Oklahoma City Barons defenseman Bryan Helmer is one of 29 finalists for the Yanick Dupre Memorial Award, which goes to one American Hockey League player for outstanding community involvement. The award is named after a former Hershey Bears forward Yanick Dupre, who died 1997 after a 16-month battle with leukemia.
Helmer, the Barons' captain, is in his second season with Oklahoma City and 19th in pro hockey. The former NHL player brought with him the Helmer's Heroes charity program, which provides game tickets to youngsters with severe medical issues. The AHL will announce the Dupre Memorial Award winner in the next few weeks.
*Barons goaltender Yann Danis was selected by players, media and coaches as an AHL first-team All-Star for the entire season. Danis has 25 wins; 2.11 goals against average; .924 save percentage; and five shutouts. The current 2.11 GAA would break Triple-A-level hockey record for an Oklahoma City goaltender. Russ Gillow finished the 1967-68 season with a 2.16 GAA for the original Oklahoma City Blazers, who were affiliated with the Boston Bruins.
*The Barons host the Peoria Rivermen at 7 p.m. Friday and the Chicago Wolves at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Cox Center. Oklahoma City (43-19-9) has already clinched the West Division championship, and this weekend's games might provide a playoff preview. Chicago (38-26-6) has clinched a postseason berth, but Peoria (37-30-4) is barely hanging in the race for the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference. The Rivermen will come in desperate for standings points.
For the Barons, fixing little problems and keeping players healthy are the goals until the postseason begins the week of April 16.
“Hopefully, we can get through the next couple of weeks healthy and get some guys back from Edmonton and get some guys back from injuries as well,” Barons coach Todd Nelson said. “The playoffs are a very emotional time, and we want to make sure to refine our game right now. Try to get better at the little things.”
*Do not expect forward Linus Omark to rejoin Oklahoma City for the postseason. The Edmonton Journal reports Omark, who was promoted to the Oilers in March, would have to clear NHL waivers before an assignment to Oklahoma City. A trade might be in the works; the Journal said the Oilers would like to get something in return for Omark, who had 16 points in 18 games for the Barons. The Swede has missed most of the season with a broken ankle.
Peoria Rivermen at Barons
*When: 7:05 p.m. Friday
*Where: Cox Center
*Tickets: Available at Cox Center box office. Prices start at $10.
*Radio: KXXY-FM 96.1