Workin’ For The Weekend (Holiday Edition): Stars at Barons “2000 Miles”

How many videos in the 1980’s featured a lovely lead vocalist standing on a street corner, dressed as a Salvation Army representative, receiving donations amid a snowy scene? The correct answer would be one.

In 1983, the Pretenders released the single “Middle of the Road” which was an instant hit. On the B-side was the droopy eyed track, “2000 Miles”. The accompanied video screamed “Merry Christmas, I’m So Alone”, but in the end it is a wonderful track with a holiday flare and an ominous background.

Penned in honor of Pretenders guitarist, James Honeyman-Scott, who died the year before from heart failure brought on by cocaine intolerance. His life long struggle with drugs ended his life, and the Pretenders were cautiously aware of the pitfalls that surrounded other band members as well. His death brought on a bit of a change in the life of a few of them, and that makes “2000 Miles” much more than a Christmas tune. It is about a desire to do better, be better, and become fully important to the world.

Back to the Christmasing.

I love this song. It is great year round, but I find myself enjoying it more at Christmas time. The sequential guitar intro that is woven throughout the verses, and sing songy non-chorus, is absolute Pretenderish goodness. I’ll always love the simplicity that the Pretenders brought to the indie-pop genre long before such things were cool. Joan Jett, and a few other band leaders dominated the 80’s because they were just so good at perfecting their craft. You din’t care if they were male or female because they were so good.

“2000 Miles” is indeed a tragic song of travel, longing, and heartbreak, but it sure is a classic romp. It has a sonic glitz that fits well into the holiday genre, but the rock tendency of the band exudes from every downbeat. He’s gone, the snow is falling, it gets colder day by day, I miss you, he’ll be back at Christmas time – WONDERFUL!

It’s Christmas time once again, which means that the yule log is selected, the nog is extra thick (and spicy), and the Grinch tee comes out of 11 month retirement. Yes, it’s that time of year again, and for hockey fans we have a tendency to give our 20+ games played reviews, call a spade a spade, and pray for some hope of betterment. The truth is, however, that the long standing tradition of “playing well after Christmas” is common in Oklahoma City, and with the Barons. They just can’t help themselves. They love a good finish.

With the end of the season feeling like 2000 miles away, can you hear people singing? Is there hope? Is there a chance to be back in the loving arms of the Western Conference? Always.

The 11-8-2-2 Texas Stars square off tonight against the 9-10-03 Oklahoma City Barons in Bricktown. The four year series severely favors the Barons, but this season is quite different. 1-2-0-0 is the mark for OKC, but the Stars are the far superior team, there is no doubt.

Good in net (Nilstorp), offensively gifted (Morin in Dallas, but still Sceviour and Mueller exist), and defensively seasoned (Oleksiak and Connauton in Dallas, but still Fortunas?). Okay, so maybe with Morin, Oleksia and Connauton in the NHL the Barons have a chance to win this game. Strike while you can, is what I say.

The Barons will have to overcome the best-by-a-landslide-in-the-league Stars power play, and stingy penalty kill. Both huge tasks that OKC hasn’t been exceptional at in recent games.

But Oklahoma City gets Corey Potter back, they’ll get Brossoit as the number one, and possibly Ty Rimmer. Two young goaltenders with a lot of promise means that it can be a coming out party or an utter disaster. The way Brossoit has emerged as a solid prospect tender is promising, no doubt, but Rimmer remains a bit of a question mark despite the Oilers love of him.

Huge games are needed from Anton Lander and Roman Horak, the two centerman the Barons rely on the most. Likewise, coming off a lengthy injury, Ryan Martindale has to return to form in the third line centering role for the Barons to have any chance in tonight’s game, and the remainder on the road through December 20th.

Defense continues to be puzzling. Klefbom is hit or miss, but easily one of the Barons most solid defenders of late. The infusion of Potter helps, and nudges out Gernat or Musil in the bottom pairings, but he is a quality AHL defender. That leaves Marincin, Davidson, Fedun, and Hunt to carry the rest of the load. Nelson/MacT like what they see from Brad Hunt, and his minutes will continue to be well over 19:00 per game. Fedun adding scoring support has me excited, but the hope is that he can remain doing what defenders need to do the most, and that’s, well, defend.

The game starts at 7:00pm tonight. Join us on twitter, listen online, tune in at AHL Live, or just return to Tend The Farm for the postgame. Go Barons!