Friday, July 30, 2010

Edmonton Oilers / San Jose Sharks / Stockton Thunder Press Conference on Monday

WHAT: The Stockton Thunder, Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks are scheduled to host a news conference ON MONDAY, AUGUST 2, 2010 AT 11:00 a.m. PT to make a significant hockey announcement at Stockton Arena.

The news conference is open to the media and public.

WHO: The following are scheduled to be present at the event:

Dan Chapman, Thunder president and alternate governor
Rick Olczyk, Oilers assistant general manager
Dan Rusanowsky, Sharks radio play-by-play announcer
Doug Wilson, Sharks executive vice president and general manager (available via live conference call)
Matt Thomas, Thunder head coach
Matt O'Dette, Thunder assistant coach

WHEN: 11:00 a.m. PT

WHERE: North Entry Conference Room, Stockton Arena (King's Room)

Specific, one-on-one interviews immediately following the news conference can be arranged by contacting Thunder media relations at 209-373-1520 and by emailing

Parking for media attending will be available free-of-charge at Stockton Arena's "ring road" entry, accessible off Fremont Street.

Doors will open at 10:30 a.m.

Smokin' Ray Says: I was told this May from a great person in Stockton that the Sharks wanted in on the Thunder as it is close for the Sharks to have their players located. I asked the Stockton Thunder a month ago about this, and they politely declined to comment.

It looks like it's going to be official and the info and the suspicions were right.

The Oilers and the San Jose Sharks will be sharing the ECHL's Stockton Thunder.

Who The Fu*k Is Ralph Krueger? Oilers Hire New Associate Coach

Photograph by: Christian Charisius, Reuters
Who the fu*k is this Ralph Krueger fellow the Oilers hired (two year deal) as Associate Coach you ask?

I don't know either. But I did look him up and from the articles that I have read and the way Dan Tencer has talked about him (see below), it seems like he's a very smart and well detailed coach.

He's been coaching the Swiss National team starting in 1997/98 right up until now. When you look at his National achievements with a lower rate team like the Swiss team (no offense to the Swiss), he's done well. I think he will be good or our kids.


Krueger and Renney both tell me that Ralph's #1 job is to challenge Tom and bring a different perspective to the coaching staff.

Krueger says his best assets all involve building team concept...motivating players, keeping morale high, getting them to buy in etc.

This move was out of the blue for everybody including the media. No one had a sniff of this that I know of.

So what now? *shrugs shoulders* I guess we see what he's like in October and go from there.

I am curious to know how he got the associate title and not just a regular assistant coach title. Is he the successor?

What I do know... I like him more than Steve Smith already.

-Written by Smokin' Ray-

Benton's Blog / Euro Trip / Stockton Thunder Loses Players

07/29/2010 10:06 AM - Benton's Blog

Didn't we document in this blog space several weeks ago about the lure of Europe?

It's happening. The lure of big money, less games and international competition has taken some bite out of the Thunder roster from 2009-10:

- Chris D'Alvise (pictured) - Italy
- Justin DaCosta - Czech Republic
- J.F. Caudron - Italy
- Colin Hemingway - England

Andrew Perugini, Kelly Czuy and Bryan Young have also signed overseas, but they're asterisks in the "players leaving" category because they were under an NHL or AHL contract last season, not an ECHL contract.

That's now seven players from last season's playoff roster we can address as "the departed."

Now, stop before you hit that big, red, shiny, imposing panic button.

1. As we've said many times, don't forget how much the ECHL is now a "step-ladder" league where you celebrate your favorite player moving up, not witnessing the huge chunk of veterans whose careers are dying. Europe, as much of the AHL and NHL, is part of that.

2. Don't overlook the leadership core retained from last season (Valette, Marcoux) - with Steve Vanoosten already inked for next season. Anthony Aiello, Garet Hunt and Trevor Hunt have expressed their interest in returning, so we'll see how those play out. Assuming those potentials come to fruition, you have six returners back into the mix.

3. There's also rights retained to Aiello, Ryan Constant, Jason Pitton and more - making the potential returners at eight.

4. There are 19 teams this season - meaning - less jobs, meaning - more premium players available on the free agent market.

5. The affiliation factor and how much it can provide you with supplemental, elite-ECHL level talent and lure more potential free agents with the possibility of playing in front of said affiliated team's scouts and upper brass.

With all those factors, eight returners in a roster of 20 active players isn't a bad ratio in a league that can often serve as a revolving door, year-after-year.

It's still only late July, and the hot stove season hasn't even kicked into fifth gear. Enjoy it and with how the Thunder roster for 2010-11 is continuing to evolve!

Mike Benton has served the Thunder as radio broadcaster since the team's inception. Got a question or comment? E-mail Mike at

-Written by Mike Benton of the

*reprinted by with permission from the Stockton Thunder hockey club*

Thursday, July 29, 2010

No More Edmonton Oilers PPV's?

Picture Stolen From SportsnetONE
On the radio yesterday, Mark Spector was talking about how Rogers Sportsnet is going to have SportsnetONE, a new channel that will have more NHL hockey games shown on it. He said the Canaucks will no longer have PPV games because this new channel bought those games to show for free. Mind you, you will have to pay the $2.99 a month to get this extra channel, but if you take into consideration that each PPV game is $14.95 to order, the $2.99 a month sounds cheap to me.

