Photo by Steven Christy
It was a busy weekend full of Oklahoma City Barons news, and as we slide in to Christmas it is certainly a welcome sight. From Todd Nelson going winless (but still earning points) to the Rockford games where the Barons would defeat a pretty solid IceHogs team to the return of captain Anton Lander – things are happening.
Let’s start with the Rockford games.
The Barons beat the IceHogs, first in the Midwest, two nights in a row. One in overtime the other by two goals. Jason Williams scored two goals on Saturday evening, Andrew Miller added two assists, and Bogdan Yakimov earned a goal himself, his second of the season. The defense kept the IceHogs shot totals low, and Brossoit would stop all but two of the 28 shots sent his way. With Tyler Bunz his backup, Brossoit will be asked to shoulder the burden while Richard Bachman is still bothered by a groin situation (the worst kind of situation). A struggling PK allowed moments of brilliance from the IceHogs, but the Barons were right at 50% on the PP so things evened out. A nearly 6,000+ crowd was a oddity, especially the week of the Barons termination announcement, but it was certainly a lively crowd.
Sunday afternoon Miller and Yakimov would add to their point totals for the weekend en route to a two-goal victory. Josh Winquist would notch his first AHL goal following Curtis Hamilton’s sixth of the season. The story in this one, however, was the inability of the Barons to score on six power play chances. The good news? Rockford went zero for five. On Saturday the PK was bad, but the PP was good. On Sunday the PP was bad, but the PK was good. The ability this team has to seize opportunities is becoming uncanny. Good coaching, smart players, good management – all good signs of health.
Meanwhile the Oilers continue to lose (at the time of this post they are winless in the last eight; one victory in twenty games). That’s a brutal total, and a regulation loss last night against the Arizona Coyotes capped off a pre-Christmas run that was remarkably awful.
Todd Nelson continues to add his flavors, although slightly, to the Oilers in-game lineup. Yet this still feels like a MacT team, and as long as he is heavily involved, and Nelson is not given full control, it seems that the Oilers will continue to tumble.
Nelson likely returns to OKC for the holidays. The question is, will he want to return? Just kidding. He’s a gamer. This is a great challenge to him, and he no doubt takes it in stride.
Anton Lander got the recall treatment, played a game, was quickly sent down. Although his on-ice game wasn’t fabulous for the Oilers, he did show a few nice things, but certainly not enough for the Oilers to keep him around. He was returned after that lone game, and suddenly OKC looks a bit more taught.
The Barons will hit the road on the 27th of December as they play three games between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Following a quick jaunt to San Antonio they’ll return home for two games against the Charlotte Checkers.