BBG&CS: Cornfields of Iowa, AHL Schedules, Omark, Beards and Choochoo

| The growth of hockey in the cornfields of Iowa — the Iowa Wild:

“In hopes of pushing hockey’s agenda for growth in Iowa, a big push was made this past season when it was announced that AHL hockey would once again return to the Hawkeye State in form of Minnesota’s minor league affiliate, the Iowa Wild.  Heading into their inaugural season, the Wild will look to avoid the fate of the AHL’s Iowa Stars and later Iowa Chops who were never able to get a foothold in the Des Moines community.” — via Pantherparkway.com

| Sports teams social rankings — hmm … there are some problems with this list:

“Much like other big businesses, sports franchises must leverage digital technologies – mobile, social, cloud and big data – to humanize their brand and connect to their audiences. Technologies like high definition television, increasing tickets prices, and uncertain macro-economic conditions means that sell-out stadiums may become a rarity for most professional teams.” – via Huffingtonpost.com

| The convoluted making of the AHL Schedule:

“Once teams put in their narrative, the league starts plugging in dates and routing teams on a giant board.  Then teams have individual conference calls with the league to go over their narrative. “They’ll ask you about three-in-threes,” Abbott said.  “They’ll ask you about the travel.  They’ll ask you about playing the same team twice in a row at home.  Some teams are very particular about those issues.  We’re concerned about our players’ safety first and foremost but beyond that, if we play Providence two nights in a row at home, that’s not a big concern of ours.  Some teams don’t like that.” – via ManchesterMonarchs.com

| In case you missed the news, Linus Omark is BACK!

“It’s up to me now. I don’t expect anything to be given to me, but if I end up (in Oklahoma City), I’m going to work hard down there and, hopefully, that will give me a chance later on,” said Omark. “I’ll do my best to get up to the NHL again. It’s hard to get ice time, (but) I’m going to have to play hard. I’m more mature now. […] I had a good year last year. I played big minutes and, when you play a lot, you grow as a player. I think I’m smarter with the puck now. I don’t throw it away as often. I’m heavier too, but we’ll see. I think I’m stronger, it’s just too early to say.” – Joanne Ireland, Edmonton Journal

| Andrew Ference — pro-environmentalist hockey player:

“The thing about athletes, and the reason they are playing sports professionally, is that we’re really good at being selfish and very single-minded about what we want to accomplish. The vast majority of athletes have blinders on,” says Edmonton Oilers defenseman Andrew Ference, a 15-year NHL veteran and Stanley Cup winner, while speaking at a conference of the Green Sports Alliance in New York City. Ference, an Alberta, Canada native, can say that because he is among those who defy the mold. A lifelong environmentalist, he led the creation of a carbon neutral program for the NHL. It allows players and teams to purchase carbon offsets to counteract their traveling footprint. National Geographic did a series on the “eco-warrior” last year.” – via Co-Exist

| The NFL settles a concussion lawsuit — will this happen in the NHL at some point in the future?

“It was announced on Thursday that the NFL had tentatively settled its consolidated concussion lawsuit with thousands of players turned plaintiffs for $765 million. That’s a number that sounds much bigger than it actually is; it’s a bargain that the league will see as a major coup, both in the short term and the long term. If any concussion litigation was going to stop the league in its tracks, this case was the one. The NFL is no doubt letting out a long, deep sigh of relief.” — via Grantland.com

| Prepare for Movember, dudes!

“You might want to take it easy with that five-blade razor, bros. A new study boldly trumpets that men with scruffy facial hair are considered significantly more attractive than their beard-deficient brethren. At least on the surface, the findings bolster the notion that dudes like Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal take their handsome-powers up a notch with a bit of well-kept stubble.” — via TheWeek.com

| Jonathan Cheechoo is now Choochoo?

– You know that place in The Daily Oklahoman? The one between Big Game & Club Soccer? That’s where you may find some Barons coverage. For the rest of the news, check out BBG&CS every weekend.  –

 

BBG&CS: Blue Moon, Rajala’s Situation, Helmer, Torts, Stretch, and Team Spirit Burgers

Oklahoma’s Blue Moon on August 20th:

“There are two definitions for blue moon. One defines it as the second full moon to occur in a calendar month. Usually, we get just one full moon per month. The last one was August 31, 2012, and the next one will be July 2015. However, Tuesday’s blue moon is a “seasonal blue moon”, meaning it’s the third of four full moons in a season.” — via KOKH-TV and photo courtesy KTUL.com


| Toni Rajala’s situation offered “No Good Solution”

“Craig MacTavish isn’t purging the system of everybody under 6’ – keen observers will recall the signing of Andrew Miller, a player the Oilers’ Twitter account originally listed at 5’8” before hastily changing that to 5’10”. In a summer where a bunch of depth players were cleared out, 5’9”, 165 pound Mark Arcobello landed another contract. So that’s not it – and those who want to see all the small skilled prospects purged from the system had better keep their knives sharp because MacTavish has added those kinds of players and will doubtless continue to add those kinds of players when it makes sense to do so.” – via Jonathan Willis at OilersNation.com