Let's hope that this wicked new channel does the same for the Oilers games too. I HATE PPV's!!! And I'm cheap. ;)

-Written by Smokin' Ray-

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Stockton Thunder Signs Prospect Jordan Cyr

07/28/2010 9:20 AM - Holy Cross product finished as leading scorer last two seasons

MORE: Jordan Cyr career statistics
VIDEO: Matt Thomas discusses signing Jordan Cyr

STOCKTON, Calif. - The Stockton Thunder, proud ECHL affiliate of the National Hockey League's Edmonton Oilers, and head coach Matt Thomas announced today that the team has signed free agent rookie left wing Jordan Cyr (SEER). Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"Jordan was a player we were trying to sign toward the end of last season when college players became free agents, so we're excited to finally get him on board," said Thomas. "He was one of the first players I actively recruited this offseason and all signs point to him being a first year, impact forward, similar to Oren Eizenman and Chris D'Alvise when they were rookies. He has touch, ability to put the puck in the net and make other players better that are around him."
Jordan Cyr led Holy Cross
in scoring for the last
two seasons, leading to
back-to-back program MVP honors.

(photo by Peter Cooke)

Cyr, 24, is the reigning back-to-back leading scorer and Most Valuable Player honoree for College of the Holy Cross (NCAA) and last season, paced the Crusaders with 30 points (14g-16a) in 29 games while registering a career high 16 assists.

The 5-foot-10, 186-pound winger enjoyed a career-high 19 goals and 32 points (19g-13a) in 37 games as a 2008-09 sophomore.

Through three collegiate seasons (2006-07, 2008-10) at Holy Cross and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (NCAA), he scored 63 points (34g-29a) in 77 games and was a teammate of two-year Thunder center Oren Eizenman as a 2006-07 freshman at R.P.I.

"I'm looking forward to bringing a very hard working approach and scoring touch to Stockton, night in and night out," said Cyr. "I pride myself on being an offensive player and reliable at both ends of the ice. It's very exciting to come to what seems to be an absolute, first class organization in the Thunder, that has tons of fan support and is a fun place to play."

The contract signing marks the fourth player to sign with the Thunder, joining captain and center Craig Valette and defensemen Daryl Marcoux and Steve Vanoosten.

Opening Night is Friday, Oct. 15, when the Thunder opens the 2010-11 regular season at home against the Ontario Reign, starting at 7:30 p.m. at Stockton Arena.

The Thunder are freezing Season Ticket Prices for the 2010-11 season, which are on sale now can be purchased by calling (209) 373-1500 or by visiting Thunder Season Ticket Holders enjoy the highest-demanded seating locations in Stockton Arena, preferred parking options, benefits including admission to Season Ticket Holder-only events, discount opportunities on Thunder merchandise, a free e-newsletter, an exclusive gift, admission to the first two rounds of the Kelly Cup Playoffs and more. Information on individual and group tickets will be announced soon.

A two-time recipient of the ECHL "Award of Excellence," Thunder was voted "Best Local Sports Team" by readers of the San Joaquin Magazine, led the ECHL in attendance for four consecutive seasons and drew over 200,000 fans for the fifth consecutive season in 2009-10. Season Tickets and mini-plans for 2010-11 are on sale now. For more information about tickets, merchandise, or other inquiries contact the Stockton Thunder offices at (209) 373-1500 or visit

-Written by the Stockton Thunder-

*reprinted by with permission from the Stockton Thunder Hockey Club*

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Derrick The Baron / Mascot for OKC Barons / Winner Announced

After months of fans waiting -- and me bugging them -- the OKC Barons announced that Derrick the Baron is the new mascot for the Oklahoma City Barons hockey club.

OKC Barons Logo
The winner of the Name The Mascot contest was Sara Silverhorn. As the winner of the Barons Name the Mascot contest, she wins a VIP trip for two to Dallas to see the Barons parent club, the Edmonton Oilers, take on the Dallas Stars in January. Congrats Sara!

Did I mention that Derrick is a mountain lion? Confused on why a mountain lion? Me too. But then I read this and it makes sense.

Below in BLUE is what the site had to say about the new mascot;

The Oklahoma City Barons are proud to introduce their mascot, Derrick. Although his territory can stretch from the base of the Rocky Mountains all the way into the plains, he chooses Oklahoma City as his home.

Derrick’s ancestors were among the group of mountain lions first sighted in Oklahoma in the mid-1800’s. Since that time, his family has honed their skills to be good athletes, great entertainers and a champion for their favorite sports team. Several of Derrick’s relatives have been involved in sports including football, baseball and basketball in places spanning the country including West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Colorado and California.

However, Derrick felt he had a different calling. Although he liked being outdoors, there was something about the sport of ice hockey. The crisp passes, the hard hits, the effortless skating of the players and the enthusiasm of the crowds drew Derrick to hockey like a moth to a porch light.

Derrick’s training was complete and he was ready to be a part of his own team. His own hockey team. The crisp passes, the hard hits, the effortless skating and the enthusiasm of the crowd connected with Derrick very deeply. Once he learned of the Oklahoma City Barons, Derrick knew in his heart he had found his team. The Barons represented his mountain lions’ ideals on and off the ice. A foundation of strength and pride in his teammates, caring about the fans and providing fun, family entertainment to the residents of Oklahoma City. Immediately, he began his journey from the high plains of the Rocky Mountains to Oklahoma City. Derrick was seen exploring the halls of the Cox Convention Center by the Barons staff. He wasn’t stalking any prey, he was learning the easiest way to engage fans, take pictures and give high five to fans. That display of passion for Barons’ hockey led to an interview and Derrick was officially hired July 27, 2010.

