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Paajarvi Pandemonium

by Chris Wescott / Edmonton Oilers
When the Edmonton Oilers assigned their former first round pick in the 2009 NHL draft, left wing Magnus Paajarvi to the Oklahoma City Barons, the buzz around the OKC hockey community was understandable.

Magnus Paajarvi brings an ideal combination of speed and puck handling skills that make him a sight to see at the American Hockey League level. Thus far he is enjoying his stay in Oklahoma because of the fan support.

“I haven’t really got to know the city yet,” Paajarvi said. “I’m really surprised by the fans. They’re really loud and it’s a really good atmosphere to play here. It’s fun.”

On December 17, Paajarvi took the ice for the first time as a Baron against the Houston Aeros in a battle for first place in the division.  The game went to a shootout and that’s when forward approached the net at high speed then deked twice going forehand, backhand getting the netminder to commit to the post.

Just as the goaltender shifted to Paajarvi’s left, the forward reached out right and tapped the puck in past the goal line, diving over his opponent in the process.
The crowd went beserk, which got Paajarvi’s attention.

“(The fans are) really nice,” Magnus said after the game. “I didn’t expect this. They were kind of loud actually. They were cheering on us and it was really great to see them standing and yelling when we scored those shootout goals. That was kind of cool. So, great fans.”

Paajarvi’s debut was riddled with fast breakaways and scoring opportunities that gave OKC a taste of what their new talent could do.

“I think the people could see what his assets are.” OKC head coach Todd Nelson said.

The Paajarvi Pandemonium in Oklahoma City got another jolt last week when he pulled off the same shootout move against Rochester, netting another highlight reel goal.

Even the locker room has taken notice. The Barons’ goaltenders weighed in on the move and whether or not they could stop it.

“Absolutely,” David LeNeveu said. “I’ve got to be confident in my own skills. So anytime a shooter comes down I think I’m going to stop them 100% of the time.”

“That’s a good question actually,” Yann Danis said with a laugh. “Next practice we’ll have to try it and see what happens.”
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