The great cruelty of the AHL schedule is that it is awkwardly imbalanced. Partly due to shared space (NBA or otherwise), but mostly due to geographical location. There are days where you look at the upcoming games, scratch your head, and then eventually learn to embrace the madness.
A fine example of scheduling goofiness is the two games played by the Barons in Cedar Park, Texas this week. Two games, one Wednesday another Friday, make for an odd Thanksgiving sandwich. A US holiday wrapped nicely between two loaves of game action is just so strange. Not only do the Barons spend Thanksgiving on the road, they have to plan, prepare, and be fully poised for an odd stretch during a busy holiday week. Stranger things have happened, but these sorts of things never get easy to digest.
The Stars are fresh off two really bad losses to the San Antonio Rampage who are, well, rampaging these days through the AHL West. Brett Ritchie is still out with an undisclosed lower body injury, but Dallas has returned Curtis McKenzie who is equally as dangerous (if not moreso). Jussi Rynnas and Kevin Henderson seem to be flu free, and back to their regularly scheduled slots in the lineup.
Per Sean Shapiro, here is the expected Stars lineup for tonight:
Oklahoma City is rolling into Thanksgiving week with recent victories over the struggling Charlotte Checkers. They’ve scored a ton of goals against teams not from San Antonio, and this is the hopeful trend moving forward.
Jason Williams is having a whale of a start to his season, as is Iiro Pakarinen. Yet the biggest surprise has been the blossoming of a few defensive players. David Musil, in particular, has shown brightly in pretty good ice times. Oscar Klefbom has continued to be an AHL+ defender, and that’s good news for the Edmonton Oilers and OKC Barons fans who’ve desperately needed him to pan out. Then there’s Brandon Davidson who has met challenge after challenge, and surged forward with poise. He will have a good test in the coming days, and certainly against the burliest Stars forwards.
We will get a good look at the Barons / Oilers recent acquisition, Kellan Lain, who was shoehorned into a Will Acton (and then some) trade. He will likely play center which pushes Khaira out, and perhaps Yakimov on occasion. With Pinizzotto in the NHL these days, a tough guy certainly fills the resume of a “type” of player the Oilers love. So we go blindly into the Lain Era, wondering what the Oilers were thinking other than offloading Acton.
The game is a 7:30 puck drop. See you then, and Go Barons!