Theo Peckham Reportedly Leaving OKC, Heading To Edmonton

AHL Hockey: Feb 08 Barons vs Griffins
Photo courtesy of Steven Christy.

Huge thanks to Barons Diehards (and Bob in particular) for keeping their eyes peeled for signs of movement to and from Edmonton. Today, a Barons fan spotted Theo Peckham, bags in tow, at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City. It appears that Theo’s conditioning stint has come and gone and he’s heading to the Great Way North.

Peckham’s time in Oklahoma City was interesting, to say the least. For every one thing he did right, he seemingly did another at the complete opposite end of the spectrum. He’d make a great heads-up defensive play across his own blue-line, and then 30 seconds later, he’d make a pass to the feet of a forward, thus turning the puck over. Or he’d make a conscious effort to move his feet well, and then destroy a player on the boards with a mostly legal, but stupid hit putting his team back on the kill. However, the good news for Peckham is that he indeed seems fully healthy. No sign of any nagging injury or continued issues to be concerned about.

He was nothing but cordial with the fans, and his time here in OKC was entertaining (and maybe a little hammy)

Here’s hoping the best for Theo.

Stars Shutout Barons On Saturday Night (U-G-L-Y)

Oh Barons. You show us just enough to keep us happy, put a smile on our face, cover it with duct tape and then rip it off very very slowly. And on Saturday night, the Barons were shutout by the far superior Texas Stars in an ugly game (for the visitors) from start to finish. The final score of 4-0 likely doesn’t tell the whole story, but for those that watched/listened to the game it tells enough.

In the first period, the Stars would score twice. Once at even strength courtesy of a heavy Jamie Oleksiak point shot tipped in by Bretton Cameron, and then a power play goal following a closing the hand on the puck penalty by Theo Peckahm. Both teams would cover each other with penalties while creating back and forth man advantages/disadvantages and four on fours. It was a mess of a period for OKC. From Toni Rajala’s defensive awareness breaking down on the first goal to Brett Clark having positional issues on the penalty kill – it wasn’t the start the Barons wanted, and starting Barons goaltender, Niko Hovinen, showed there is still some rust in his game as he let in both goals in only eight shots. Woof.

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Craig MacTavish In Texas Doing Some Barons Watching

Spotted today inside the Cedar Park Center, home of the Texas Stars, was Oilers Vice President of Hockey Operations, Craig MacTavish. When he’s around, you pay attention. To make things more curious, he, alongside Barons GM Bill Scott and head coach Todd Nelson, watched practice from the comfy Cedar Park seats. Following a discussion between the three men, Scott was seen on the phone for a very long time.

First, it’s rare that those three sit together to watch a practice, on the road, in the minors. When the suits are around, you typically get newsworthy things coming down the pipe very soon.

Second, speculation on this matter, at this point, is just silly chatter, but there are some interesting tidbits occurring this weekend with the Oklahoma City Barons.

Niko Hovinen started on back-to-back nights. The going thought was that he, and usual #1 Yann Danis, would split the weekend. They didn’t, and Hovinen was good on Friday, kinda wanky on Saturday.

Another guy who’s sat out quite a bit lately (four straight games) is Alex Plante. For some time now, fans have been suggesting that he’s being bundled in a deal that has NHL implications. Nothing concrete to make this actual fact, just a piece of casual wonderment.

Could something be in the works? Does Bob Stauffer’s careful mention of the St. Louis Blues having eyeballs at Rexall tonight suggest there’s a connection between the two? Yes to the first question. Perhaps to the second.

Barons Lose A Wild One To The Stars In a 4-3 Shootout

The Barons, coming off three straight wins, set their eyes towards the south and a date with the league-leading Texas Stars on Friday night. With both teams realizing that points are necessary and a hot commodity down the stretch, a heated exchange was likely. And indeed, Friday night was round one of this South Division rivalry, and it was a wild one. The Texas Stars would ultimately put away the Oklahoma City Barons in ten rounds of a shootout after overcoming a 3-1 deficit.

The first period began with some great stops by Barons goaltender Niko Hovinen, who hasn’t faced a barrage of shots this season to the degree that he did in this opening frame. And that was an encouraging sight to behold. When the dust settled on the first period, Hovinen would stop seventeen of eighteen shots, with the only goal of the period coming late via a Texas Stars power play goal by left winger Mike Hedden. Despite two power play opportunities for the Barons, they’d only muster six shots the entire period, and close out the first twenty minutes with a 1-0 deficit.

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Workin’ For The Weekend: Twice The Stars “Just Can’t Get Enough”

Depeche Mode
Fast Fashion or as you know them, Depeche Mode

Label them alterna-dance or snyth-pop or elctro-new-wave – just don’t call them unimportant. The band Depeche Mode has been cranking out electro music since 1977. The band, from Essex, was one of the most heralded bands of the 80’s with a ground breaking sound for pop music at the time. If you’re able to sell 100 million records worldwide, and have 40+ singles to your credit, you’ve done something right.

In the early days of the band, they were still finding their legs musically. That is until they discovered synthesizers. It not only changed the landscape of electronic music forever, it created a ground breaking sound that would become synonomous with the Depeche Mode. Modern bands like Coldplay, The Killers, The Bravery, Fear Factory, The Crystal Method, and Shakira all claim that their body of work was inspired by albums from these Brits. And that’s saying something.

