THE MIDNIGHT RAMBLER

Tommy Lasorda* came across a young, lean pitcher who could throw quality pitches for strikes. Lasorda felt he could make it to the big leagues, but the kid did not look in any way intimidating and did not have a forceful personality (workmanlike would be a better term, perhaps “bookish” would also fit). So Lasorda gave Orel Hershiser a nickname that was exactly the opposite of his personality: “Bulldog.”

Toni Rajala looks like a kid even though he’s 21, and is just 5.10, 163. I think we need to give him a nickname, like “Midnight Rambler.” Something that implies jackal, or at the very least a sneer. Midnight Rambler it is. (photo by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved).

*Lasorda is/was a world class wind bag. Bullshit calls him on things daily.

Since the beginning of January, the Barons have had to rely on a different set of skill forwards. Gone are Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall, Teemu Hartikainen and Magnus Paajarvi, and only Mark Arcobello remains from the pre-Christmas band of brothers.

The new side (since Jan. 1)

  1. Mark Arcobello 16, 5-10-15 -9
  2. Jonathan Cheechoo 7, 5-7-12 +3
  3. Phil Cornet 9, 6-4-10 +4
  4. Toni Rajala 12, 5-5-10 +2
  5. Josh Green 16, 4-6-10 -7
  6. Ryan Martindale 12, 5-3-8 -1
  7. Kristians Pelss 11, 0-4-4 +3

The Barons play tonight and tomorrow night against the Texas Stars, who are in actual fact jackals. Barons could use two wins, but this is really about development so watching these 7 forwards post crooked numbers will be fun.

The blue needs to mind their p’s and q’s tonight, as there could be a callup after the game. Both Justin Schultz and Jeff Petry have some problems in the health department, so Brett Clark, Randy Jones and Taylor Fedun will want to make a good impression.

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33 Responses to "THE MIDNIGHT RAMBLER"

  1. Melman says:

    Forgive the west coast comparison, but I never thought Jordan Schroeder would make it out of Chicago and, although he seems to spend an inordinate amount of time lying face down on the ice, is in fact gaining traction much to his credit. Maybe Rajala can crack the ceiling. I would way rather watch skill at 5’10″ 163 lbs. than coke machines that can’t play. I can check into the CFL/NFL/AFL/USFL/EuroFL for that schtick.

    On a side note, how in the f*&k does Vancouver IR Malhotra after he played most (all) of last year and virtually all of this year. Kesler is coming back so their options were to lose Ebbett to waivers, send Schroeder down or waive Manny. If he played most of the last 18 months how is his eyesight now suddenly an issue to the degree that he goes on IR? If I’m Chicago, Anaheim, SJ how come I’m not freaking out because the Canucks just wiped $2.5M (prorated) off their cap!?!

  2. Lowetide says:

    OKC Barons Hockey ‏@okcbarons

    Projected #OKCBarons scratches: Ringwald, Plante, Deck, Pitlick, Hotham, Byers. #BuiltInOKC

  3. Melman says:

    Lowetide,

    sadly it seems more and more that Pitlick will not make the cut. Too bad, as by all accounts he was the consensus #1 pick on day 2 of the draft.

    On the plus side maybe Martindale (who seemed to have a full toolbox) can put it together

  4. Henry says:

    Thanks for that clip LT. I’ve never seen it, but it brings back memories. I bought my first of many guitars about a week after buying Get Your Ya Yas Out. I probably played it nonstop for a couple days and pissed off my sister who thought the singing was ‘creepy as shit’. I was all about the playing, didn’t give a damn about lyrics and didn’t know what she was talking about.

    I hope it is Clark coming up. Fedun would be the feel good hit of the winter but hopefully next winter. This team needs a winning streak and he doesnt need that pressure on his first trip to the show.

  5. Lowetide says:

    Oklahoma City Barons ‏@OKC_Barons

    Projected #OKCBarons lines: Cornet-Arcobello-Cheechoo, Rajala-Green-Pelss, Hamilton-Martindale-Tyrvainen, Hordichuk-House-Lizon

    Martindale centering the 3rd line, if he can get those two wingers started he’s Gretzky.

