HOLTY’S BLOG: Questions Going into the Season

According to my calendar, at this very moment next week, there will be 30+ players in Bakersfield getting prepared for the Condors first training camp of the Troy Mann era. Seven days. Otherwise known as 168 hours or 10,080 minutes. Or 604,800 seconds. In the words of @KevinBartl at our staff meeting yesterday …. PANIC.

Wait, we shouldn’t panic. We know exactly what we’re doing. After all, this is President Matthew Riley 16th go round …. VP Jose Rivera’s 15th …. VP Justin Fahzy Fahsbender’s 10th (with a couple other jobs mixed in) … Heck, even Bartl is celebrating 10 years this year. (Sidenote: I was a sophomore in high school when Bartl started working here.)

Every year though, we stress. There are promotions to be scheduled, programs to be finalized, ticket packets to be stuffed, jersey designs to be created, media guides to be completed, commercials to be filmed…You get the picture. We have a lot to live up to and our expectations are even higher this year.

I will level with you though, Condorstown, I haven’t even thought about hockey yet. But, for this blog, I will. What am I looking forward to this season? I’ll give you four on-the-ice hockey questions (and answers), not five, because @WillHoenike hates five.

Again, I’ll remind you, it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want … But, I like to keep people happy.

1) Which rookie (or rookies) will step up offensively? We know who Chris Collins, Joel Broda, Jordan Knackstedt are and what they will bring to the table. But, which one of the talented rookies will step up? I look at a guy like Louke Oakley, who is currently in Hershey’s AHL camp, to potentially have a good first season. We saw what Nicholas Tremblay did last season and not that it is an apples-to-apples comparison, but Oakley had similar college numbers. Plus, if Tremblay ever got sent down from OKC, there is already chemistry between them.

2) What will the Condors goalie tandem look like? Hey great question, Holty! Second-year netminder Paul Karpowich is under contract and coming to camp. But, who will be the other goalie between the pipes? Currently, there are four netminders in OKC’s main camp. Richard Bachman isn’t coming to Condorstown, so we look at the other three, Olivier Roy, Tyler Bunz, and newly signed rookie Ty Rimmer. Bunz and Rimmer figure to be the candidates that could come to Bakersfield. Rimmer has impressed the Oilers contingent during camp, and Bunz certainly has something to prove. This is a situation to keep an eye on, Condorstown.

3) Systematically, how can we expect the team to play this season? This goes right to the coaching staff and their philosophies. Whether on camera or just sitting around the office talking shop, both Troy and Murph have preached pressure, making the other team make plays, and being aggressive. They’ve already broken down film for training camp. I like to hear this, because at the ECHL level, guys will make mistakes (and often). It will allow not only turnovers to be forced, but defensemen to jump up in the play, and less time spent in our own end. Expect the penalty kill to be one of the best in the league.

4) Will the Condors make the playoffs? Yes, and I’m looking forward to calling playoff hockey. Even though I don’t make predictions, I will go so far to say, the Condors will finish in the top four this season. What happens in the playoffs? Well, as those clowns from the city which shall not be named proved last year, anything can happen.

Until next time Condorstown…

Ryan Holt a.k.a. Holty, is the voice of the Condors and recently wrapped up year two in Condorstown. It’s queen to make it funny. Have a #HoltysBlog idea? Follow him on Twitter @BroadcastHolt or shoot him an email with ideas to rholt@bakersfieldcondors.com