It was bound to happen. Blondie would get some love on this site dedicated to 80’s themed game previews. What began as an outfit of punk rock glossiness, eventually moved to a pop/rock sound with a very iconic frontwoman in Deborah Harry. Her bleached hair, her sensational anti-type poise, and her wicked vocal range made her the face of anti, but established punk/pop/rock/new wave for a better part of the late 70’s and early 80’s.
Playing at CBGB regularly, the band hit its full stride with the 1977 classic, Parallel Lines. On that album were “Heart Of Glass”, “Sunday Girl”, “Hanging On The Telephone”, and of course, “One Way Or Another”.
That final track, which actually appeared on side one, was sandwiched between “Telephone” and “Picture This” – a fantastic threesome. The almost punch beginning, the driving rock anthem, followed by a slower torch moment – it’s a fabulous opening to an album.
“One Way Or Another” is simplistic in nature both lyrically and musically. But the heart of the song is disturbing. For three fourths of the song it’s a lustful moment for the main character. “I’m gonna find ya”, “I’m gonna see ya”, “I’m gonna win ya”, “I’m gonna get ya”, all evoke a creepy longing. But by the time the third verse swells you realize that this has reached stalker tendencies. That perhaps the one doing the seeking is also trying to avoid the seeking. A game of cat and mouse that likely mimics the songwriter, Harry herself, and the painfully awkward relationships she endured, but also sought out. But the sentiment remains simple.
Tonight the Toronto Marlies and Oklahoma City Barons face off for only the second time this season after a West Final showdown almost a year ago in the Calder Cup playoffs. There likely isn’t much bad blood between the two, and part of that is a result of unfamiliarity – they just don’t play often. However, the greatest rivalries can exist in such a vacuum as this, and the lone meeting between these two earlier in the season was heated. Dallas Eakins was eventually tossed, but not before Jordan Eberle snatched four assists, Nugent-Hopkins had two goals and an assist, and Taylor Hall added a goal and assist. The heated battle eventually ended in a Marlies OT victory when Jake Gardiner beat Yann Danis (in relief of Olivier Roy) to end things 6-5, Toronto. I’m exhausted just recalling that game which was played in front of school children at the Barons “Day Game”.
So the feeling is that these two teams meet at a completely different portion of the season where their rosters look vastly different than they did the first go-round. With Toronto near the top of the playoff race, and OKC further down, the feeling becomes, “One way or another, I’m gonna get ya, get ya, get ya, get ya”, because both teams need a win for completely different, but paralleled reasons. The playoffs are coming.
Losing the last two games to the lowly and officially postseason in-eligible Abbotsford Heat is un-characteristic of the Toronto Marlies, and their stellar coaching staff. But as we’ve seen in Texas, whom this Toronto team is directly behind in the standings, you can lose to anyone on a given night regardless of your current league placement (losing to Hamilton and OKC recently, but tearing others to pieces otherwise).
Similar styles in defense, goaltending, and offense, the thought of a late season Marlies/Barons game is exciting, particularly because there’s a chance these two face off in the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs. Can we say drama?
89 points is good enough, currently, for Toronto to be second in the West. But they’ve bee bopped through the last ten only winning five in regulation. This has them straddling the fence of that second spot and perhaps a bit lower if they don’t stretch the lead soon. Thus making a regulation win of the utmost importance this evening against OKC.
Ryan Hamilton, with 30 goals, is the only top 20 player in any offensive statistical category including assists, PP goals, PP assists, game winning goals, short handed goals, and first goals. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s actually the opposite. This Marlies squad is well-rounded, and absent from much “dipping” despite missing some key ingredients at moments throughout the season.
This occurs because of guys like Mike Zigomanis, Greg Scott, Jerry D’Amigo, and rookie Spencer Abbott who face adversity very well, and are prone to be thorns in the side of teams, not excluding the Barons.
Defensively the team is stacked, and that’s noticeable by the 190 goals they’ve allowed this season, which is among the best in the Western Conference. Korbinian Holzer is +12, Paul Ranger is +16, and Kevin Marshall is a +17 (spread across two teams; played majority of the season in Hershey). Those numbers are pretty epic for AHL defenders in a conference where goal scoring reigns. They are tough, sturdy, confident, and well-traveled.
For Oklahoma City, they lose Anton Lander and Teemu Hartikainen to the Oilers. And the going message from the NHL club is that both will play immediately. Given their importance to the Barons of late, this does present an issue, but one the team can overcome. Jonathan Cheechoo and his first line cannot disappear. Likewise, Toni Rajala will be called upon to do more which he is fully capable of doing. However, this is one game where Yann Danis will need to be flawless, and the young defenders will need to be rock solid. Garrett Stafford, playing well lately, will need to set a bit of a tone among the Fedun’s, Marincin’s, and Davidson’s of the world who are good when good, bad when bad. The inexperience of hostile circumstances has made them cautious at times. That can’t happen against a good quality team like Toronto.
The game begins at 6pm CT for those wanting to tune in. It should be a barn burner of the greatest degree. Enjoy and GO BARONS!