mumbles would be more frequent and more seething. Instead I’m an optimistic thinker to a fault. I bring this to your attention for one reason, and one reason only – I wholeheartedly believe the Oklahoma City Barons are the best offensive team in the American Hockey League. See what I did there? Not the best team, but the best offensive team. And those two things are very different.
The Barons are now a team with a healthy knack for scoring points. There is no denying this. The problem is that the rest of the team is much farther south of them, that it’s an incomplete equation for winning. And here’s what I mean.
The Offense + The Defense x Execution = Winning
There are nights where the Barons have great offense, score a bunch of goals, look amazing, but lack the defensive stoutness to win impressively. We’ve yet to see the opposite, where the defense is so good that it negates the offensive bailout. But keep in mind the “X” factor in this equation, and that’s execution. The equation for execution is as such.
Gameplan + Preparedness + Health x Hardwork = Execution
Gameplan, preparedness, health, hardwork are all the recipe of successful execution. And this is where the American Hockey League becomes so so important. It’s a league of young men and old men. And despite their various ages, they all have one goal in mind and that’s to get better. Whether the prize is an NHL spot or simply to have a strong career, the goal is always the same — to get better. But what happens when your team is really good at the top end, and really prospecty at the bottom? You have a team that’s barely over .500 through ten games when they were expected to be infinitely better. The expanse between Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Ryan Martindale is so vast that the game time peripheral is thrown out of wack. Do I believe that the top half should be closer to the bottom half? Certainly closer, not the same. Things like speed and overall skill are much greater at the top, and subsequently lesser at the bottom. Imagine a hefty kid on one end of the see saw, and a thin and sleek one at the other – the weighty kid holds back the slight of build one. Rocking isn’t much fun.
I hate math. I hate equations. And I hate losing. But I think there is a correlation to a balanced team. The Barons don’t seem to be balanced. They aren’t balanced offense for defense nor are they balanced in terms of raw talent and works in progress. Just too much to overcome. Can it be fixed, yes. But it requires the fat kids to lose some, well, fat.