Several other articles on Rajala deserve recognition as well today: Neal Livington’s excellent article Toni Rajala – Realization That Sometimes NHL Isn’t For Everyone (Even the Good Ones) here at Tend the Farm; and Bruce McCurdy’s Edmonton Oilers Release High-Scoring Prospect Toni Rajala (via Edmonton Journal) and his Twitter reactions to Rajala’s departure.

| Bryan Helmer recounts his 20 years of professional hockey with friend Andrew Rodger:

“I couldn’t even believe I was going to a New Jersey Devils training camp to be honest with you,” Bryan reminisced. “To get sent down to Albany, it was the River Rats back then, and becoming a professional hockey player was a big thrill. I can still picture the day I signed the contract. I was so excited!  My signing bonus was $2,500 and I thought it was a million dollars,” he continued. “I didn’t know at the time how much other guys made and I thought that $2,500 to sign your name on a piece of paper was quite a thrill!” via Andrew Rodger, at the NHL Alumni Association

| The Spengler Cup Teams have been announced: Genève-Servette, Rochester Americans, HC Vitkovice Steel, Team Canada, HC Davos and CSKA Moscow were officially announced as participants at the 87th Spengler Cup, held in Davos (SUI) from 26 to 31 December 2013.

“This year, CSKA joins the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League, HC Vitkovice of the Czech Extraliga and Geneve-Servette and Davos of the Swiss National League A. Defending champion Team Canada, which was able to recruit several locked-out NHL players last year, also returns to Davos.” — via Ria Novosti at en.ria.ru; see also Russkiymir.ru

| In case you’ve been hiding under a rock, or vacationing in Bali and missed the news, the new sparkly 2013-14 AHL Schedule has finally arrived!

 The American Hockey League today released the complete schedule of regular-season games for the 2013-14 season, the league’s 78th year of operation. The season, comprising 1,140 games, begins on Fri., Oct. 4 and concludes on Sun., Apr. 20; each of the league’s 30 clubs will play 76 games, 38 at home and 38 on the road.” – via TheAHL.com

| Corey Pronman’s Top 10 Prospects for 30 NHL teams is currently in progress. If you have not browsed through the team listings and rankings, take a look! Here is his review of Oklahoma’s Matt Donovan (NY Islanders):

 “Year in Review: Donovan was one of the top scoring defensemen in the AHL in his second pro season. He started off the season with average play, but was good from midseason on.

The Good: Donovan is a talented player with a lot of offensive tools. He has the ability to make really flashy and significant plays, as he has top-end puck skills, good vision, and is also an above-average skater. Donovan moves the puck well, can lead a rush, and can be a good quarterback on the power play.

The Bad: Donovan has been used in tough defensive situations, but he can still have notable defensive lapses. He also has a tendency to take ill-advised penalties.

Projection: He could be a quality second pairing defenseman” — via Corey Pronman at HockeyProspectus.com

| John Tortorella talks Roberto Luongo and his family’s Beverly Hillbillies cross country trip with their dogs: 

About Roberto Luongo: “I’ll tell you, from talking with him he has told me he is working very hard as far as conditioning and getting ready for this season. He knows there is a lot of talk and probably a lot of questions coming his way with how it all unfolded here. I think he’s prepared for that and the bottom line is he told me “I just want to play.”

And about his dogs: “Four big dogs, four great dogs. Wherever we go, we don’t fly. We have a van, a conversion van that we bought and it’s like Jed Clampett and the Beverly Hillbillies going across the country. You’ll hear us wheeling in there towards the end of the month when we pull in with our van.” — via Brad Ziemer at the Vancouversun.com

| NHL Analytics & the Minnesota Wild:

 “The Wild are private about their inner workings. All requests for comments and information on analytics were funneled to Fletcher, and he provided only a short interview. If the Wild have a competitive advantage with their analytics, they don’t want anyone to know.

“I think it’s developed over the last couple of years in every sport,” Fletcher said. “I would assume most teams would use analytics in their decision-making process. We’re always looking at stats and numbers and looking for ways to make better decisions, whether it’s signing players to contracts or how we draft players or how we sign free agents or how we value players. It’s part of everything we do.”

As in determining what players are worth?  “Absolutely.” — via Chad Graff at TwinCities.com

The NHL still wrestling with expanded video replay:

“ … there will be a new use of replay in the NHL this coming season. All four-minute high-sticking double minor penalties will be reviewed to verify that the perpetrator’s stick actually made contact with victim’s head. That’s hardly as sweeping as baseball’s plan that will, by some estimates, make 89 percent of all plays eligible for review. But for the NHL, there is still something significant in the small step it is taking. It’s actually a bit of a milestone.”  – via Stu Hackel at SportsIllustrated.com

Sonic Burgers with Team Spirit! – Available only in select locations — “Oklahoma City, Ardmore and Lawton with either an OU or OSU logo; a Smokehouse Cheeseburger will be served in Tulsa, with the same logo options.” — p.s. GO POKES!

