Warning. You will hate this post if you’re a highfalutin glam rock officianado, if such a thing exists. Because I’m going to pull a track from a glam rock, experimental pop, new wave trend setting band from the 70′s. But I’m not going to triumphantly use a b-side rarity that tests your knowledge of the genre while simultaneously tickling your ear drums. No, today I’ll be referencing a tune from a latter single by a band that was likely a tad more influential than any of us like to admit.
Roxy Music, led by Bryan Ferry, was a glamorous experimental pop outfit that emerged in the 70′s to pave the way for new wave of the 80′s. Some called the band’s 70′s writing art rock, but really it was cleverly disguised pop music with heavy subject matter. As the brand grew, changed members, and aged into the early 80′s, Ferry’s love of lush straightforward top 40 music began to shine through. Although it was a time where Roxy Music was panned more than praised, I’ve always been found of the late period catalog, and one song in particular – “More Than This”.
The lush sounds of “More Than This” didn’t catch on with US listeners in 1982, but it’ll always be a favorite of many, even if you aren’t a fan of the band. Used in video games, commercials, and film soundtracks, the song has soldiered on. (Bill Murray. Lost In Translation. The Best)
Ferry, at his most subversive, tells the tale of relationship doldrums. Where you get to the point in life where things need to be more fluid, and your synapsis outweigh what the heart wants. Life, love, and the pursuit of happiness, if you will. It’s the type of song that you don’t mind listening to, and never regret hearing again. Great song.
The Oklahoma City Barons, as a team and subsequent fan base, have been asking a lot of questions these days. Mainly, “Why isn’t our team winning?”, and a half dozen variations of the same sentiment. Dumb luck, roster imbalance, stronger league play, coaching, management, timing – pick your hockey poison. The team has played 13 games, is 6-5-1-1, and thus a sneeze over .500. And with those facts in mind, I say…is there “More Than This” in a glitzy voice akin to Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music. Because I indeed believe there is more to this AHL season than this barely-500 play. You probably do to.
Here come the Milwaukee Admirals! Currently riding a two game winning streak, the team is still trying to find its sea legs. They are a team who, like OKC, has benefited from the lockout…in theory. Jonathan Blum and Ryan Ellis are two defensemen that played 30+ last season with parent club, the Nashville Predators. And that should’ve been a boost given how defense-minded the Preds have always been. On the wing, Gabriel Bourque was pegged to dominate after spending 40+ with Nashville, and scoring 7 goals and earning 12 assists. Blum has played in every Ads game this season. Bourque and Ellis have combined for only two games due to injury. Not the season the Admirals fans were anticipating.
Regardless, the team has survived. Starting goaltender, Jeremy Smith, has struggled but still posts a top 15 GAA. Two rookies have been surprisingly good. Patrick Cehlin is second in team scoring, and centerman Austin Watson isn’t too far behind. Chris Mueller and Tyler Beck round out the other scoring leaders on the team, and that has been a good sign for Milwaukee. The scoring has been coming at a pretty good clip, but so has the goals against. But the problems for Milwaukee seem to be 5-on-5 defensively. The PK has only allowed 6 goals all season in 54 chances. That’s nearing a 90% kill rate. But remember the Barons loss to Toronto this week bumped the Barons PP to nearly the best in the league. Thus the special teams will be fun to watch.
Historically speaking, these two teams have matched up very well. But you have to think the offensive dam bursts soon for Oklahoma City beyond Eberle, Schultz, Nugent-Hopkins, and Taylor Hall. Perhaps in a defensive battle of a game, we get whisked into a world where the scorecard gets full because we don’t expect it. If I were predicting the weekend, I’d say we get a split. But it certainly wouldn’t hurt for either team to have a statement game. For Milwaukee, it would be a nice resume mention that they beat the “Oilers” on home ice. For OKC, it would be nice for them to get back-to-back wins.
Likely Oklahoma City Barons Lineup:
Taylor Hall – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Jordan Eberle
Teemu Hartikainen – Anton Lander – Magnus Paajarvi
Antti Tyrvainen – Mark Acrobello – Tyler Pitlick
Curtis Hamilton – Chris VandeVelde – Dane Byers
Scratch: Tanner House (healthy), Josh Green (injury), Ryan Martindale (injury)
Martin Marincin – Justin Schultz
Taylor Fedun – Colten Teubert
Alex Plante – Jordan Henry
Scratch: Teigan Zahn (healthy)
Todd Nelson seems set on the lines, for now. Tanner House will likely play at least once this weekend, but with Arcobello moving back to center over the last few games, it will be tough to squeeze him in. When Josh Green returns, it gets even more dicey for the centers, assuming that Acrobello stays at that position.
The defensive pairings are now etched in stone tablets. Dan Ringwald was a healthy scratch of late, and thus was sent to Stockton for more TOI. That leaves Jordan Henry in OKC for the foreseeable future. And Zahn will be the swap in when needed.
Likewise, Cameron Abney is Stockton bound. That frees up more time for Martindale or Green or House based on the health of those first two individuals. Hopefully we see them both soon, and hopefully Tanner House can raise some eyebrows.
Yann gets the go tonight, and likely Roy the next. Both have struggled, but Roy in particular seems out of his element. How he reacts to adversity will be important. Danis, on the other hand, has been good in brief moments. Imagine if he rattled off three consecutive periods of great play. The Barons would be infinitely better.
The Admirals are equally as good on the road as on the ice, so you never really know which team you’ll see. I like to think that the gameplan for Oklahoma City is two fold. Score quickly and often. Whether it’s late scoring or early scoring, this team should be able to dictate pace based on whom is on the roster. Controlling the tempo could really bode well for more victories in the future. And I believe that tempo starts in the defensive zone. The defenders HAVE to move the puck quicker. No lollygagging.
Two game series is tonight and Saturday. Tune in via Live365.com, AHLLive.com, or local radio (96.1 or 1340 depending on the night). Go Barons.