November 13 2011 10:30AM
A picture is worth a thousand words. For instance, I'm fairly certain the Barons coaching staff would have had this defensive sequence drawn up a little differently, but stuff happens in the heat of battle. Checking the standings, OKC's Barons are flying to historic heights, but the boxcars look pedestrian.
What's that about? Who's the MVP? How are the prospects doing?
Jim Byers is the OKC Barons play by play man and a gentleman. He takes time every few weeks to update us at Nation Radio about the team and it's prospects. Yesterday, I had a chance to ask him a few questions and found his answers interesting.
- Who is this team's MVP? Mr. Byers suggested that AHL veteran Ryan Keller and goalie Yann Danis were the key elements in this tremendous start. Keller has a nice range of skills and is a veteran hand. Although it's unlikely he'll be an Oiler this season, Keller's contributions in the organization are obvious to OKC fans. Danis has backstopped the team through most of this season and by eye and boxcar is having a terrific run. Like Martin Gerber a year ago, Danis has been splendid.
- Which of the "younger group" has done the most? Byers didn't hesitate. Answer? Phil Cornet. Byers said he's been exceptional around the net and on the PP. Great hands, and he's forced his way up the depth chart at the expense of veterans and more highly touted prospects. Byers also told me that Tyler Pitlick has been a very physical player and very involved despite being kept off the scoreboard recently (Pitlick scored last night). Curtis Hamilton has been involved at even strength plus a little on the PK, but neither he or Pitlick is getting much special teams time. We should factor that into their boxcars. When I asked him which of the kids (Pitlick/Hamilton) was playing more and having an impact on the game, the answer came back Pitlick.
- How is Plante doing? Well, according to Byers. Plante has been more involved on the offensive side recently, and had a fine game with Taylor Chorney their first night back together as a tandem. I think both prospects may end up being AHL level players.
- What about Omark? Splendid player at the AHL level, I got the feeling Byers was surprised to see him and more surprised he isn't back in Edmonton. By eye and boxcar, he's a fine hockey player.
- Hartikainen? He was a HS recently, coach sending a message. Hartikainen has been strong on the PP and remains one of the marquee prospects in the group.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
Nation Radio should be up and running here at ON sometime in the next 24 hours, it's an interesting show with lots of great guests. Jim Byers is certainly worth a listen. I'm a big fan of math, but a good scouting report is important.