“Starting Monday, Oklahoma City-based Sonic Drive-in will be serving new cheeseburgers stamped with an edible logo of a local college football team, including the University of Oklahoma Sooners and the Oklahoma State University Cowboys. The burgers have local flavor, too, like hardwood-smoked barbecue brisket atop the patty.” — via NewsOK.com

| Iowa Wild’s inaugural Ice:

| C.J. Stretch with Teemu Selänne – the Legend – at the Fedorin Cup in Anaheim Saturday evening. Great photo, C.J.!

You know that place in The Daily Oklahoman? The one between Big Game & Club Soccer? That’s where you may find some Barons coverage. For the rest of the news, check out BBG&CS every weekend.  —

BBG&CS Dog Days of Summer: Oilers, Tattoos, Draft, Cup, Towels & KCaTO Forever

| Dallas Eakins and the Leadville 100 — “That is what I’m going to ask from my players, times 10”:

“This is a total personal thing for me and I don’t do it to show my players anything, but I think the thing that it does show anybody that knows me or knows my family is that with my job and my life there is a commitment to it and I’m all in,” said Eakins, who was hired by the Oilers on June 10 after spending four seasons coaching the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League. “That is what I’m going to ask from my players, times 10. That’s the only way you can be successful. That commitment comes through in practice habits, fitness level, attention to the detail of our systems, the character of being a good teammate, supporting one another. I’m certainly going to ask them to be committed. …” — via NHL.com

| Attention Athletes – Your tattoos might be a copyright issue:

“The ink issue is over who owns the copyright to the images depicted by the tattoos emblazoned on athletes’ bodies.  According to sources speaking to FORBES on condition of anonymity, the issue of copyright ownership concerning tattoos on football players has very recently been labeled as a pressing issue by the NFL Players Association.  One source said, “I don’t blame [the NFLPA], but they should have been on top of it earlier.  It was something that was mentioned at the NFL Combine — that was the first I had ever heard them mention anything on the issue of tattoos.  They advised agents to tell their players that when they get tattoos going forward they should get a release from the tattoo artist and if they can track down their former artists, they should get a release. …” via Forbes

| If you want to know what goes on behind the scenes at the NHL Draft watch the Blue Jackets in action:

Link to Video — via Bluejackets.nhl.com

| Former OKC Barons Tristan Grant celebrates with his Calder Cup:

“Neepawa has been kind of spoiled recently with the Stanley Cup being here only a couple years ago and I was fortunate enough to bring the Calder Cup here,” said Grant. “Two impressive pieces of hockey hardware — that’s a pretty cool thing, especially for a small town like Neepawa. To be part of that, it’s definitely something to be proud of. …” — via Mywestman.ca

In mid July ESPN aired a Nine for IX film titled Let Them Wear Towels — a “history and examination of females working in the man’s world of the locker room.” If you missed it, I highly recommend it. Alyson Footer responds with her reaction to those early days:

“This hour-long special, chronicling the treatment women sports reporters received decades ago, both enraged and enlightened me. Previously, I felt like I had a pretty good grasp of how things were handled back then. After watching this show, I realize I had absolutely no idea how bad it really was. It’s impossible to truly comprehend how horribly women were treated back then, mainly because it seems so preposterous in modern times….” — via Alyson’s Footnotes

| Great advice to players from Mike McKenna in his article about the PHPA and AHL BOG’s meeting:

“For me, the biggest takeaway from the event was the human aspect. So often as players, we are simply gears in the machine, moving parts that can be replaced and modified as necessary over time. But when you enter a scenario like this, where everything is much more relaxed and the season is months away, you get to see a different side of the owners and general managers. [ …. ]  I know many of us see management as anything but our friends. But the reality is that we’re all in this together. Professional hockey needs strong teams and management just as much as it needs talented and charismatic players. In the end we’re all responsible for growing the game. If there’s one thing I can pass along about the Hilton Head experience it’s this: get to know the people within your organization. …” via PHPA.com

| 2013 Minor League city rankings — Top 5 listings (see more in the article)

Rank Market Current team(s)
1 Toledo, Ohio IL Toledo Mud Hens, ECHL Toledo Walleye
2 Rochester, N.Y. IL Rochester Red Wings, AHL Rochester Americans, MISL Rochester Lancers, USL Pro Rochester Rhinos
3 Hershey-Harrisburg, Pa. EL Harrisburg Senators, AHL Hershey Bears, AIF Harrisburg Stampede, PASL Harrisburg Heat, USL Pro Harrisburg City Islanders
4 San Bernardino County, Calif. CAL Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, CAL Inland Empire 66ers, CAL High Desert Mavericks, ECHL Ontario Reign
5 Springfield, Mass. AHL Springfield Falcons, NBA D-League Springfield Armor