Although fierce looking, he has a soft side and loves to take time to stop and give a high five, take a picture with a fan or sign an autograph. He looks forward meeting each and every Barons fan. Derrick is available for appearances at any function. Contact the Barons office at 232-GOAL to have Derrick make your next group outing, church function or birthday party memorable for all who attend.

Well I guess I don't have much left to bug the Barons about anymore. Oh yeah... they still need a General Manager. I'll get on that tomorrow.  ; )

-Written by Smokin' Ray-

Gilbert Brule Re-Signs With Oilers / Sam Gagner Next?

Gilbert Brule an RFA, signed a 2 year deal today with the Edmonton Oilers worth $1.85 million per year. With the new deal, Brule avoids arbitration that was scheduled for August 3rd. I expect Brule to have a good year this season. He has lots to prove.

Sam Gagner has still not signed a new contract with the Oilers yet. Gagner is also a RFA and one would have to think that he would be next in line to sign with the Oilers. No doubt he was waiting to see what Brule got before he proceed to negotiate his deal. Does Gagner try and go for $3.5 - $4 million a year range? You bet, but I think he signs for $3 million a season range. Just a guess. Stay tuned on more Gagner contract news right here at

-Written by Smokin' Ray-

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Can the Barons make it to the postseason?

With the Barons' roster not being complete, it hasn't stopped new head coach Todd Nelson having confidence in the new Organization. In the most recent "The Pipeline" article Barons' intern Chris Wescott had a Q &A with Coach Nelson. And reading through the article you get the feeling that Nelson is ready to hit the ground running. But what can Nelson do right now with only 2 players that will be playing in Oklahoma City next season? Nelson was brought in too late in the game to have any input on who is going to play here. But it hasn't stopped him from not having the utmost confidence in the Oilers' choice for players for OKC. Also in the article he stats that:
"My expectations are to have a very competitive team and vie for the Calder Cup. And it's one thing that every team in the American League has for expectations. But, with the people we've signed as free agents and also the young talent through the draft process, I think that it's a pretty believable thing."
His statement to Wescott speaks volumes on how hard Nelson wants to get a winning tradition back to Oklahoma City. Can the Barons' repeat what the Stars did last season, by making it to the Calder Cup Finals? It's a lofty goal to get to the finals in year one, but just making it to the post season should be the Barons' goal for this first season. And only time will tell on how successful Nelson will be with the Barons' in the first season.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Stockton Thunder Announce Pre-Season Schedule

07/23/2010 1:15 PM - Home battle with Ontario coming Oct. 8 at Stockton Arena, two-game series at Alaska scheduled for Oct. 5-6 at 8:15 p.m.


STOCKTON, Calif. - The Stockton Thunder, proud ECHL affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers of the National Hockey League, has announced a four-game preseason schedule for the 2010-11 season which starts on the road, Oct. 5 against the Alaska Aces at 8:15 p.m.

The Thunder will host the Ontario Reign in the team's lone preseason appearance at Stockton Arena, starting at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 8. Ticket information will be announced soon. The home game is part of a special home-and-home style series with the Reign and both teams meet the following night in Ontario at 7:00 p.m. at a site to be announced.

The Thunder will launch the preseason schedule with a two-game series at Alaska, marking the team's first inter-state preseason battle with an ECHL opponent.

DATE                                  OPPONENT                LOCATION
TUESDAY Oct. 5             @ ALASKA              Sullivan Arena 8:15 p.m.
WEDNESDAY Oct. 6      @ ALASKA              Sullivan Arena 8:15 p.m.
FRIDAY Oct. 8                    ONTARIO             Stockton Arena 7:30 p.m.
SATURDAY Oct. 9         @ ONTARIO             TBA 7:00 p.m.

Stockton and Alaska will meet for the first time since the Thunder eliminated the Aces from the Kelly Cup Playoffs, a 3-1 series win in the 2010 National Conference Quarterfinal. Both teams will also meet nine times during the regular season, starting Wednesday, Dec. 15 at Sullivan Arena at 8:15 p.m.

The Thunder and Ontario, who are competing in their third year as in-state rivals of the Pacific Division, will meet ten times in the regular season including Opening Night, starting at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 15 at Stockton Arena. The Thunder went 7-3-0 in ten games last season against the Reign.

Opening Night is Friday, Oct. 15, when the Thunder opens the 2010-11 regular season at home against the Ontario Reign, starting at 7:30 p.m. at Stockton Arena.

The Thunder are freezing Season Ticket prices for the 2010-11 season, which are on sale now and can be purchased by calling (209) 373-1500 or by visiting Partial-season Mini Plans are also available now and information on individual tickets will be announced soon.

A two-time recipient of the ECHL "Award of Excellence," the Thunder was voted "Best Local Sports Team" by readers of the San Joaquin Magazine, led the ECHL in attendance for four consecutive seasons and drew over 200,000 fans for the fifth consecutive season in 2009-10. For more information about tickets, merchandise, or other inquiries contact the Stockton Thunder offices at (209) 373-1500 or visit

-Written by the Stockton Thunder-

*reprinted by with permission from the Stockton Thunder Hockey Club*

The Poll Results / Who Makes The Oilers This Year?

