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

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Aeros have mo, mo, momentum.

Schedule-wise, December is going to be very kind to the Aeros. Eight of their next 10 will be at home, and the two road games will be played inside Texas (one at San Antonio and one at Texas).

The Aeros team that I thought would be lucky to win one of their three road games last week, just took two of three and has points in four straight overall. They are all alone in second place in the West division and have pulled within eight points of the Texas Stars.

Back to the OT win in Toronto. The win was filled with character and all sorts of fun warm fuzzies that should make you feel good about being an Aeros fan this morning.

Chad Rau scored an incredible goal to give the team a 1-0 lead in the second, but the Marlies tied things up with a goal in the third, a period they pretty much dominated.

Wade Dubielewicz was sharp when he had to be, and he was the topic of conversation after the game. Seems the Aeros felt bad for the guy, and not being able to, as Kevin Constantine said after the game, "give him much run support."

Dubielewicz won his first game since that amazing comeback shootout win over Hamilton on Oct. 27 at Toyota Center. Since then, a span of six games, the Aeros' backup has done nothing but allow two goals or fewer. And his goals against average has fallen from 2.77 to a very solid 2.18.

His November numbers are impressive. Sure, he had just the one victory. But his GAA for the month was 1.60 with a .932 saves percentage. Those are in line with what Anton Khudobin has put up all year.

"He played great in the third," said Constantine. "He gave up a goal, but he was really solid. That is what we needed. He has played really well this year, but we just have not been able to get a win for him. So I am sure just getting a win feels great for him personally."

I, and each of my colleagues that cover the Aeros, have been critical of Dubielewicz' play this season. There always seems to be an in-game let down. A lack of concentration that leads to the dreaded softie. As anyone who follows this team knows, one softie spells death with this offensively devoid hockey club.

But, despite the lazy play at times, and despite the ego hit of going to potential backup in Minnesota to rarely-used backup in the AHL, he attitude has been incredible. He cheers them on from the bench, pays attention to the game, and has been very solid when he's had to jump in and take over for the rare Anton bomb.

Constantine said it better.

"I did not know him as a goaltender and a person prior to this year. But now, from a leadership and character standpoint, he has been absolutely flawless," added Constantine. "He has had such a positive attitude, and he is very vocal. He is actually very astute on the game when he is on the bench.

"As a backup goalie, he is talking to the guys on the bench about what is going on on the ice. He sees the game like coach. He has been fantastic that way, and he has been a good goalie too. We just have not been able to get any wins for him. He has been great the whole year."

Miscellaney ...

The Aeros were able to save a crap load of money by flying to Detroit and then busing to Hamilton, and then to Syracuse and then to Toronto in the middle of the night for the Saturday game against the Marlies.

Constantine said the Aeros will bus back to Detroit Sunday (today) and then fly home Monday. The team will get the rest of that day off before getting back to work Tuesday in advance of the team's home and home series against San Antonio.

The Aeros should get a little more information this week on a few key players out with injuries.

"Right now, we don’t know exactly where guys like Testwuide, Hilbert and Almond are," said Constantine. "I would guess that Hilbert is the closest at this point. Hopefully Andy is back this week, but it might be a couple of weeks before we get the other guys back."

I then joking asked Kevin if he and the coaching staff prays before every Wild game because of the big club's horrendous luck with injuries this year.

"That is right because we really need them healthy too. It really does affect us," said Constantine. "Hopefully no one else gets hurt up there."


artandhockey said...

Good story, Andrew...
so what gave with Noreau?
First he seemed out for a while, yet there he was... IRONMAN Noreau? HUH?
And RAU-WOW, the Scrapper, Kalus, Milroy finding his icelegs, all guyz doing their best.
Just like to give nicknames.....
as I see them ;-)

WRT - Wild Road Tripper said...

Andrew: You said: "The Aeros were able to save a crap load of money by flying to Detroit and then busing to Hamilton, and then to Syracuse and then to Toronto in the middle of the night for the Saturday game against the Marlies."

Would they not have saved more money by flying to/from Buffalo?
Would have saved the Aeros a lot of bus mileage (at $4-5/mile live, $3-4/mile deadhead).

Not saying, just sayin'...