Their second single, and arguably their most recognizable, Just Can’t Get Enough is a clever bubbly tune written by founding member, Vince Clarke, who’d leave the band the following year. It’s a nice intro into all things Depeche Mode because it’s easy to digest, but still interesting enough to keep bringing you back. While not my favorite song of theirs, it certainly stands as a fine pillar in early electronic music.

This is a dance track at its most exciting. The lyrics simply deal with a white hot love romance where there is “burning love”, and “rainbows”, and “slip and slide” moments. If you don’t want to break into a quick dance party for one when listening to this, you won’t ever feel compelled to do so. (I’m doing it right now, won’t you join me).

So I turn this track into an unber-celebratory moment for the team I follow in the AHL. The Oklahoma City Barons are really driving through some great play of late. Back-to-back games where they overcame goal deficits to roar back to life, make me anxious to see this team meld into a winning group once again. Like any good fan, in any city, in any market, where your team has proved some really good things lately, “I Just Can’t Get Enough”.

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OKC Welcomes PDL Soccer, Former Blazer CEO Involved

Announced today, Oklahoma City has been named the latest addition to the 65 team Premier Development League which is a “toe-dipping” league for soccer athletes who are able to maintain their amateur status while also being able to play in a professional sports environment.

I’ll not dive into the details of it other than the season is short. Fourteen games, beginning in May of this year, the team will play on the campus of Oklahoma City University at Stars Field.

This story takes an even more interesting turn (and pertinent to this blog) as Brand Lund, former Chief Executive Officer of Express Sports and thus the Oklahoma City Blazers, is a managing partner. His status with Sold Out Strategies, which does work in various pro leagues and events, dictates that he might not have a huge part to play in this move other than attaching his name. But this is new territory for Oklahoma City, and it’s a nice wrinkle to the growing landscape of sports in the metro area.

The quotes around this announcement coupled with Brand Lund’s existence in the situation is simply fascinating.

“Oklahoma City has traditionally supported its minor and major league sports franchises like no other city in the country,” Oklahoma City FC managing partner DeBray Ayala said. “PDL will be the highest level of soccer played on a regular basis in the metro area in more than 15 years.”

Keep in mind that this is a shortened season at the beginning of summer. It in no way encroaches on the space already maintained by NBA, NCAA, and AHL play. But with the Oklahoma City hanging low on the fruit tree in terms of attendance, this statement feels like a five year old press release.

Lund had success in Oklahoma City before, but remember that he left abruptly and was forced to settle with his Express Sports companions. With Prodigal (Barons owner/operator) passing on the Oklahoma City Redhawks (now owned by outsiders, Mandalay), and throwing all their eggs into mainly AHL hockey and bull riding, did they pass on this as well? Would have fit nicely in their already eclectic collection of sporting endeavors.

Squeezing In Darcy Hordichuk – Where Does He Fit As A Baron?

Hordichuk Shot
Photo courtesy of Flickr.

Darcy Hordichuk will play this coming weekend for the Oklahoma City Barons. It’s the first time he’s laced ’em up for a minor league game since Bush tax “cuts” and SARS were in the headlines. And for Darcy, it will be a bit of a church social moment in his career. Where does his loyalty lie in the face of being demoted, possibly chastised? That’s a question that he himself has the answer to, and can only give a clear one by playing as well as he possibly can.

So that brings us to fitting this square peg into a round hole. Where does the “Chuk” fit into the current Barons lineup where he makes the team better while not causing too many speed bumps along the way. Let’s discuss.

To understand the situation a bit better, I think we could look at the February 2011 AHL placement of Zack Stortini. He was a player of the similar make up of Hordichuk. Nasty at times, loved by some, poo poo’d by even more, and ultimately understanding of his current state of play. He was disappointed, took it in stride, and actually made the Barons team better. “It’s been one of the harder things I’ve had to do in my career, but I’ve had tremendous support from the guys in the locker room there and my family and friends, and there are great people here that are supportive,” he told the Daily Oklahoman after his first week of play. A bruised ego can quickly be rebuilt, if not for one reason and one reason alone – respect.

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Olivier Roy & Brandon Davidson Sent To Stockton

Hovinen Readying
Niko Hovinen stays in OKC. Photo by Steven Christy.

Minutes are one of the most valuable things to a hockey prospect. The proper examination of a player is done through consistent repetition. How they fare in those minutes is key, but you have to get them to use them. The Barons have made a couple of moves that accomplish this goal. Announced today, the team has sent goaltender Olivier Roy and defenseman Brandon Davidson to the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL.

Both seem like pertinent reactions to a very thick AHL roster. Three goaltenders, Danis, Hovinen, and Roy, seems like a lot. And indeed it is. My grand conspiracy theory dictates that three were necessary because Khabibulin was considering retirement and/or not being entirely forthright about his injury status. I’ll still lay claim to that notion for a bit. In the meantime, sending young Roy to Stockton opens up more playing options. The Thunder play three-in-three, and likely ice three goaltenders of their own including Tyler Bunz. It’s a good move for each one of these netminders assuming the plan unfolds as I’ve mentioned above.

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