With a simple question of "Who Will Make The Oilers Roster This Season?"

These were the results of the 120 people the voted. Multiple answers were allowed (Thank You!);

Taylor Hall 114 out of 120 (95%)
Jordan Eberle 97 out of 120 (80%)
Magnus Paajarvi 100 out of 120 (83%)
Teemu Hartikainen 6 out of 120 (5%)
Linus Omark 33 out of 120 (27%)
Someone Else 8 out of 120 (6%)
None 0 (0%)

Votes so far: 120
Poll closed

A stunning 95% of people picked Taylor Hall to make the team. No doubt he will. He can't go play with the OKC Barons, so it's either Oilers or the Spitfires. I think he's beyond Juniors and he will play with the Oilers.

Now the votes were very close between Paajarvi and Eberle. Paajarvi edges out the new Captain Canada by three votes. Most fans believe that all three of these guys will make the team this year. I still have my doubts, but I'm sure the fans will be right.

Linus Omark did garner 33 votes and tha's not bad. I'm willing to bet that Omark starts the year with the Barons and not the Oilers. What? I like the easy bets too.

The surprising fact, 8 people actually voted for someone else to make the team. Whom may that be I wonder?

Thanks for voting everyone!

-Written by Smokin' Ray-

Thursday, July 22, 2010

OKC Blazers Had The Attendance, Did They Have The Players?

After Wade Brookbank signed with Rockford, I got to thinking just how many former OKC Blazers players actually played in the AHL/IHL or NHL. The Blazers were consistently in the top 5-10 minor league hockey franchises in average attendance, but did they have the players? So I went to find out for myself. After a night of going through HockeyDB, here’s what I found.

Keep in mind that I’m only counting players who played in the AHL/IHL or NHL either while playing for the Blazers or AFTER playing for the Blazers. Listed on HockeyDB, there were 316 players that suited up for a game with the Blazers. Of those 316, there were 28* who played in at least the AHL or IHL after or while playing for the Blazers.

*Technically 29, but it didn’t feel right to include Brenden Morrow in that count for the argument that he would not have even touched a Blazers jersey had it not been for the lockout.

To take it a little bit further, I went ahead and separated the players by those who played for the Blazers before the 2000-01 season, and those who played in the 2000-01 season and beyond. Those that overlapped that line will be counted in the second group.

Those that played before the 2000-01 season:

Garrett Burnett - Played 3 games for the Blazers in the 1995-96 season. Went on to play in 261 IHL games and 39 NHL games.

Eric Dubois - Played 25 games for the Blazers in the 1992-93 season. Went on to play in 324 games in the IHL.

Sean Gorman - Played 122 games for the Blazers in three seasons from 1992-96. Played in 60 AHL and IHL games within that same period.

Jamie Hearn - Played 59 games for the Blazers in the 1992-93 season. Played in 2 IHL games with the Phoenix RoadRunners in 1996-97.

Victor Ignatjev - Played 47 games for the Blazers in the 1994-95 season. Went on to play 249 games in the IHL and 11 in the NHL.

Craig Johnson - Played 183 games for the Blazers in five seasons from 1992-99. Played in 38 games in the IHL within that span.

Chris Johnston - Played 84 games for the Blazers from 1996-99. Played in 1 IHL game for the Houston Aeros in 1998-99 season.

Paul Krake - Played 17 games for the Blazers in the 1992-93 season. Played 52 games in the AHL and IHL from 1992-97.

 Sylvain Mayer - Played 2 playoff games for the Blazers in the 1992-93 playoffs. Played 3 games in the AHL with the Cornwall Aces in 1995-96.

Steven Moore - Played 241 games for the Blazers from 1995-99. Played in 1 IHL game with the Kansas City Blades in 1999-00.

Sergei Naumov - Played 28 games for the Blazers in the 1994-95 season. Went on to play 16 IHL games.

Simon Olivier - Played 210 games for the Blazers from 1995-00. Went on to play 41 games from 1999-01.

Alan Perry - Played 112 games for the Blazers from 1992-95. Played 3 games in the IHL with the Houston Aeros in 1994-95.

Cam Severson - Played 15 games for the Blazers in 1998-99. Went on to play in 331 AHL games and 38 NHL games.

Bruce Shoebottom - Played 43 games for the Blazers in 1993-94. Played in 1 game for the Rochester Americans in 1994-95.

Steve Simoni - Played 301 games for the Blazers from 1992-98. Played in 18 in the IHL for the Houston Aeros in 1996-97.

Sergei Tkachenko - Played 16 games for the Blazers in the 1995-96 season. Played 14 games for the Syracuse Crunch in the 1995-96 season.

Those that played in 2000-01 and after:

Gregor Baumgartner - Played 6 games for the Blazers in the 2000-01 season. Went on to play 65 games in the IHL and AHL.

Wade Brookbank - Played 114 games for the Blazers from 1999-2001. Has gone on to play in 352 games in the IHL and AHL and has played in 127 NHL games.

Sebastien Centomo - Played 52 games for the Blazers from 2005-07. Played 12 AHL games with the Manitoba Moose in the 2005-06 season.

