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Jason Williams Signed To AHL Contract In OKC

Jason Williams Signed To AHL Contract In OKC

Here at Tend The Farm we got wind of a potential vet signing nearly a week ago. The “tipster” suggested it would be someone “long in the tooth”, “a familiar name”, and “likely a defender”. Two out of three ain’t bad, and instead we get Jason Williams.

Williams, of course, is about as seasoned as they come. 400+ NHL games, a Stanley Cup winner, a player who has had games in four different leagues around the world – he is the Webster 1868 definition of a veteran signing. He, of course, plays center. The irony here is that the Edmonton Oilers needed a really strong, vet center to shoulder some of the youthfulness (and turrbleness) at that position. Instead, it’s the OKC Barons that have a logjam of centerman (five), and probably would have been “A-Okay” in terms of not having a vet centerman. Nonetheless, we get one, and he will be put to good use.

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Oklahoma City To Play October 3rd Preseason Game

Oklahoma City To Play October 3rd Preseason Game

Schedule news is good news regardless of how tiny. Before the mid-August AHL schedule is released you can go ahead and pencil in a trip to Cedar Park, Texas on October 3rd where the Oklahoma City Barons will face off against the reigning Calder Cup champs and division rival, the Texas Stars. In addition, the Texas Stars will host a preseason game against San Antonio on October 5th.

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Oklahoma City Adds One More Assistant, Tony Borgford

Oklahoma City Adds One More Assistant, Tony Borgford

In the wake of Rocky Thompson being promoted to the Edmonton Oilers, and JF Houle being announced as the new head coach in Bakersfield, the Oklahoma City Barons have added to their coaching team. Announced today, Tony Borgford, has been assigned to the Oklahoma City Barons. Having logged recent assistant time with the Winnipeg Jets, Borgford isn’t a complete stranger.

Having coached alongside Todd Nelson with the Atlanta Thrashers organization prior to the teams turn-over and eventual demise, Borgford is the rare coach that actually kept his job when the team moved way North. He worked in the hockey operations of the Thrashers since their inception in 1999 in many capacities, but almost exclusively with video. This points to a man with good character and high work ethic, something the Barons admire dearly.

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Jean-Francois Houle Named Head Coach In Bakersfield

Jean-Francois Houle Named Head Coach In Bakersfield

The exit of Troy Mann from the Bakersfield Condors this off season (heading to AHL Hershey Bears) hasn’t rattled the team much. They have the confidence of the Edmonton Oilers backing, have had a decent track record of coaching hires, and Mann leaves a quick, but potent legacy. The team is in good shape financially, has a loyal fanbase, and thus the anxiety towards a new coaching hire is rather small. Today they added an important piece to the already successful team – a new head coach in Jean-Francois Houle

Rocky Thompson’s move to become the Edmonton Oilers number three assistant quickly removed his name from the coaching equation in Bakersfield. This left the door wide open for a new hire, and the team somehow managed to keep the announcement sealed tightly. Good on them.

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Rocky Thompson Promoted To NHL Assistant With Oilers

Rocky Thompson Promoted To NHL Assistant With Oilers

One of the good guys (who was an on-ice “bad” guy) in the coaching game, Rocky Thompson, has been promoted from assistant coach with the Oklahoma City Barons to the third assistant alongside Dallas Eakins with the Edmonton Oilers. Known for his grizzly ways as a player, Thompson has blossomed into one heckuva “X’s” and “O’s” type coach who mostly watches Oklahoma City Barons games from the press box. For all the gushing I do over Todd Nelson, the two assistants who have worked alongside him for the first four seasons of AHL play in OKC are equally as capable and highly sought after.

Typical gamedays were spent with Gerry Fleming and Todd Nelson behind the bench. There were times where all three were behind the crowded player pine, but those times were rare. However, when Thompson was rinkside he was known for donning a fedora of masculine proportions. A nod, most likely, to his colorful tendencies of old.

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Tyler Pitlick & Curtis Hamilton Re-Signed, Protection Is Important

Tyler Pitlick & Curtis Hamilton Re-Signed, Protection Is Important

Following Andrew Miller’s resigning only hours prior, our attention shifted towards Tyler Pitlick and Curtis Hamilton. Issued qualifying offers, and likely “spreading their wings” just a bit, they eventually re-signed with the Edmonton Oilers for another season. Both have struggled to stay health in their early careers. For Hamilton it’s the knees, and for Pitlick it’s the shoulder. There is still a bit of a question mark attached to both players for the very reason mentioned in the previous sentence – health. So why re-sign these fellas?

Tyler Pitlick has only had one pro season (in three outings) where he played over 50+ games. That was his rookie season, and arguably a dandy of a first outing. This past season both Eakins and MacTavish liked him coming out of camp, but injury sidelined him quickly. His return to the farm was pretty impressive notching 22 points in 39 games. Not mind-bending for a third year pro, but a step in the right direction. His re-signing is a coin flip, but a less risky one than that of Curtis Hamilton.

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