The Oklahoma City Barons are in training camp at the Cox Convention Center. The Barons' NHL affiliate, the Edmonton Oilers, have started to send prospects down for the 2011-2012 American Hockey League season. The Oklahoman will visit one-on-one with both veteran players and youngsters throughout the season as they work toward making the Oilers roster.
* Position: Goaltender
* Age: 28
* Height, weight: 6-1, 187
* Hometown: Fernie, British Columbia, Canada
* First pro contract: The former Cornell star was selected in the second round of the 2002 NHL Draft by the Phoenix Coyotes. LeNeveu has 22 games of NHL experience, including 21 with the Coyotes. He played one game last season with the Columbus Bluejackets.
* Famous friends: His first professional coach was former NHL tough guy Marty McSorley in Springfield, Mass. LeNeveu's first coach in the NHL was the game's greatest player ever, Wayne Gretzky in Phoenix. LeNeveu has also been on the same team with Brett Hull, Curtis Joseph and Rick Nash.
* Frequent flier miles: LeNeveu has made plenty of stops since leaving college for pro hockey. He has suited up for AHL teams in Springfield, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, Hartford (Conn.) and Des Moines (Iowa). LeNeveu even spent a season in the European Elite League with Salzburg, Austria.
* Card wars: You will not have any trouble finding trading cards of LeNeveu. Plenty are on the market, and most can be found on eBay. An authentic autographed card is currently for sale with a minimum bid of $9.99.
* LeNeveu said NHL paychecks helped him have a nice car early on in my career, “but now I have a family, a wife and two kids. Now it's all about making sure we have enough money in the bank to get them what they need and what the entire family needs.”
* How long should it take a goaltender to forget about letting the other team score?
“It has to be instant. If the red light goes on, you just take mental notes like check your position, see what kind of mistakes you might have made. You take a drink of water and then it's over. But if you're still thinking about it after that puck drops again, then you're going to get in trouble. You can sometimes tell a goalie's morale by the slump in their shoulders. ”
* What does it feel like when a puck hits your mask? Even though you're protected, goalies often need a little time to clear the bells and whistles.
“When it hits you, you have a little bit of ringing in your ears because it's so loud. Sometimes, you can smell burned rubber. It usually doesn't hurt. It hurts way more to get hit in the collarbone or the neck.”
* You have to admire early day goaltenders that played without a mask.
“Crazy. I can't believe ... I tell guys here that when they go down to help block shots for me that they're nuts. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate all of their help, but I have a lot more equipment for protection than they do. The goalies back in the day were nuts, too.”
* When all the action is at the other end of the ice, what do you think about? Do you look into the crowd? Do you talk to yourself, maybe sing?
“No, I'm wondering what's going to happen when the puck comes back to my end. If you're thinking about who is in the crowd or ‘when's this game going to be over,' or stuff that happened yesterday or going to happen tomorrow, it's just like thinking about the last goal you gave up. Me, when that puck's down there, I'm thinking, ‘OK, how are they going to break out? How are they going to enter the zone? What am I going to do for that next wave of attack?'”
* Do you like shootouts to decide a game?
“It's great when you win, and it sucks when you lose. But I'm all for promoting the game and enhancing the game for the fans. Without the fans and the support, then we don't have a job. If the fans approve of it, then I'm on their side. If they don't approve of it, then let's take it away.”
HOUSTON AEROS AT OKLAHOMA CITY BARONS
* What: Exhibition game between division rivals
* When: 7:05 p.m. Friday
* Where: Cox Convention Center
* Tickets: Available at the Cox Center box office. Tickets are $10, and all seating is general admission,
* Affiliations: Oklahoma City is the top farm team for the NHL's Edmonton Oilers. The Aeros are affiliated with the Minnesota Wild.
* Scouting report: Edmonton sent three players to Oklahoma City on Thursday. Forward Antti Tyrvainen, defenseman Colten Teubert and goaltender Yann Danis are expected to join the Barons on Friday, but they might not play in the exhibition game. Teubert is the only player of the three who spent time last season with the Barons. ... Oklahoma City coach Todd Nelson released 14 players from the training camp roster. Defenseman Luke Lucyk and goaltender Ian Keserich were among those released, but they have a job waiting for them with the Tulsa Oilers of the Central Hockey League. Forwards Colton Yellow Horn (Allen Americans) and Thomas Beauregard (Wichita Thunder) are also headed to the CHL.