Justin Chwedoruk - Played 54 games for the Blazers in the 2005-06 season. Went on to play 3 games with the Springfield Falcons in the 2007-08 season.

Shawn Germain - Played 55 games for the Blazers in the 2005-06 season. Played one game with the Hershey Bears in 2006-07.

Jason Goulet - Played 108 games for the Blazers from 2004-06. Played in 8 games with Bridgeport in 2006-07.

Brad Herauf - Played 79 games for the Blazers from 2003-05. Has played in 91 AHL games with the Albany River Rats the last two seasons.

Brant Nicklin - Played 19 games for the Blazers in the 2000-01 season. Played one game with the Milwaukee Admirals in 2002-03.

Reagan Rome - Played in 1 playoff game for the Blazers in the 2001-02 season. Played in 42 AHL games from 2004-07.

Hardy Sauter - Played 590 games for the Blazers from 1996-05. Played in 1 IHL game with the Houston Aeros in 1996-97.

Marty Standish - Played 445 games for the Blazers from 2000-09. Played in 18 AHL games in the 2000-01 and 2001-02 seasons.

Random Stats: 11 of the 28 players played in less than 10 AHL/IHL games. Bump it up to 20 games and the number is 16 of the 28.-- There were only 11 players that played for the team after the turn of the century. Standish is the only one that played for the Blazers after 2007, but it has been 8 years since he played in the AHL. -- The four players that have played in the NHL combined for 251 games played, 10 goals, and 6 assists.

This goes to show just how much of a higher level of hockey is coming to Oklahoma City.

-Written by Eric Rodgers-

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Stockton Thunder Re-Sign Steve Vanoosten

07/21/2010 9:30 AM -
Free agent blueliner is third member returning from 09-10 Conference Finalist


MORE: Steve Vanoosten career statistics
VIDEO: Matt Thomas discusses Steve Vanoosten re-signing

STOCKTON, Calif. - The Stockton Thunder, proud ECHL affiliate of the National Hockey League's Edmonton Oilers, and head coach Matt Thomas announced today that the team has re-signed unrestricted free agent defenseman Steve Vanoosten (Van-OO-stehn). Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"Steve progressed really well in his first pro season and we're eager to see what he can do in continuing to develop as a solid, two-way defenseman," said Thomas. "I thought he was, arguably, one of the best players on the ice for us consistently throughout the playoffs. He was solid in shutting down the other team's top units and was huge on our power-play. The sky's the limit for him in terms of what he's capable of doing."

Steve Vanoosten's highlight game was a 3-assist effort in Game 4 of the National Conference Final against the Idaho Steelheads.
(photo by Sean Blair)

Vanoosten, 25, returns for his second season in a Thunder uniform after suiting up in 52 games for the club last year, scoring 19 points (3g-16a) and adding a +6 rating from the blueline.

His scoring output improved into the Kelly Cup Playoffs, when he registered seven points (2g-5a) and two power-play goals in 15 games, helping guide the Thunder to their first ever appearance in the Conference Finals.

The 6-foot-1, 195-pound blueliner was originally signed by the Thunder as a free agent on August 4, 2009 and posted a career-high three points (assists) in the playoffs, against the Idaho Steelheads on May 7 (Game 4, National Conference Final).

Vanoosten, a native of Langley, B.C., previously spent four years (2005-09) of his college hockey career at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks (NCAA) where he skated in 145 career games, scoring 20 points (3g-17a) while amassing 93 penalty minutes.

He recorded a college career-high seven points (1g-6a) and added 22 penalty minutes in 38 games as a 2006-07 sophomore.

"Definitely, the excitement is high to come back this next season," said Vanoosten. "We finished on a good note last year by making it far in the playoffs and I'm excited to see what our team can do in building off it. Coming back to the city of Stockton is exciting because of the fan support and it was a pleasant surprise to see how the game has grown in California. I'm expecting to pick up where I left off last season, contribute with a growing role, and help our team make another great run together."

The contract signing marks the third player to return from last season's Thunder roster, joining captain and center Craig Valette and defenseman Daryl Marcoux.

Opening Night is Friday, Oct. 15, when the Thunder opens the 2010-11 regular season at home against the Ontario Reign, starting at 7:30 p.m. at Stockton Arena.

The Thunder are freezing Season Ticket Prices for the 2010-11 season, which are on sale now and can be purchased by calling (209) 373-1500 or by visiting Thunder Season Ticket Holders enjoy the highest-demanded seating locations in Stockton Arena, preferred parking options, benefits including admission to Season Ticket Holder-only events, discount opportunities on Thunder merchandise, a free e-newsletter, an exclusive gift, admission to the first two rounds of the Kelly Cup Playoffs and more. Information on individual and group tickets will be announced soon.

A two-time recipient of the ECHL "Award of Excellence," Thunder was voted "Best Local Sports Team" by readers of the San Joaquin Magazine, led the ECHL in attendance for four consecutive seasons and drew over 200,000 fans for the fifth consecutive season in 2009-10. Season Tickets and mini-plans for 2010-11 are on sale now. For more information about tickets, merchandise, or other inquiries contact the Stockton Thunder offices at (209) 373-1500 or visit

-Written by

*reprinted by with permission from the Stockton Thunder Hockey Club*

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Former OKC Blazer will play in OKC

But not for the Barons. The Rockford IceHogs announced today that they have signed Wade Brookbank to an AHL deal. Wade used to play for the Blazers from 99-01 before moving up to play for the Orlando Sun Bears in the old IHL. Wade has bounced around the AHL for most of his career since then but has been called up to the NHL a few times, racking up a total of 127 games, 6 goal, 3 assists and 345 PIM.

