Since ... I don't know .. about Christmas, I have been wondering how the Aeros got so good at home. They are 22-10-1-3 at home, good for 48 points. Excellent stuff right? But on the road, they are pretty much that crap team that showed up to play in San Antonio two weeks ago. That is not true, they are just two games below .500 at 13-15-0-5. But those five shootout losses mean they have one of the worst road records among those teams that are in the top two in their division.
But they do play a lot better, overall, at Toyota Center even though five of their seven worst losses have come in that building. (Hamilton, San Antonio, Quad City (twice) and Rockford) ... The games in Hershey and Binghamton were the road duds ... but man, again, I am getting way off topic. I just found out why the team is better at home.
The Peoria paper kept mentioning Steve Wagner being out of the lineup because he was sick. When I was walking out of the press box Sunday, I asked a Rivermen player if he was still sick and he said he had a stomach flu or something. Turns out, he wasn't the only one. Then, I read in the Rockford paper today that Antti Niemi was supposed to start the game against the Aeros when the team came back from 2-0 and 3-1 deficits. Corey Crawford started that game and lost. Niemi didn't play because he, too, was sick.
Obviously, I am just kidding, but if you read that Rockford story, it sounds like they are getting a little desperate for wins. Also, read this newer story in the PJStar. Great breakdown by one of my favorite AHL beat writers, Dave Eminian. To quote Eminian, "I still think the Rivermen will need 90 points to be safe. That means they’ll need to win at least six more games, and scrounge a couple other points."
On January 19, I said the Aeros needed at least 88 points to make the playoffs. At that time, I did not think they were going to get there. Needless to say, 90 points IS going to get you in the postseason. I think 89 does too ...