The OKC Barons are down a little star power this weekend but remain one of the major stories in hockey this season. They are “NHL ready” because they’ve played enough games against suitable competition this season and have “chemistry” from working together: perhaps the group in Okla City this winter will form the foundation of the Boys on the Bus 2.0 (Hall, Nuge, Eberle, Schultz, Hartikainen, Paajarvi, Lander, Marincin, Teubert, Fedun, Roy, others) from the year 2013-2020.
This was my Dad’s favorite song. He lost most of his hearing in the war, so when Roy Acuff (Dad called him Roy A-COFF) came on the Saturday country music shows and sang this (I honestly don’t know any other Roy Acuff songs) he’d turn it up and cup his left hand over his ear and listen closely. Wabash is in (I believe) Indiana but for this music fan it just feels like a southern song, like Chuck Berry’s “Promised Land”, the Allman’s “Midnight Rider” or the Band’s “Tears of Rage.”
The Barons play San Antonio about 15 times this month, including tonight and tomorrow. They have signed a defenseman named Nathan Deck, if you’ve followed Stockton this and last season he’ll be a familiar name. He’s from Sedley, which isn’t far from Regina–joining Jordan Eberle as young men from that area on the team. By province, country or state, here’s the OKC roster:
- Alberta: 6 (Green, Hall, House, Davidson, Fedun, Henry)
- British Columbia: 4 (Nugent-Hopkins, Schultz, Abney, Teubert)
- Finland: 3 (Hartikainen, Tyrvainen, Rajala)
- Saskatchewan: 3 (Byers, Eberle, Deck)
- Quebec: 3 (Cornet, Danis, Roy)
- Sweden: 2 (Lander, Paajarvi)
- Ontario: 2 (Martindale, Ringwald)
- Minnesota: 2 (Pitlick, VandeVelde)
- Slovakia: 1 (Marincin)
- Washington: 1 (Hamilton)
- Connecticut: 1 (Arcobello)
- Manitoba: 1 (Plante)
Half of the current roster comes from the prairies (Canadian plus we’ll include Minnesota and Washington) and the Euro influence is down around 20%. That BC-AB-SK axis houses the heart of the team, boasting all of Hall, Nuge, Eberle, Schultz). I think they should add a Russian here at some point, although I’m uncertain how many Russians in North American come from Nail’s place.
I’m enjoying this AHL season, but would dearly love fewer long gaps between games. These young man haven’t fired a shot in anger in 7 days–too long. Expect rust early, creativity late.