  6. Lowetide says:

    Henry:
    Thanks for that clip LT.I’ve never seen it, but it brings back memories.I bought my first of many guitarsabout a week after buying Get Your Ya Yas Out.I probably played it nonstop for a couple days and pissed off my sister who thought the singing was ‘creepy as shit’.I was all about the playing, didn’t give a damn about lyrics and didn’t know what she was talking about.

    I hope it is Clark coming up.Fedun would be the feel good hit of the winter but hopefully next winter.This team needs a winning streak and he doesnt need that pressure on his first trip to the show.

    It was an awesome album (Ya Ya’s), I traded Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath for it in about 1975. Probably the best trade I ever made!

  7. Lowetide says:

    Projected #OKCBarons D-Pairs: Clark-Fedun, Jones-Teubert, Peckham-Marincin. Niko Hovinen in net with Yann Danis backing up

    That should be a pretty good set of defensemen for this level.

  8. BlacqueJacque says:

    If Toni Rajala is 5’10 then I’m 6′ tall. Unless he hit a growth spurt since I last saw him, when … I guess he’d have been 19 then.

  9. Henry says:

    Lowetide,

    That’s a sweet trade!

  10. Woodguy says:

    Cheecho showing up the AHL is nice to see.

    His road has been as varied as any in recent history of professional hockey players who made the NHL.

    Great to see.

    Don’t see any room for him up here, but worse things have happened to better people.

    Gregor had OKC Head Coach Todd Nelson on his show recently and asked him about a “dark horse for a NHL career”

    Nelson didn’t hesitate and said Pless.

    As far as he’s concerned Pless has the qualities to make it as a regular NHL 3rd liner.

    Great skater, some hand skill, streak of truculence despite not having a huge frame, knows how and where to back check.

    Sounded a lot like the elusive Pisani replacement we are waiting for….

    We wait while guys like Eager get outshot at the rate of a shot a minute, which means he should probably sell tickets.

  11. "Steve Smith" says:

    Woodguy,

    Willie Pless? I had high hopes for his NHL career at one point, but I think he might be too old now. Too focused on football, I think.

  12. Lowetide says:

    lol. good times. Hamilton just had a terrific forechecking shift with Martindale and Martindale. More, please.

  13. Kris11 says:

    I don’t know about Malhotra’s case in specific, but Melman (Hans Moleman? or the guy from the old Letterman skits?) has a good question about the IR and cap hits.

    Suppose crooked GM Mr. X (by which we all know I mean Lou Lam.) wants to duff player Y off the cap and no one will take Y and Of course Y’s hit now can’t be buried in the AHl. So X and Y get together and agree to say that Y has a sore tummy and can’t play, ever again, and needs to go on the IR. (Usually the player wouldn’t agree, but might to avoid embarrasment at playing badly and eating aroster spot after a long career of playing well, or to get in good graces for future coaching or scouting jobs.)

    What rule stops X and Y from doing this? Is it a rule that league doctors have to certify that Y can’t play? How do they do that? What if they say “Y is in some pain, and probably can’t play that well, but there is no medical reason that Y can’t play, anymore than his teammates P and Q.” If so, how does the league deal with Y’s outrage. Do league doctors check the veracity of Y’s pain claims (or claims of vision problems or whatever) at all? Note that Y might have some pain or problem that heis accurately reporting on, but then slightly exagerating and saying “And therefore I can’t play.” How far do doctors go to check that Y is being slightly dishonest. And how do they determine how to evaluate Y’s claims about whether he “can play” especially if he has been playing with that condition. (You can imagine Khabi’s back pain being the same issue.)

    Or do team doctors, hired and fired by X, determine if Y can play? Well, we all know that’s a comflict of interest.

    And if weight and cardio fitness play a role in determining LTIR status, what if Y just eats pancakes and stops exercising in the offseason and says it is his pain (partially true in all veteran athletes) that kept from game shape.

    Let’s not even get into the draconian nightmare of league doctors trying to test to see if Y is lying about concussion symptoms.

    nNo it seems to me that LTIR’ing away seriously bad contracts of veteran players will be an option in some cases, even when the player could technically play, because the league couldn’t possibly tell a player he can play if the player is willing to say that he can’t play or he can’t play well.