Wade played 68 games for the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins last year, netting 3 goals and 4 assists while spending 168 minutes in the penalty box. It'll make for a nice homecoming when Rockford comes to play as Brookbank could be considered a bit of a hockey hero in OKC, being one of very few Blazers players to see the AHL or NHL consistently.
-Written by Eric Rodgers-

The Oklahoma City Barons Today / Starting To Shape Up

Today we take (another) a look at the Oklahoma City Barons and where they stand right now. Things are really starting to take shape and I figured we should revisit the Barons. Steve Tambellini has been doing a credible job at creating a proper structure in OKC and they are progressing quite nicely.

AFFILIATE TEAM: Edmonton Oilers
ASSISTANT GM: ???? (guessing Pat Quinn?)
HEAD COACH: Todd Nelson
TRAINER: Brandon Dionne



*subject to change


C - Ryan O'Marra
C - Chris Vande Velde
C - Brad Moran
C - Teemu Hartikainen
C - Milan Kytnar

LW - Linus Omark
LW - Liam Reddox
LW - Alexandre Giroux
LW - Gregory Stewart
LW- Phillipe Cornet
LW - Matt Marquart (probably will play with the Stockton Thunder)

RW - Magnus Paajarvi/Jordan Eberle (projecting that one of the two will be in OKC)
RW - Colin MacDonald
RW - Ben Ondrus


Shawn Belle
Richard Petoit
Jake Taylor
Alex Plante
Jeff Petry
Johan Motin
Jordan Bendfield
Taylor Chorney (possible OKC player)
Theo Peckham (possible OKC player)


Bryan Pitton
Backup or #1 ????

-Written by Smokin' Ray-

Monday, July 19, 2010

Edmonton's New Arena / A Rant By Oil Freak / Guest Column

Once again here at we step outside of the boundaries. Today we have a guest post from a gentleman from the Twitter world. I seen his ranting on the arena debate and I asked him if he would want to type it out and post it here at OJ. He said yes. So here it is, an Arena Rant by Oil Freak.

Arena Rant - By Oil Freak

I have been quietly sitting back and listening to the public debate over the construction of a new arena / entertainment facility in Edmonton, but I can't sit by quietly any longer. If I have to listen to one more mouth breathing HYPOCRITE on the tv and radio broadcasts I'm going to PUKE !!!!!!!

The next time I hear someone say "I don't want my tax dollars paying for a new arena" I swear I'm going to explode. They are obviously very narrow minded, misinformed and don’t use the current facility. This is not simply an arena, it’s an “Entertainment Complex”.

These concerned citizens are the same ones that were fine with spending $100 million on a new Art Gallery. Did you hear all of us that won’t be using that facility denouncing the use of public funds in it’s construction.

We finally have an owner that is willing to sink some serious money into a new arena and entertainment facility that will put this city back on the map. Not to mention generate a crap load of revenue and thousands of jobs for the city.

We all love Rexall Place and have many fantastic memories, but the old girl is 35 years old, has no windows, is built in one of the worst parts of town and does very little for generating revenue and jobs in the surrounding area.

Northlands has reported that they could have Rexall retrofitted (a fancy way of saying renovated, lol) for around $190 million. They say 190, I say it will end up costing 250-300 when all is said and done. We have to remember where this information is coming from, Northlands, the group which stands to lose the most should the new project go ahead. Does it make a shred of sense to possibly spend over $250 million for a short term fix? I think not.

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still just a pig.

Let's move into the new age and take some pride in our city.

I am ecstatic to hear that this project should be getting the go ahead very soon. If you belly achers don't like it, don't come down, cause chances are you don’t support the current facility anyways. You are not welcome to enjoy the fruits of our sports and entertainment culture that we have worked so hard and spent our hard earned money to build. You will all be eating CROW with EGG on your faces very soon, mark my words !

To all the supporters, we'll see you down there in 2014, YEE HAW !!! This will be a successful, state of the art venture that we can all be very proud of.

That's my rant for now, what do you guys think ? Agree or Disagree ? I'd like to hear from you !!!

Hit me up on Twitter @Oilfreak

-Written/Ranted by Oil Freak-

Rowbotham shares his Goals

In this video, Stockton Thunder Owner Brad Rowbotham shares his thoughts on what his team needs to do to be successful during a Fan Forum.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Updated Edmonton Oilers Contracts / Cap Calculator has revamped the salary cap calculator. This is the best site there is for all things related to NHL player salaries. Today I wanted to give you an updated look at where the Oilers stand today.