— via SportsBusinessDaily.com

P.S. According to the 2009 SportsBusinessDaily.com article:

“Oklahoma City, No. 3 in SportsBusiness Journal’s ranking of minor league markets in 2007, didn’t qualify for this year’s list. The reason? The arrival of the NBA Thunder in town last year put the city into the category of major league markets.”

| USL PRO and OKC Soccer’s venture with Bob Funk Jr. : 

“I would say the lessons I’ve learned, in all my experiences, whether it was with sports teams, sporting events, special events, the rules are very much the same,” he said. “There are 10, 11, 12 basic rules that need to be followed. To me, all events are the same, and when you’re looking at something that is appealing, that is entertaining, that is dynamic and that people can get behind, we have to focus on those components when you’re looking at any sporting event or sports team, and be able to make the judgment on whether it’s going to be successful or not. Once you do that, it’s really a matter of following the basics and doing it the right way.” — via USLpro.uslsoccer.com

| Help the Philadelphia Flyers set a record with the most fans Watching Paint Dry — Yes, you read that correctly!:

“Help us set a new Guinness Book of World Records for the most people to simultaneously watch paint dry when we paint the lines and logos into the ice at Wells Fargo Center this Monday at 11 a.m.!” — via Flyers FB and Yahoo Puck Daddy

| For those of you missing the Big Finn, here is Teemu Hartikainen’s Shootout goal at about 9:14 in the Salavat Yulaev vs. Dinamo Riga game — #KCaTO #ForeverAndEver– via Sportacentrs.com

__________

| Did you know that Michael Jackson dropped the puck for an NHL game? Yes, and here’s proof!

— You know that place in The Daily Oklahoman? The one between Big Game & Club Soccer? That’s where you may find some Barons coverage. For the rest of the news, check out BBG&CS every weekend. —

BBG&CS Dog Days of Summer: Sundogs, Gretzky, Prospects, Trades & Weather Gods

| Stick taps to the Arizona Sundogs who will honor the 19 local fireman who died fighting the Yarnell fire. 

“The Arizona Sundogs will sport a specially designed Hotshot Jersey as a tribute to the 19 firefighters who lost their lives while battling the Yarnell Fire. […] Each Sundogs player will wear the number 19 in honor of the fallen firefighters and immediately following the game each jersey will be auctioned off. All proceeds raised through the auction will be donated to an approved fund for the families. Included in the design of the jersey will be each of the men’s names on the front and on the reverse side will be the Hotshot prayer.” — via Arizona Sundogs

| New Jersey Devils’ new owner?

“Josh Harris, owner of the Philadelphia 76ers, has settled on a price to purchase all or much of the New Jersey Devils according to two officials with knowledge of the transaction.” –  via NJ.com

| How the Gretzky trade impacted growth of U.S. Hockey:

“Wayne Gretzky coming to Los Angeles in 1988 via the trade that is 25 years old today was an earth-shattering moment in the hockey world. Not only did it have a major impact on how the NHL was viewed and followed in the United States, it was a seminal moment in the hockey participation boom of the early 1990s in America.” — via The United States of Hockey

    • Link to Aquila Productions A Day That Changed The Game: A look back at the trade of Wayne Gretzky August 9, 1988 | VIDEO

| How the Gretzky trade broke and how media has changed over 25 years:

“It seemed crazy to me — trade the game’s best player? But I also knew, as many others did, that Pocklington operated in a small market and had financial problems, at least serious enough that he refused to give his top defenseman Paul Coffey the money he wanted the summer before and eventually traded him to Pittsburgh. I also knew that, for the first time, the Oilers had requested someone other than Gretzky be on the cover of next season’s GOAL Magazine, the league’s game night publication that featured a visiting player on the front. And I had seen him sitting alone, staring at the rafters in Northlands Coliseum. Sure, it was crazy. But it wasn’t impossible.” — via Stu Hackle at Sports Illustrated

| Syracuse Crunch prospects Tanner Richard and Nikita Kucherov learning how to live on their own for the first time. If this reminds you of Pitty and Hamy during their first year in OKC, you are not alone!:

 “We’re both living on our own for the first time and are pretty much useless. For the first three weeks we only made two home cooked meals because we don’t know how to cook. Blujus thankfully showed us a few things during his stay here.” — via Syracuse.com

 | Doug Gilmour, GM of OHL Kingston trades his own son Jake: 

 “Huh, that will make for some interesting conversations around the dinner table, don’t you think? Being traded is tough enough already, but having it done by your dad? That’s just rough.” — via CBSSports.com

| NHL & NHLPA have agreed to reduce the size of goalie pads: 

“The size of a goaltender’s pads will be directly proportionate to the size of the player. This will prevent a 6’4 goaltender from having the same sized leg pads as a 6’6 goaltender. Specific details were not immediately available at the time of this writing, but the reduction rate was described as being somewhere between 10-15 percent.” — via SBNation.com

| IceArizona is now the official owner of the Phoenix Coyotes:

“We are extremely pleased to have finalized the transaction with the NHL and to take ownership of the Coyotes franchise,” said George Gosbee, Chairman and Governor of the Coyotes.” — via NHL.com.

| Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame inducts Clay Bennett — Tell us how you feel about Bennett being labeled as a “Hero”. For some of us at Tend the Farm, this seems a bit premature. Only time will tell us if Clay Bennett is worthy of being inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.

