Barons Call Upon Beasts To Play In The East

That headline was hammy, and framed around both a silly name for hockey team (which I love) in the ECHL (Brampton Beast) as well as the upcoming road destination of the Barons (Toronto). Hammy or not (I prefer beef), the OKC Barons have slid bass ackwards into a problematic situation. Injuries forced the team to barely have enough healthy forwards on Sunday night, and the injury status of defender, Martin Gernat, is now labeled “season ending”. Yet the Barons solider on.

As reported via this site yesterday, the OKC Barons have signed Jackson Houck (now official) to an ATO. They’ve also called upon the services of three players from the Brampton Beast of the ECHL – David Ling, Brett Lyon, and Jason Pitton.

Brett Lyon is an ECHL player who has spent time both with Allen and Brampton this season. After playing 224 games in the WHL with four different squads, Lyon graduated to the East Coast League with the Solar Bears, but mostly with the Bakersfield Condors. He has made the jump to AHL thirteen times with the most recent stint being in 13-14 with the Utica Comets.

Lyon is first and foremost a high PIM guy. In the two seasons where he played 50+ games he amassed 200+. He’s nearly 300 PIM this season. Yowza.

Then there is the seasoned Jason Pitton. The brother of former Barons goaltender, Bryan Pitton, Jason has worked his way around the world – literally – as a hockey player. Drafted by the New York Islanders in 2004, Pitton would go on to have a pretty good career in the OHL with the Greyhounds. His post-Isles and Bridgeport Sound Tigers minutes have included stints with Springfield, Manitoba, Worcester, and 30+ games with the Asiago HC of the Italy A League. He struggles defensively, but compensates with a nice scoring touch.

Then there is the 40 years young, David Ling, the lone right-hander of the three, who will lace the skates for his 27th team of his career, and for his 13th league. At 40, Ling was drafted by something called the “Nordiques” in 1993 and for a surprisingly storied career he has earned under 100 NHL starts, all with the Columbus Bluejackets.

Ling was drafted, and playing AHL minutes before I got my driver’s license. He played in the IHL, and on team’s that included one Gerry Fleming, coach of the OKC Barons. My respect for a guy like Ling is off the charts, and as expected I’ve adopted him as my spirit animal. Rowr!

Adding two left-wingers and a lone right-winger is good, but it is only a band-aid on the greater problem. The closeness of the Brampton team has allowed the OKC Barons to back-stop their roster momentarily, and that’s nice to be able to do in a pinch. Do the Barons keep them longer than two weeks? Injuries and future health with determine that. In the meantime we will enjoy some new faces.

Today’s injury report via Jim B:

Aim small, miss small says Mel Gibson. And so we pine for the meeting with the Toronto Marlies tomorrow evening. Godspeed.