Workin’ For The Weekend: A Texas New Year “True”

spandau ballet
Is it true? Uh-huh-huh-huh-huuuu. Happy New Year!

There are so many great songs of the 80’s that could either be about love or about crippling drug habits. The double-entendre songwriting mentality worked for so many bands of that decade. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you easily digestible music from 30 years ago. And let’s be honest, we love those songs because they speak to two completely different sides of the brain. It doesn’t make them weird or trashy, but magical and nostalgic.

A recent track that fits this bill perfectly careened across my internet airwaves. I immediately began singing and playing that air sax I’ve had tucked away in the attic all these years. The culprit? Spandau Ballet doing “True”, one of their greatest songs and one of my favorites from the 80’s.

Unrewarded love or a pill popping problem? You be the judge. I choose to take my own escape route when explaining this song. Here goes. The man in this story wants to always speak the truth – good, bad, ugly, mean, hateful, kind, smart – but never really does. A wolf in sheep’s clothing, if you will. “I know this much is true”, “Why do I find it hard to write the next line”, “This is the sound of my soul”, all seem like a bandit of truth, stealing only the words and actions needed to get by without revealing too much. Heavy, I know.

And so we watch our hockey team fumble through occasional games only to show us how insanely brave they can be. The “True” nature of this team sometimes gets lodged beyond what it’s willing to reveal. And to that, I say, “Get it together”.

Taylor Hall has sprung to life. Justin Schultz has slowed, but remained steady. Jordan Eberle cuts through defensive lanes like Bigfoot through Times Square. Mark Arcobello remains the Little Engine That Could. The question remains, can the team continue to stay “True”? Huh huh huh hu-uh huhhhhhh.

As I watched the Chicago Wolves play the Abbotsford Heat down to the wire the other night, I was reminded of the key ingredients for success in the AHL. A full cup of consistency, two table spoons of quickness, a dash of chance taking, and a pinch of good luck – makes a team dangerous in the minors. Both the teams I watched showed moments of all those things, and then I turned the page in the recipe book to see if our Barons contain any of those similar pieces. And by gosh by golly, they do.

And it feels as if the Oklahoma City Barons have become the team that we hoped they’d be. I’ve said that before. But as we head towards the final moments of the year 2012, things don’t get easier moving forward, but get infinitely more difficult.

This week the Barons will host two holiday games. First at home on New Year’s Eve against the Texas Stars at 6:00pm, and a second game on the road in Houston at 5:00pm on New Year’s Day.

These two games will also end a huge clump of play against teams from Texas that started on November 29th. As a matter of fact 13 of the last 14 have been against teams south of the Red River. I’m anxious to see the Barons play someone else…finally.

Monday games are rare, and Tuesday games are odd. Throw them together with a mix of New Year’s Eve revelry, and it makes for an interesting two-day stretch.

Texas has recently passed Oklahoma City in the standings while also having a similar ten-game win/loss outlook. But the Barons have beaten them two of the last three times they’ve played each other — in the last ten days. So the familiarity of defeat and crankiness is fresh in the minds of both Stars and Barons, and these two match up surprisingly well for different reasons. Expect an eventful game, and perhaps a legit scrap from Erik Lizon on Antoine Roussel.

Leading scorer, Cody Eakin, has also returned to the lineup. His jet-fueled intensity has given the Stars an extra lift in recent hours, and will continue through to the game in OKC.

Houston, still playing well, but not as well, has only been victorious two of the last five games. This isn’t anything worth worrying about for the Aeros, but there are teams behind them angling for second place in the South Division including OKC. When the New Year’s holiday is finished, we might have a completely different looking South leaderboard. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile. rookies like Charlie Coyle, Johan Larrson, and Jason Zucker dominate an otherwise sturdy bunch of more seasoned forwards for the Aeros, and give some much needed energy and commitment to playing hard.

Matt Hackett continues to be a problem for many teams, and he always seems willing to “play up” for the Barons. They’ll need to solve him quickly or the night might get away from OKC.

Likely Oklahoma City Barons Lineup:

Taylor Hall – Mark Arcobello – Jordan Eberle
Magnus Paajarvi – Anton Lander – Teemu Hartikainen
Dane Byers – Josh Green – Tyler Pitlick
Curtis Hamilton – Tanner House – Erick Lizon

Out: Antti Tyrvainen (recovering from arm surgery); Kristians Pelss (ECHL suspended); Chris VandeVelde (AHL suspended)

Nathan Deck – Justin Schultz
Taylor Fedun – Colten Teubert
Martin Marincin – Alex Plante

Out: Brandon Davidson (recovery); Dan Ringwald (recovering from arm ailment); Jordan Henry

Yann Danis