Houston Aeros 1994-2013: Thank you for all the great memories and two decades of great hockey and entertainment.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

11/22 -- Aeros v. Admirals -- The Hey Bulldog Edition

It was bring your dog day at the Toyota Center today, and for the first period, the Aeros themselves played like dogs on the ice as the Milwaukee Admirals took the 1-0 lead at 4:19 after former Wild prospect Ryan Jones continued extracting his revenge on the Aeros. But the Aeros were lucky. They were out-hustled, out-played, and just about out- everything in the first period. Thankfully, Anton Khudobin didn’t play like a dog and he was able to keep the Aeros in the game.

The Aeros showed up for the second period, and at 19:57, Petr Kalus tipped a laser of a shot from Max Noreau, who was way up high, into the net to tie the game at 1-1. And the Aeros, just like many games past, had many, many good opportunities to win the game in the third period. But the Aeros, as has been their wont, just couldn’t finish which meant they just couldn’t get the puck into the net.

“We could have won it four, five, six times in regulation,” Kevin Constantine said afterwards, but they didn’t.

The game went into overtime where the Aeros and the fans were put out their misery by Cal O’Reilly at 2:39 as O’Reilly just refused to let Khudobin keep blocking his shot, finally shoving it past him after Khudobin stopped several attempts to make the final score 2-1.

“We had, I thought, our worst first period of the year,” Constantine said. “We were just asleep. Whatever the reasons would be I don’t know. I thought Khudobin kept us in the game in the first period. Otherwise it might have been two, three-nothing and we would’ve never come back.”

As it was, the Aeros did come back. They just couldn’t do anything else once they got there.

“We’ve got to score more,” Constantine said.

But somehow, that might be easier said than done.

The Aeros now stand at 10-10-1-0 (21 points) on the season. The good news is, that despite their inability to score, they’re in a four-way tie for second place. The bad news is that they’re in four-way tie for fifth place. They next hit the ice on Wednesday when they take on the Hamilton Bulldogs in Hamilton. They’re play the Syracuse Crunch in Syracuse on Friday and the Toronto Marlies in Toronto on Saturday.


Brandon Rogers and Jamie Fraser were healthy scratches tonight. The primary reason was that Constantine actually had enough forwards on the roster to actually send 12 of them out on the ice for the same game. He also wanted to get a good look at Brandon Buck who joined the club on Friday night.

Constantine was pleased with what he saw from Buck, and the sense from our conversation was that Constantine would like to see him stick around on the club. However, he did make it clear that roster moves were above his pay grade.

And speaking of roster moves…there’s a possibility that there will be more of them tomorrow, depending, of course, on how the Wild’s practice goes tomorrow, and depending on who is actually healthy enough to play. So it’s possible that Danny Irmen, Nathan Smith, or someone else could be on their way to Minnesota tomorrow.

Constantine is, of course, pleased with this goaltending and defense. And the play of both of those units, especially of Anton Khudobin, has been fantastic. Constantine’s not happy with his lack of goals, but he’s not displeased by the effort of his offense.

This isn’t like the offense that the team had two seasons ago. These guys are able to create on the offensive end, and you can see it happening. What isn’t happening, however, is the team putting the puck in the net. But what’s the solution? Well, if you have a solution, I’m sure Constantine would like to hear from you.

And no matter how bad the Aeros might look right now, you should probably be grateful for one thing. You’re not a fan of the San Antonio Rampage. It seems like just last week that we were talking about San Antonio being, along with Texas, the class of the division.

But in the past several weeks, the Rampage have gone 0-8-1-1 to drop like an anchor to last place in the division. Meanwhile, in a complete turnaround, the Chicago Wolves, who were so bad to start the season that the head coach was fired, has gone 7-3-0-0 for its last 10 game to climb into the tie for second place.

Now excuse me while I go off on a rant….

But someone needs to pay a bit more attention to the sound crew. On multiple occasions tonight the music was playing during game action -- it even started up once or twice during game play. It was bad enough that someone let Steve Vidal start shouting one of the quizzes during game action, but there’s no real excuse for the music. The Aeros might be a minor league team, but there’s no reason the arena atmosphere should be minor league.

Now I’m going to play us out tonight with a song that is appropriate for two reasons. Tonight, after all, was Bring Your Dog Day -- we could hear Heather’s dog all of the way in the press box -- so I would think The Beatles’ “Hey Bulldog” would be a great song anyway. But then there’s the fact that the Aeros next game is against the Bulldogs, which makes it just that much better. So here’s The Beatles with “Hey Bulldog.”

Oh, and I just want to wish everyone reading us here in the States a Happy Thanksgiving holiday.


Forecheck said...

The TC sound engineer needs to be fired.

This has been going on for multiple years - mics not on while people are singing (or worse sometimes - mics that are ON when they are singing), sound so loud you can't hear a normal conversation when you leave (or you have a headache), music playing while the game is on, or as we heard last night, Cotton Eyed Joe starting on an offsides (or was it a hand pass) by the Admirals.

Now, was that "rock orchestra" Friday night actually as horrible as they sounded (about like finger nails on a chalk board), or was it the TC sound?

And we still can't get a decent in-arena announcer - one who understands the game and doesn't try to be the head cheerleader.

OK end of rant. But at least I didn't rant about the boring offense.

artandhockey said...

Brandon Buck did very well IMO...seems, that kid has the talent.
Anton was almost stellar (he did let in 2, the last on a rebound).

They seem to skate so hard, and yet..., Zingoni was in the midst of so much and yet..., others skated 'nervously?'..and some seemed to spend the first period 'in training' for the next periods:-), or in opera parlance 'warming up their cords'...

Ally said...

I have a solution for the offense. Somebody needs to park it in the slot. Do they not realize that everytime the puck goes into the corner and they dig it out, it ends up being cleared out of the zone because they were ALL in the corner!? On the power play, they have to stop looking for the perfect pass and just put the puck on net and have somene in the slot ready for rebound. And is there anyone that can shoot off their backhand?

ICEVET said...

All the credit goes to the Admiral's leader Cal O'Reilly (19 points in just 12 games) "who just refused to let Khudobin (no. 2 AHL goalie) keep blocking his shot" (as stated). Nonetheless, fans are entitled to ask why the Aeros defensemen failed to deny O'Reilly his dominating position in the crease.

With regard to ongoing concerns about the Offense, "the chickens have come home to roost". After hard work and discipline comes talent (KC commentary at the beginning of the season). The Aeros have the first two, but come up short on the third, a reality known before the season began. Worse, they have no Quarterback (like Corey Locke, the current AHL scoring leader) who can connect the dots in the man- advantage and odd-man rushes.

Finally, Aeros fans may have noticed the spectacular play of Admiral center (no.33) Colin Wilson, 2009 US college hockey player of the year and Nashville's first draft choice in 2008. This is an example of the type of raw talent which could spark the WILD (and Aeros) in years to come. come.

B2Bomber said...

I concur about the microphone and sound problems. I'd also like to add my 3 cents (inflation) about Gillies. Is it just me? I don't think he's really contributing that much to the team. I know he got a couple million contract when was signed a year or so ago, but he sure hasn't impressed me much. I also agree with Ally. Too many times we could have scored if there had been someone in front of the net.

Forecheck said...

ICEVET - It's OK that the Aeros have no quarterback. After all, the Texans don't have a kicker (grumble,grumble) abd they are a football team.