You’re Doing Fine! Oklahoma! OK!

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.


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.

    • Romulus' Apotheosis

      Agreed 100%. Competitiveness through the whole organization!! Some people around here seem to really discount the impact of that holistic approach. Glad to see the Oil doesn’t.

    • Spydyr

      What is it going to take for the coaching staff and the people here to realize Gagner is terrible in every role?

      To small, to slow, to soft on the puck, weak in the corners.

      None of that is going to change.

      Omark has a slow start down to the minors he goes.PVR has a slow start, to the press box he goes.Gagner has a slow start. Lets promote him a line or two.

      One of these players has a father who is friends with the GM.Can you guess which one?

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    Yes? Please!

    Why was the second coming of Esa T an HS?

    Good to see Chorney fit back into the A like a glove. Looking forward to the Nation podcast (c’mon Wanye!).

    I’m glad the team is a success and that Danis is playing so well… he’s a two-way contract, right? if something terrible happens he comes up? Wondering though, how’s LeNeveu doing?

    and what about our kid goalies? I can’t find much on Roy in Stockton… is there much on that team (other than Roy and Martindale) worth looking into?

    is it safe to assume Pitlick has nudged Brule and O’Marra down the depth chart… is there any chance of recovery for those guys, or should I start to write them off and look to the Hamilton’s and Cornet’s for the future? How realistic is Cornet’s seemingly out-of-nowhere success and how far can it legitimately take him?

    incidentally, here’s an official press release on Brule’s progress:

    this quote from Gerry Fleming stands out:

    “There’s an old saying in hockey: you can use this time to be bitter or you can use it to make yourself better. I think Bru’s taking the step that he’s going to make himself better.”

    esp. if Brule’s issue has been largely non-physical in nature, it’s encouraging to see him having a good, enthusiastic attitude (not that he had a bad attitude). that suggests maybe he’s turned, or is turning a corner headspace wise. I’m cheering for him.

    thanks again for the stellar article LT.

    [edit] from the same Brule article. I love this quote:

    “”This is my second time down in the AHL from being in the NHL so I’m used to this before. It’s never an easy transition but I’m still playing hockey for a living and you can’t complain about that,” Brule said.”

    That’s awesome! there are definitely some players and fans who see going to the A as akin to death… Brule, though, seems to have figured it out… not only is it an opportunity to succeed and get back on track (not many other lines of work offer so many second chances and opportunities for self-help… a whole other league as a safety net).. but also — you get paid to play hockey!!! that’s amazing. it’s good some people don’t forget that.

  • Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate

    Thoughts and Prayers to the family of Kyle Fundytus, a defencemen for the Southside Athletic Club who passed away this morning due to an injury in last nights game.

  • misfit

    I figure we’ll see consensus among Oiler fans and coaches on Gagner long before we can expect people to learn the proper use of the words to, two, and too.