  14. Kris11 says:

    I’ll put it slightly differently. I’ll bet a majority of players over, say, 33 (certainly 35 and over) could show a doctor health problems that would imply the player couldn’t play if the player wanted to. These guys are all beat to crap and IMO with a bit of investigation I bet they could all justify “I can’t play because I have had too many (one is too many) concussions.”

    So there may be some more controversial LTiR cap moves in the future,

  15. Captain Happy says:

    “Steve Smith”:
    Woodguy,

    Willie Pless?I had high hopes for his NHL career at one point, but I think he might be too old now.Too focused on football, I think.

    His skating was always an issue.

  16. Lowetide says:

    Whatever they did, Lou did it before them.

  17. Captain Happy says:

    Kris11:
    I’ll put it slightly differently. I’ll bet a majority of players over, say, 33 (certainly 35 and over) could show a doctor health problems that would imply the player couldn’t play if the player wanted to. These guys are all beat to crap and IMO with a bit of investigation I bet they could all justify “I can’t play because I have had too many (one is too many) concussions.”

    So there may be some more controversial LTiR cap moves in the future,

    If the Bruins can trade a player who is not playing to the Islanders to free up cap space while helping the Islanders reach the floor, pretty much anything should be acceptable.

  18. Lowetide says:

    McCarron 1-1-2 for Cornell tonight, Khaira with an assist for Tech. Zharkov scored for Belleville and Rieder was in a minor car accident so didn’t play tonight.

  19. Lowetide says:

    Pelss (Rajala, Marincin).

  20. Lowetide says:

    Green (Rajala, Pelss)

  21. jp says:

    LT, Peckham will be the callup if one is needed, no? Cherry even called it on CBC, for whatever that’s worth.

    Nice to see the Barons doing well lately. They’re up 2-1 after 2. Hovinen with 27 saves. I think we’ll see that guy in Edmonton at some point.

    Ebs and Jr still 1-2 in scoring too, but the league is finally catching up. Crazy good.

  22. Lowetide says:

    JP: Yes, absolutely. Forgot about Teddy Peckman.

    Tyrvainen scored on a penalty shot.

  23. jp says:

    Lowetide,

    PS – your omission of Teubert as an option is certainly reasonable, but maybe not realistic.

  24. Woodguy says:

    “Steve Smith”:
    Woodguy,

    Willie Pless?I had high hopes for his NHL career at one point, but I think he might be too old now.Too focused on football, I think.

    I love you and hate you in equal measures.

  25. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide:
    Whatever they did, Lou did it before them.

    Lou has never toed the line of acceptability.

    He’s grabbed the line and used it as anal floss.

  26. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide:
    Green (Rajala, Pelss)

    Willie Pless with 2 pts.

    I, and Nelson, know linebackers.

  27. Lowetide says:

    Peckham is certainly feisty tonight.

  28. jp says:

    Lowetide:
    Peckham is certainly feisty tonight.

    He sure is. I haven’t watched most of the game, but he’s put a games worth of truculence in in the 10 min I’ve seen. He wants to get back to the biggs I guess.

    Fistric and Peckham 3rd pair. Scary and scary.

  29. jp says:

    Hell of a pass there by Rajala trying to end it before the shootout. Little guy can sure play hockey.

  30. Hayek says:

    Omark. That is all.

  31. nelson88 says:

    Davidson with both goals in a Stockton win and Roy with 29/30. 1st and 2nd star.

    I wish the artist formally known as DEE S FU was still around to assure us Rajala wasn’t even an AHL quality player. Given that he is out scoring Schroeder in the same league/age I would like to collect on our bet to the contrary.

  32. gcw_rocks says:

    I get trying to win games, but this is a development league and Martindale should have been on a scoring line, even if that bumped Green down.

    Niko with 38 saves? Sounds like a good night. How did he play?

  33. Ribs says:

    The Midnight Rajambler! I knew I picked the right guy to be my new Pouliot/Trukhno before the season started. Go little guy, go!

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