HOLTY’S BLOG: Lift the curtain!

Opening Weekend has arrived with plenty of fanfare and many sleepless nights for your (maybe?) favorite blogger.

I may not be your favorite blogger and that’s fine, but as I’ll remind you, it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want.

Now for the blog…

Condors beat writer Mike Griffith with a nice preview article on just five of the faces to keep an eye out for this weekend.

Had winger Joe Gambardella on Condors Insider last night (listen below). Busy offseason for Joe as he ran his own hockey school and worked on improving his skating heading into this season.

Have I mentioned 16 oz. cans of Tioga-Sequoia beers are just $2 tomorrow night? I think I might offer to swap places with any fan for the night! Tickets start at $12 all season long. Great value. Cheers!

Friday night is the 21st home opener in Condors history. They’re 12-7-1 all-time and it will be the first time in the AHL era the team from up the 99 is the opponent. This has been the stats portion of the blog, now back to regularly scheduled nonsense.

The Condors officially submit their Opening Night roster today. There will be five extras on the team to begin the season, which is a little more than usual. But, with Edmonton overseas (they begin in Sweden Saturday), it’s an opportunity to assess players more and gives the coaching staff options.

Goaltender Al Montoya was a great interview yesterday and look for more from Griff this week. He talked a lot about how he’s a hockey junkie and lives off being around the rink, playing the game, and interacting with teammates. I think he will be a tremendous asset from a veteran presence around the dressing room.

What’s Stockton look like Holty? Well, they got Andrew Mangiapane, Jon Gillies, and Rasmus Andersson down from Calgary, so they’ll look pretty similar to last season. One player who did not end up making his way to Stockton was Dillon Dube, their 2nd round pick from 2016, who impressed and made the Flames Opening Night roster.

The other opponent this weekend is San Jose and their strength will be in net with Antoine Bibeau. They’ll have a lot of new faces up front, much like the Condors, so I think both of Saturday’s teams will be reliant early on in the season on the strength of their team defense early on to have success.

Edmonton’s opening night roster features eight players who spent time in Bakersfield over the past three seasons. Pretty nice graphic from the AHL on how many AHL grads are on NHL rosters to begin the season. Of note as well, Laurent Brossoit will open the season on the Winnipeg Jets roster.

Be sure to arrive early on Saturday as the players arrive via a red carpet at 4:30 p.m. Then Mento Buru will perform, there will be food (somebody say taco truck?!?), drinks, games, and fun from 5-7 p.m. That’s all before you can buy $21 adult replica jerseys at the game.

LOCK OF THE WEEK? Man, I’m getting old. Was 2004 really the last time the Red Sox and Yankees met in the postseason? I remember that like it was yesterday. Staying up til 1 or 2 a.m. before getting on a 6 a.m. train to get to my junior year of high school and being a zombie the next day. What a time to be alive.

My four predictions for the division round: Red Sox, Indians, Brewers, Braves

Until next time Condorstown…

Ryan Holt aka Holty is the Voice of the Condors and enters his 8th season in 2018-19. He may turn into Brockmire this weekend. Follow him on Twitter @CondorsHolty for more nonsense or shoot him an e-mail to RHolt@bakersfieldcondors.com with questions, comments, or blog ideas.