I honestly forgot to blog last week. I had it on my weekly “to-do” list which @KevinBartl tells me to check to make sure I do not forget anything. However, I didn’t check it, I didn’t blog, and well, did you notice?
So it’s a Wednesday blog! You may only read Thursday blogs, but tomorrow we’re flying for a good chunk of the day, so as I’ll remind you, it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want…
Now for the blog.
– We begin with the trade of RW Taylor Beck to the New York Rangers for RW Justin Fontaine. Fontaine has spent the past three seasons in the NHL with Minnesota and provides depth for the Oilers. He’s expected to start in Bakersfield and should join the team this week. Beck gets a new organization to potentially earn more NHL playing time.
– I said (or typed, I think?) with 24 games left in the regular season that 16-8-0 gets the Condors in the playoffs. Since that time, Bakersfield is 4-1-0. So, 12-7-0 down the stretch gets the team comfortably in, but if the trends continue with the bottom four teams in the Pacific Division, fewer than 12 wins may be enough.
– That said, there is not a person down in that Condors dressing room who is concerned with anything going on with any other team. From the top-down, it is all about focusing on their game. They couldn’t care less about what other teams are doing. Bakersfield knows that the “puck is in their zone” over the final 19 games to make the playoffs.
– I know they’re not looking at other teams, but I am. Tucson plays five straight on the road in San Diego for two and Ontario for three. Over that time, the Condors have Charlotte twice, Stockton twice, and Ontario at home. Advantage Condors schedule-wise.
– Here’s the AHL Playoff Primer. Look at the “SOS” (Strength of Schedule) column. Condors have the “easiest” path between themselves, Tucson, and Stockton. That page updates every day and is a very handy resource.
– Remember when Josh Currie had an ECHL contract in 2015? Since being called up midway thru last year, earning an AHL contract and re-signing in Bakersfield, he has made himself a fixture down the middle. A hat trick last night, four points, and now 13 goals on the season. And an even better person. He’s well-liked and respected in that room and has the trust of the coaching staff. As Gerry always says, “you need a Maritime guy on every team.”
– Speaking of Monsieur Fleming, last night was his 400th professional head coaching victory. It started in Tallahassee, took him to Estero, out to Oklahoma City, and now Bakersfield. Felicitations!
– Nick Ellis is in that mix as well for “Sixth Man,” with Currie and a guy like Joey LaLeggia. I remember sitting on the eve of the regular season in Winnipeg watching the Oilers when Laurent Brossoit was recalled and the season opener turned to an undrafted rookie. He turned away all 28 last night for his first professional shutout and his .924 save percentage is now tied for third among AHL goalies.
Until next time Condorstown…
Ryan Holt, a.k.a. Holty is in his sixth season in Condorstown. Catch him live on Saturday at 3 p.m. and Sunday at 10 a.m. from Charlotte for the team’s first-ever trip there. Follow him on Twitter @CondorsHolty for more nonsense or shoot him an e-mail to Rholt@bakersfieldcondors.com with questions, comments, or blog ideas.