“Oklahomans never had heroes like Bill Russell. Oklahoma heroes were mostly stars of some other city, some other state. Mickey Mantle, Jim Thorpe. Even if they were collegians who had shined here; Barry Sanders, Lee Roy Selmon. But now we have heroes of our own. That’s the great thing about Bennett’s induction Monday night. It represents what’s to come. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and Boomers not yet identified eventually will follow Bennett.” — via NewsOK.com

| Oklahoma’s own Gary England. Weather God — “Throw me down, Loretta, it’s Friday night in the Big Town!”

“Early in his career, he was notorious for issuing public tornado warnings before the National Weather Service did — a scandalous violation of hierarchy. He persuaded the owner of Channel 9 to invest in Doppler radar, a technology that promised to improve tornado-warning times to more than 20 minutes, from a single minute, before anyone was even sure it would work. (It did, spectacularly.) [… ] He has become a cult figure: a combination of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Foghorn Leghorn, Atticus Finch, Dan Rather, Zeus and Uncle Jesse from “The Dukes of Hazzard.” — via the New York Times

| NW OKC will add a golf driving range that would include two restaurants and alcohol sales:

“Called Skybox, the development would include a 61,618-square-foot, two-story building on a 24-acre golf driving range that would include leasable space for meetings, banquets and other events.” — via NewsOK.com

| Purcell’s Mama Dragons decided it was time to take charge and upgrade the team’s locker rooms and field house:

“Sometimes mothers walk into their sons’ rooms and pick up a piece of clothing, fold it, put it away and adjust something on the dresser on their way out. Sometimes mothers walk in, see the explosion of clothing and video game controller cords, and shut the door behind them as they turn to leave. The Purcell Mama Dragons opened the door to their sons’ football locker room and refused to shut it. The Mama Dragons, a group of moms that feeds the team on game days and surprises each player with a secret fan, couldn’t believe what they saw after last season when they walked into the field house.” — via NewsOK.com

| Dallas Eakins finishes a 100 mile bike race in Leadville, Colorado. P.S. Note to Edmonton Oilers — You’d best be ready to play hockey in September …. or else!:

And meanwhile, Andrew Ference is training Edmontonians:

https://twitter.com/Ferknuckle/status/36525599887051980

– You know that place in The Daily Oklahoman? The one between Big Game & Club Soccer? That’s where you may find some Barons coverage. For the rest of the news, check out BBG&CS every weekend. –

BBG&CS Dog Days of Summer: Tributes, Stars & Thunder, Sugar Land & OKC Eats

| The Warrior — Brandon Davidson:

 “Something that I will always remember is my first game back after having surgery and going through chemotherapy,” Davidson said, remembering that night. “Stepping back on the ice and waving my stick in the air and having everybody stand up and cheer. It was definitely an emotional night and it was definitely something that I’ll never forget and something that definitely sticks out in my mind.” — via OKCBarons.com

Tribute to Kristians Pelss. Thank you Derek. 

“We can’t do much but remember, but one way The Copper & Blue can help to keep Kristians Pelss’ memory alive is to rename our semi-annual Top 25 Under 25 Longshot in honor of Kristians. So moving forward, it will be the Top 25 Under 25 Kristians Pelss Longshot award. It’s not much, but it will be a reminder of the young man we miss so much.” – via  Derek Zona at Copper & Blue

| Bryan Helmer heads into coaching after epic playing career:

“Maybe I’m a little crazy by playing this long in the AHL,” said Helmer, who also won a Calder Cup in 1994-95 with the Albany River Rats and was voted the recipient of the Fred T. Hunt Memorial Award (sportsmanship, determination and dedication to hockey) in 2010-11 as a member of the Oklahoma City Barons. “I enjoyed going to the rink every single day and I enjoyed what I did and enjoyed being around the young guys, teaching them and giving them my experience of what I went through. It’s fun for myself to look at the guys that I played with that are in the NHL now.” — via PennLive.com

Read More

BBG&CS Dog Days of Summer: Two Weddings & A Signing, Goalie Gear & Soccer!

| Two Weddings & A Signing:

1. Congratulations to former OKC Barons Alex Plante and Fanny who married in Sweden in early July. — via Twitter. In the midst of his honeymoon in Greece, Alex went to Austria for a short trip to meet with his new team Dornbirner EC. His signing with Dornbirn was announced on July 18th.

