By Chris Wescott, on 11/11/2011

The Oklahoma City Barons had a good team last season. But being good
doesn't always translate to a championship. One thing that can help the
process along is having a certain attitude in the locker room.

Early this season, the Barons have shown they have that attitude.

"We're finding out that the guys have a swagger about them," head coach
Todd Nelson said after OKC's 3-1 win over Toronto on November 8.

"I call swagger a situation where it doesn't matter what the score is,

you know you can win that game. That's what they're finding out. And
when you play with a swagger, it's not cockiness, it's that
inner-confidence that you know that you can come back on a team or you
can hold that 1-0 lead or 2-0 lead."

The swagger is a welcomed addition to a talented and deep locker room
that boasts a bulk of scoring potential, steady defense, above average
special teams and patient, consistent goaltending. Those combinations
have given OKC their 9-2-0-1 start and possession of first place overall
in the Western Conference of the American Hockey League.

The Barons' attitude has given them the extra push they need to overcome
late game adversity. It has also allowed them to grind out wins in less
than pretty games.

"It seems like we just find ways to win, and good teams do that so it's
a good feeling," team captain Bryan Helmer said.

What helps keep the locker room together is the character of the

 "I just think this is just a big character group of guys in here and
everyone is pulling really hard for one another," said Center Ryan
O'Marra."It makes it a lot easier when we get in trenches and down a
goal or in tough situations. We all believe in ourselves."

Momentum is a funny thing. When it's on your side, it's the best thing
in sports. When it turns the other direction, you need to work hard to
overcome it. That's why, despite their hot start, the Barons are keeping
a level head.

"We're doing well right now, but we're not trying to get too high and
everything," OKC left wing Triston Grant said."We've been having a lot
of fun winning right now and off the ice but our attitude is, we've been
trying to work hard at the right times and everything. Right now, it's
easy for us because we're winning and everybody's having good chemistry
and everything. Just try to keep an even keel and keep on rolling."

Whatever they're doing, it's working. Now that they've found that
swagger, they need to keep it for the 64 games left on the schedule.

"Sometimes teams don't find a swagger and that's something that's very
important," Nelson said. "You need a swagger to win a championship."

The Barons host the Charlotte Checkers tonight at 7 pm CT and again tomorrow night at 7 pm

(return to articles...)

This Article has been viewed: 1221 times