Shawn Horcoff ($5.500m) / Dustin Penner ($4.250m) / Ales Hemsky ($4.100m)
Taylor Hall ($3.750m) / Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson ($1.525m) / Jordan Eberle ($1.158m)
Ryan Jones ($0.975m) / Linus Omark ($0.875m) / Colin Fraser ($0.825m)
Zack Stortini ($0.700m) / Jean-Francois Jacques ($0.615m) / Steve MacIntyre ($0.500m)

Sheldon Souray ($5.400m) / Tom Gilbert ($4.000m)
Ryan Whitney ($4.000m) / Jim Vandermeer ($2.300m)
Kurtis Foster ($1.800m) / Ladislav Smid ($1.300m)
Taylor Chorney ($0.941m) / Jason Strudwick ($0.725m)

Nikolai Khabibulin ($3.750m) /Devan Dubnyk ($0.800m)

BUYOUTS: Robert Nilsson ($-0.083m)

CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter)
(these totals are compiled using the bonus cushion)

SALARY CAP: $59,400,000;

CAP PAYROLL: $50,061,167;

BONUSES: $3,977,500

CAP SPACE (22-man roster): $13,316,333

Now remember, these totals don't include players like Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano, Gilbert Brule, Jeff Deslauriers and some others. The 13 million in cap space will disappear pretty quickly once these players are signed. But at least now we have a more clear outlook on where the Oilers stand.

-Written by Smokin' Ray-

Friday, July 16, 2010

Doug Sauter As Ambassador Of The OKC Barons?

Last night after the OKC Barons press conference, I started to think about Doug Sauter and where he stands with the new Barons team and their respective fans. As far as I understand, when the Blazers folded, so did Sauter's association with the club. To the best of my knowledge, Doug Sauter is not presently employed by the Oklahoma City Barons. I could be wrong.

From what I can tell and what I have been told, the fans and the city really liked Doug as the coach of their hometown hockey team. He came in and built a fan base for Oklahoma City and won the respect of those who came to the rink and watched the Blazers. It wasn't just the moustache that made him famous, he won two championships in his time there as coach and won the CHL Commissioner's Trophy in 1995-96 (Awarded to the Coach of the Year as selected by his coaching peers). The man is practically a legend in OKC.

Before the coaches announcement yesterday, fans (message boards and the Barons facebook page) still wanted Sauter back as head coach and some were quite upset that he wasn't chosen. I can now see why there is always so much talk about him. He was good at what he did and the fans loved him for it.

Hearing/reading all this, gave me an idea about what his possibilities are with the Barons for the future since coaching is not an option. 

It only makes sense that Sauter continues on with the "new chapter" of OKC hockey right? So I thought why not? Why not make Doug Sauter the Ambassador of the OKC Barons?

He's for the majority of OKC fans, the fan favorite. I think he could represent the team to the fans well. He could be involved in the community on behalf of the Barons and he could be there in the stands and the concourse on game days to be involved with the fans. He could easily do a lot of things that would appease the Barons fans. That instant fan base he already has gives him a head start over any other person.

Clearly, if this position is to be created, Doug Sauter is the guy I'd hire. He'd be excellent as an ambassador and I think the fans would eat it up even though he's not part of the coaching staff. I think this would make everyone happy. Including Doug.

-Written by Smokin' Ray-

Ryan O'Marra and Greg Stewart Are Signed By Oilers

Ryan O'Marra -- 23 years old and 6’2”, 207lbs -- has agreed to terms with the Oilers on a 1 year deal. Ryan gets another shot at making the Oilers this season, but will most likely spend his time with the OKC Barons.
Left Wing, Gregory Stewart -- 24 years old and 6’2”, 197lbs -- was also signed today by the Oilers. He comes from the Montreal Canadiens organization and spent the majority of his time with the Hamilton Bulldogs. In 45 games last year, he had 10 points (5G, 5A) and 90 penalty minutes.

In the NHL Stewart has played in 26 games and only has the one assist, but does have 48 penalty minutes.

He was drafted by Montreal in 2004. He was taken in the 8th round, 246th overall.
This appears to be another depth signing for the Oklahoma City Barons. Steve Tambellini is doing the right thing with all these 1 year deals. I'm liking the cut of his jib. Keep it up Tamby!

-Written by Smokin' Ray-

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Oilers Steal Barons Thunder? (News From Today)

Today the Oklahoma City Barons held a press conference to announce the new Head Coach, Todd Nelson and his assistant coach, Gerry Fleming.

Once again the Barons put on a great event. They were quick and to the point and followed that up with a Q & A session with the media.

By all accounts, the Barons should be very happy with having a guy like Nelson on board. From the reports and information I have gathered, he seems like a smart and passionate man for hockey. Todd Nelson will be an awesome coach in OKC. The Barons are lucky to have him.

Gerry Fleming was also hired/retained as Nelson's assistant coach. Fleming has been with the Oilers (Falcons) for the past couple years and is no stranger to the Oilers system. The Oilers must like him as he was the only minor league guy to not be fired. Good for Gerry. Just like with Todd, the Barons and their fans are lucky to have a guy like Gerry.

Now what's this Oilers steal Barons thunder thing?

The Barons had planned this PC for a couple of days and had the fans interest peaked, mine included. Just as the conference was starting to get rolling, the Oilers decide that they needed to rise above what the Barons are doing and they announced their assistant coaches at the exact time Bob Funk Jr was getting up to speak.

Go to 2:32pm in the TweetCast box. Proof is there.

How sad is that? Your own baby club is about to announce their "big surprise" when, what the hell? Let's announce our own news. way to market your brand. I really hope the Oilers don't screw this up with the Barons, I like them and I want them to succeed.