“Als ich das Angebot von Dornbirn bekommen habe, begann ich im Internet etwas zu recherchieren. Von der Liga weiß ich nicht viel. Umso aufgeregter bin ich, sie bald kennenzulernen”, so Plante. Seine Verbindungen nach Europa sind vielmehr privater Natur. Seit wenigen Wochen ist der Kanadier mit einer Schwedin verheiratet. Für seinen neuen Auftraggeber unterbrach der Eishockeyprofi kurzfristig seine Flitterwochen und kam für wenige Stunden ins Ländle. “Meine Frau und ich haben in unseren Flitterwochen von der Chance, in Dornbirn spielen zu können, erfahren. Wir sind sehr aufgeregt auf unsere Zukunft in Österreich”, erklärt Plante kurz vor seinem Rückflug nach Griechenland.” — via Sport Report.

2. Another former OKC Barons player’s marriage took place over the summer as well in Sweden — Congratulations to Linus Omark and his wife Linnea. — via Twitter and Twitter.

| The Eakins Get Fit Plan for the Edmonton Oilers:

https://twitter.com/dallaseakins/status/356265091437563906

| U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2013 Unveiled: 

“This is an extraordinary class that each have contributed in a remarkable fashion to the advancement of our sport. It’s a truly remarkable collection of individuals, all so very deserving of earning the pinnacle of accomplishment in hockey in the U.S.” Ron DeGregorio – USA Hockey President — via U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame

| Goalie Gear Change Coming: 

“It appears the National Hockey League isn’t ready to accept a generic 10 per cent reduction in the top of goaltender pads as the only change to equipment for the upcoming season.  As InGoal reported last week, the NHL Players’ Association already approved a change in the maximum sizing chart allotment for each goaltender’s knee to hip measurement from 55 per cent to 45 per cent. With the average NHL goalie measuring around 20 inches, that amounts to a two-inch trim off the top of each pad and, in theory, a four-inch opening of their 5-hole.” — via InGoal Magazine

| Home, Sweet, Hockey Billet Home:

“At age 16, Brennan left his home in Smithtown, N.Y., to play at USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich. But he would soon find that this wasn’t a journey he’d have to make on his own [….] “Those two years were pretty important years in my life,” recalls Brennan, who would go on to a four-year career at Boston College. “Moving away from home at an early age, you don’t know what to expect. You’re still maturing and getting ready to go to college.” — via USA Hockey Magazine

| OKC’s Brewing Soccer Battle:

“Sources said the downtown stadium will have a capacity in the range of 9,000-14,000 seats and be part of a larger complex. The complex will include 10 youth soccer fields and team practice facilities, our sources added. Further, sources indicate that the site the group has in mind will be close to Oklahoma City’s future Downtown Public Park that is part of the 2009 MAPS 3 initiative.” — via EastWord News.

“As it stands, the city’s soccer fans look to be in line for a front row seat at a shootout at the OK corral. The USL PRO and NASL are, essentially, on the same level when it comes to soccer hierarchy in the U.S., meaning the two companies could end up competing for the same fans, media attention and commercial revenue.” — via The Express Star

|RedHawks Baseball — vs. Iowa Cubs 10-6

“Iowa manager Marty Pevey and Cubs hitting coach Brian Harper were ejected in the second inning following a bizarre play.” — via NewsOK

| And in case you did not know — Hockey’s Better than Baseball

https://twitter.com/CoreyHirsch/status/360975527097540609

– You know that place in The Daily Oklahoman? The one between Big Game & Club Soccer? That’s where you may find some Barons coverage. For the rest of the news, check out BBG&CS every weekend. –

BBG&CS: Forward Depth, Yak No, Viva O’Marra, (La)Franchise

Barons Outdoor Skate
OKC Barons outdoor skate. Photo courtesy of Steven Christy. All rights reserved.

“For the most part, depth is not the problem for the Oilers’ forward crops. Underachieving veterans and still-callow youth are the primary areas of concern, as is the potential for pressure from the salary cap.” – via OilersNation

“Deck has only played 12 games for OKC, and he’s often had the huge advantage of being teamed up with phenom Justin Schultz on the Barons blueline. All that said, Deck has played a smart, efficient and impressive game. He passes the puck well, is near perfect positionally, and holds his own in the corners and in front of the net. Only rarely does he make a mistake that contributes to a scoring chance against, which is why his plus-minus for scoring chances is now the best on the team for a Barons d-man at even strength, even better than Schultz’s scoring chances plus-minus.” – via Cult of Hockey

“Media wanted to ask Russia’s captain Nail Yakupov some questions. Yakupov declined to meet with the media.” – via Oil On Whyte

“Former OKC Barons’ forward Ryan O’Marra signed with the Italian Series A Hockey Club Fassa on December 14th. O’Marra had departed the Finnish SM-liiga club Pelicans in early October and returned to the U.S. for a few months. HC Fassa is situated high in the Italian Alps just east of Bolzano and south of Innsbruck.” – via Artful Puck

“When you can see two or three passes ahead, not just the simple pass, but a pass to set someone up three plays ahead is what makes them so good,” Nelson said. “They see what’s developing. That’s how they generate offense.” – via NewsOK

“At 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, it remains to be seen whether or not he has a future at the NHL level – though the odds appear long – but one thing is now for sure: through your votes, Kane Lafranchise is hockey’s best active name.” – via Hockey News

[box type=”note”]You know that place in The Daily Oklahoman? The one between Big Game & Club Soccer? That’s where you may find some Barons coverage. For the rest of the news, check out BBG&CS every weekend. [/box]

BBG&CS: Krueger On Nelson, Mini Tanner House, Eb’s Girl

Photo courtesy of Rob Ferguson. All rights reserved.

