I did a quick double take this morning when good friend, Patricia Teter, retweeted a bit of news from the Wichita Thunder. The news, now confirmed by the Oklahoma City Barons, is that Erick Lizon of the Wichita Thunder has been called upon to suit up tonight against the Texas Stars. Let’s not dance around the reason for this signing — Lizon is a fighter. With only 8 games of AHL play under his belt, his paychecks have been mostly coming from ECHL and CHL teams. This, of course, includes a brief stint with the Oklahoma City Blazers in 2007-2008 where he played 23 games, earned 5 points and 67 penalty minutes. Last season with Wichita he played 65 games and earned 159 penalty minutes. This season, with the same team, he’s on track to even or better those PIM totals. Simply put, he does one thing, and some find him useful.
I remember Lizon in his days with the Blazers. What I recall of those games was that Erick was a big bodied, minor minor league enforcer, who simply wasn’t really good in that role. He had moments where he was sturdy in featuerd fights, and he was always willing to drop the gloves in a heartbeat. He just didn’t seem to be entirely perfect for the job.
The Oklahoman did an interesting piece on him that season, and a quick dig through the archives gives us a glimpse into the life of Lizon the first time around in OKC:
Erick Lizon , one of the Blazers’ new forwards, stands 6-foot-4, weighs 205 pounds and punches people for a living – and for the Blazers.
“It’s good being the enforcer,” Lizon said. “They needed one here last year and they’ve got one this year. They have someone to look up to now when there’s somebody running around with their head cut off. It’s good to have that feeling in the dressing room that they’re looking up to you.”
“He brings a new element,” Blazers captain and defenseman Tyler Fleck said. “We’ve got one guy you don’t want to mess with too much.
“It’ll give some of our guys room out there to do their thing without having to worry about guys taking liberties on them. If they do, there’s going to be a price to pay.”
The price: Lizon .
“Retribution’s part of hockey,” said Fleck, the hardest checker in the CHL. “He gives us a little bit of a rock ‘n’ roll side, too.”
Blazers coach Doug Sauter said Lizon has a lot of work to do to improve as a hockey player. But one thing’s a given.
“We know,” Sauter said, “that he’s very, very tough.”
The season prior to becoming an OKC Blazer, Lizon had a pretty epic minor league battle with a familiar face in recent Oilers history, Steve MacIntyre. Here’s that fight:
I’m not a big fan of these types of signings. Lizon will ride a PTO, and will be on hand in Cedar Park to face the Texas Stars. Why, you ask? With an already crowded lineup with prospects that are seemingly buried nightly. this steals one game from somebody who can actually play hockey and needs the ice time. That’s not Lizon’s fault, that’s the fault of the Oilers/Barons.
Simply put, the Barons and Stars got a little heated in the last game they played prior to Christmas. It also was a tad rough on a guy named Taylor Hall who was wrestled to the ice by Antoine Roussel. And the Barons, whom never did this prior to this season, seem hell-bent on protecting the NHL guys. Okay then. Look for Lizon to get a single game, take a few punches, steal a game away from a prospect that probably needs a game, and then ride off into the sunset.