The TweetCast went well today thanks to Eric and Scott as they provided some great pictures and tweets. It was also nice for me as I was able to sit down and chat with a few of the loyal readers about the Barons and Oilers at the Cover It Live box. It's always nice to talk to the readers. Thanks to those who stopped by, we value your opinions.


Back to the Edmonton Oilers. Like I said above, they announced their assistant coaches today. No surprises, Kelly Buchberger is welcomed back to the fold. Bucky was on the ice last week for the Oilers Rookie Development camp and we all knew he would be doing something with the Oil this year.

The other man they bring back is Steve Smith. Yes, that Steve Smith. While he has no real experience as a coach, he gets a job with the Oilers and not the Barons. Puzzling. Don't newbies start at the bottom? Not in the old boys club. Both of these hirings have Kevin Lowe stink all over them.This couldn't have been Renney's or Tamby's choice. Could they?

I can not believe that Steve Smith is an Oiler once again.

-Written By Smokin' Ray-

It's Official! Todd Nelson is Head Coach of OKC Barons

Well thanks to the boys (@OilFieldHockey and @AHLBarons) that went down to the OKC Barons Press Conference. Great job as always Scott and Eric!

Todd Nelson has been named the Head Coach of the Oklahoma City Barons. Wooooo! A coach is in place.

Gerry Fleming has also been named as Assistant Coach. Fleming has been with the Oilers for a few years now and will continue his coaching/teaching with the Oilers kids.

Stay tuned for a recap of today's events.

-Written by Smokin' Ray-

Kelly Buchberger and Steve Smith Announced as Assistant Coaches For the Oilers

Wow! The old boys club lives on!

Steve Smith and Kelly Buchberger have been appointed as the new Oilers assistant coaches.

More details to come.

-Written by Smokin' Ray-

Oklahoma City Barons Press Conference LIVE *TweetCast*

Welcome to another fine TweetCast by and

Today we tune into the Oklahoma City Barons press conference where they are expected to announce who their 1st ever Head Coach will be.

It's also expected that they will announce who the assistant coaches will be too.

I have heard reports that the OKC Barons may also announce the Name The Mascot winner as well. Should be an exciting day.

The Press Conference begins at 2:00pm CDT

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Wait Is Over... Well Sort Of

With the announcement finally coming up from the Oklahoma City Barons on Thursday, we are all waiting patiently to find out who will be the Head and Assistant coaches for the OKC Barons. The excitment is killing us!

OK, not really killing us, but we are curious nonetheless.

Will Kelly Buchburger really get a position with the Barons? Will it be a some what unkown group? Will they be local to OKC? Will it be a "fired" Oiler? hint: MacT

On Thurday at 3:00pm MDT, we will find out what they decide. Join us for a LIVE TweetCast of the announcement.

One just has to wonder, when will the GM be named? Isn't that more important to the team?

**Tweetcast brought to you by

-Written by Smokin' Ray-

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Oilers sign Shawn Belle

The Edmonton Journal today reported that the Oilers have signed D Shawn Belle to a One-year/Two-way deal worth 600,000/150,000.

Belle played for the Hamilton Bulldogs for the majority of last season, netting 19 points in 70 games in the regular season as well as 7 points in 19 playoff games. He also made two appearances for the Canadiens. In 311 career AHL games he has 13 goals and 45 assists. In 11 career NHL games he has 1 assist.

Belle should be expected to challenge for the #6 defenseman slot in Edmonton, but will make for a top defenseman in OKC.

-Written by Eric Rodgers-

Live Tweetcast and will be holding a *LIVE* Tweetcast on July 15th starting at 2pm. Of the Official the Announcement of the coaches for the Oklahoma City Barons.

Barons' 2010-11 Opponents Named

The AHL teams today have all been announcing who their opponents are going to be for the 2010-11 season. Of the 21 teams that have announced their opponents so far, the average number of teams that they're playing is about 14-15 different teams. The lowest so far are Providence and Manchester, who will each play 12 teams. The highest so far are Hamilton and Hershey who will each play 18 teams.

The Barons will play 13 out of the other 29 teams in the 2010-11 season, all in the Western Conference. The lone team in the conference they will not be playing will be the Rochester Americans. They will play each of the Texas teams 10 times, five at home and five away. To round out the division, they will play Chicago and Peoria eight times, and Rockford and Milwaukee six times. In the North Division, the Barons will play Lake Erie six times, Abbotsford, Grand Rapids and Manitoba four times, and Toronto and Hamilton twice. Expect the schedule sometime after the NBA schedule is released, as a few of the AHL teams share buildings with NBA teams and need to figure out non-conflicting dates.

The Barons season starts October 9th, hopefully against the Stars.

-Written by Eric Rodgers-

JF Jacques Signs 1 Year Deal With Edmonton Oilers

It appears that JF Jacques smartly avoids arbitration by signing a 1 year deal worth $615,000. It was rumored that he wanted a 2 year deal, but for whatever reasons, he settles for a 1 year deal. The news comes from Jason Gregor of

Stay tuned for more information as we get it.

-Written by Smokin' Ray-

Two Guys & Hockey Talk NHL News (CLICK PIC FOR LINK)

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Oilers Jambalaya is in no way, shape or form associated with the Edmonton Oilers or the Bakersfield Condors. This is a fans blog for fans. We happen to love those teams, so we write about them.