“Watch the OKC Barons win a Calder Cup Championship.” – via Artful Puck

“I wouldn’t say we’re eagerly anticipating a work stoppage,” Andrews said this week. “The best interests of the sport are served by the NHL playing. But if it comes to that, we will enjoy significantly greater media coverage in North America and Europe and more television exposure in Canada and the United States. It creates revenue opportunities we don’t normally experience.” – via Vancouver Sun

“As far as what he’ll do during a lockout, Eberle told The Edmonton Journal this: “I really am taking this day-by-day … I can pretty much pick up and go anywhere. I have no girlfriend, no family.” – via SportsNet

“If there is another lockout, he will hang on to star defenceman David Musil, who has been signed by the Edmonton Oilers and was going to their camp. Toigo doesn’t expect attendance to swell until November or December, “when people really start to miss their hockey.” But long term, he says, labour strife “doesn’t help hockey in general. “It turns people off the game.” – via The Province

“It’s expected that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, because he played in the NHL at 18, would be going to the AHL if there’s a lockout. Defenceman Justin Schultz, signed as a free agent this summer, will definitely be going to the Barons.” – via National Post

“I didn’t miss it because I’m really not a pro hockey fan,” said Gary Weiss, a vacationer who lived in Boston for 30 years before moving to Oklahoma two years ago. “I’m a college hockey fan. I just feel loyalty to BU because I want them to beat BC, but I don’t have loyalty to the Bruins. For some reason pro hockey never sunk into my brain.” – via Portland Press Herald

“They’re kind of caught in no-man’s land,” Lombardi said to The Times.” – via LA Times

“And then this. Another lockout. Another example of a sport that can’t break free from its cycle of labour strife.” – via Hockey News

“Would he lug his own equipment bag, sometimes playing three games in three nights for a chance to play with the Oklahoma City Barons, the Oilers’ AHL affiliate? Maybe, even if he has already played two NHL seasons and is one of the league’s rising stars. The Oilers would want him playing in Oklahoma City in a perfect world, but it’s Eberle’s call.” – via Edmonton Journal

“It’s 100% Todd Nelson’s responsibility. Maybe [GM] Steve Tambellini and I would like to be flies on the walls, but the relationship with Todd will be the same regardless of whether we’re playing [NHL] or not. It’s Todd’s team. He needs to find his way to be a winning team down there. We’re in agreement with how we want our players to grow. I’ll only be there in a support role,” said Krueger.” – via National Post

“One of the more intriguing “prospects” is Cochranite Taylor House, who’s older brother, Tanner, plays for the Oklahoma City Barons in the American Hockey League. Taylor spent last season in the B.C. Hockey League with the Trail Smoke Eaters” – via Cochrane Eagle

[box type=”note”]You know that place in The Daily Oklahoman? The one between Big Game & Club Soccer? That’s where you may find some Barons coverage. For the rest of the news, check out BBG&CS every weekend. [/box]

BBG&CS: Sooners, Stars, Scott & Sault Ste. Marie

Photo courtesy of Rob Ferguson. All rights reserved.

“While the Stars have not had many opportunities to garner blue-chip prospects, the amount of quality depth in the organization is top-notch and impressive. They may have less future number-one defensemen and franchise forwards than another team, but GM Joe Nieuwendyk could easily challenge most of the league’s clubs in terms of future top-six forwards and NHL-caliber defensemen.” – via Hockey’s Future

“This 2012-2013 season marks the 10th season of ACHA Sooner hockey. Nine of those years at the Division I level, their first year in the league starting at Division II. The Sooners enjoyed a quick and early success on the ice, making the ACHA Nationals tournament in their third year. This past season was the 7th consecutive trip. They may have not yet won the coveted Murdoch Cup, but everyone in and around the ACHA, not to mention wearing a crimson and cream jersey, fully expect this year to be THE year. Especially after such a disappointing, very hotly contested and controversial loss to Penn St. The Sooners will face Penn St. at the end of the regular season this year, but since Penn has moved up into the NCAA, OU will not have to worry about being cheated of a national title again.” – via Puckchk

The Artful Puck blog has a pretty solid multi-part interview with Barons GM, Bill Scott this week. Check it out! Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

“Hockey continues to grow by leaps and bounds across the United States. At this year’s NHL Draft, left wing Nicolas Kerdiles joined fellow forward Emerson Etem as the second player from Southern California to be selected by the Anaheim Ducks. Late last season, New York Islanders defenseman Matt Donovan became the first player from Oklahoma to reach the NHL, just a couple of months before the Stanley Cup Final featured two American-born captains for the first time in history.” – via NHL.com

“Everything from geographical to us having Detroit’s farm team in our division, so that’s kinda cool. It’s not that is how they align the divisions, but it just makes sense. Charlotte is a great stop, and we still get to go there once, but it doesn’t make sense to have them in the Midwest Division. It’s not fair to them and their fans, and not like Houston, San Antonio, Texas and Oklahoma City are any closer than Chicago, Peoria and Milwaukee are, but it’s hard to boast a rivalry with Rockford or Peoria when you are in Charlotte, N.C. It’s a work in progress, and the league is playing the hand they are dealt, and it worked last year. Charlotte has to travel regardless, and it makes sense to have them hit the teams in that area and knock off three to four games at a time. Now, it makes even more sense the way we have it.” – via Rock River Times

“Omark was offered a new deal by the Oilers, but it was two-way and for minimal money to play in Oklahoma City if he didn’t make the NHL club. “Linus’s goal is still to play in the National Hockey League,” his agent Kevin Epp said Wednesday. “If there’s going to be a work stoppage (NHL), he wants to play somewhere, and he felt it was best to get to a team right now and to play a lot.”” – via Canada.com

“The Oklahoma City Barons and SMG are creating new menus for the Blue Line Club at the Barons games. Since the menus are being re-made, fans have the opportunity to assist us in picking names for some of the dishes available during the games.” – via OKC Barons

“Morin said he also learned much from Team Canada coaches, which included head coach Gerry Fleming, an assistant coach with the AHL’s Oklahoma City Barons, and Wally Kozak, who won gold with the national women’s hockey team.” – via Sault Star

[box type=”note”]You know that place in The Daily Oklahoman? The one between Big Game & Club Soccer? That’s where you may find some Barons coverage. For the rest of the news, check out BBG&CS every weekend. [/box]

BBG&CS: AHL Youth, Swiss Omark, & Tee Cannon

Photo courtesy of Steven Christy. All rights reserved.
Work that cannon, JOSH!
Photo courtesy of Steven Christy. All rights reserved.

“After two years with pretty minimal offensive impact – and even allowing for the low ice-time totals – it’s probably fair to wonder how much offence Klefbom will bring with him when he comes to North America.” via Cult of Hockey

“Marincin does have outstanding hands, especially impressive when you consider they’re attached to a stick that can reach the far blueline. His reach is a major asset in both offensive and defensive situations, and those hands will make a sharp breakout pass or lift an opponent’s stick and dispossess him as easy as a frog catching a fly. His positional play is still a work in progress, and in limited viewings I’ve found his response to emergency situations leaving me cold at times. Some of that stuff can be learned, and OKC is just the place to learn it.” – via Cult of Hockey

“We looked for the best players available at their position,” Arvanitis said. “We got bigger, quicker and I think it showed on the ice.” – via The Oklahoma Daily

“So, Lander, Petrell, Paajarvi and Hartikainen could end up in the minors? Sure. And VandeVelde or Green and Byers or Tyrvainen in the NHL? I’m saying there’s a chance.” – via Lowetide

“For the AHL, based on current rosters for the upcoming season for 2012-13 from Elite Prospects, the Hershey Bears ranks as the “oldest” AHL team with an average age of 24.82, and the youngest team is the Hamilton Bulldogs with an average of 22.17. The OKC Barons rank number 15 with an average age of 23.45.” – via Artful Puck

Maybe he’s a hidden gem? I imagine that’s why Columbus traded for him, and of course the Blue Jackets are Death Valley for hockey players. So, maybe….What if he has a very good season in OKC? Oilers might sign him and flush Eager. But I don’t think that happens until at least the deadline, as mentioned above.” – via Lowetide

“Harris says the Virginia Beach and Richmond areas would be combined to create a 3 million person designated market area. Although Virginia Beach and Richmond are about 100 miles apart, Harris said that’s similar to the distance between Tulsa and Oklahoma City, home to the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder.” – via Fox11

“Omark’s time in Edmonton unfortunately coincided too closely with management’s decision to burn the team to the ground and start fresh by rebuilding through the draft. With that plan in place Omark found himself competing for time and space alongside much more highly touted players when he arrived in Edmonton. There are only so many choice assignments and easy minutes to go around and Omark wasn’t going to be the player to get them. Basically, he got here at the wrong time and was a victim of numbers.” – via Copper And Blue

“Weal and Marincin were high NHL draft picks in 2010 – the Edmonton Oilers selected Marincin in the second round and Weal went in the third round to the Los Angeles Kings. Both are 20 years old and have signed NHL contracts, thus they’re eligible to play in the minors this season. Neither player will attend Regina’s training camp as they prepare to join their respective AHL clubs – Weal with the Manchester Monarchs and Marincin with the Oklahoma City Barons.” – via Leader Post