Forecheck said...

One other plus for Dubie - as far as anyone knows, he hasn't driven his Caddy into a fireplug lately.

Andrew J. Ferraro said...

WRT --

As far as I know, the roundtrip tickets from Houston to Detroit are cheaper than having to fly to Newark, Cleveland, Detroit or Minneapolis and then changing planes to Buffalo.

There are no non-stop flights from IAH/HOU to BUF, so a change is necessary. Also, with the effect the recession has had on the airlines (capacity cuts, reductions in work force)airlines have pulled their mainline fleet off the routes to Buffalo and replaced them with 50-70 seater regional planes.

With those flights (between Twin Cities, Detroit, Atlanta, Cleveland, Newark and Charlotte), there are less seats and less capacity for luggage, etc.

In other words, the price of the tickets and bag fees go way up with the change of the smaller planes to Buffalo.

To Detroit, the team gets a mainline airplane (either an Airbus A320/A319 or a Boeing 737, depending on whether or not they flew Northwest (Delta) or Continental)and they all fit on one jet with their bags.

I am actually surprised they did not choose Cleveland as their destination as opposed to Detroit, but the Mileage is a little bit less to and from the Motor City to Hamilton/Toronto.

Art and Hockey --

For now, I guess Noreau's injury remains undisclosed, and was probably done that way on purpose by the team.

We will ask around this week to see what we can find out.

Forecheck said...

I know that to fly back home non-stop now I have to fly a regional jet on Continental or Delta, or take about a 6AM departure on Air-Tran (which at least flys Boeing 717s, but the airline itself is a total joke). Those ATR regional jets have the most uncomfortable seats ever made (zero padding)and on Continental they recline maybe 1 1/2 inches. They are made for 30-45 minute commuter flights, not 2-3 hour cross-country flights!

Also, this Thanksgiving there were no pillows or blankets on either flight (essential supplimental padding for the be-hind, but apparently a waste of fuel to ExpressJet), plus they charged me $20 to check my one freakin' bag which won't fit inside the cabin of their small jet but would easily fit overhead on a real jet.

The airlines are the only industry in the world that can treat their customers like garbage and get away with it. If we treated our customers that way (making them physically uncomfortable, making it as inconvenient as possible to use their service, having incomprehensible pricing rules/structures, and holding them hostage for sometimes hours on end), we would be out of business in a few weeks- and in the last case some of us would be in jail.

And people wonder why I hate flying.

Word verification "bledoiv" - As in "The Aeros and Wild have experienced a bledoiv of injuries lately".

Andrew J. Ferraro said...

Quoting Forecheck ...

"The airlines are the only industry in the world that can treat their customers like garbage and get away with it."

Actually, "they get away with it" because of the customer's behavior ... not the airlines' behavior.

Let me explain:
The price of a ticket from Houston to Los Angeles in 1975 is about the same as what it is TODAY. What? Yes ...! Do you think is costs the same amount of money to fly a customer from IAH to LAX today? Negative.

Low cost carriers set the price in the market, and the flying public has proved over the last 20 or so years that they are NOT willing to pay $100 more for a ticket to get the service they used to get.

The only way service gets better is for prices to go up.

Forecheck said...

Andrew - More than willing to pay for it.

All - The best way to describe those regional jets ExpressJet flies for Continental would be "flying clown cars".

Ms. Conduct said...

I'm the only one who likes the express jets. No chance of a middle seat. :)

artandhockey said...

If Max skated WITH injuries ..well.. IRONMAN fits..and he should be sitting in fro(n)tlimo(word) ;-)

Forecheck said...

True, Ms.

I try to sit in the single seat on the left and set up a force field to keep everyone else out of my space - - - what three square inches of space Continental Express or ComAir give me.

Still, the force field was no defense against the sounds of the three screaming babies on the flight, and the smell coming from two seats over where the woman vomited mid-flight...

See why I love flying?

FinnAir said...

I just love the Greyhound.

This starts on the 11th of April:

So at least there will be some hockey in the South. Anybody been to that Lomas Verdes rink in Mexico City?

ICEVET said...

To Mr. Ferraro: As usual you have provided an superb post covering technical issues and Team insider locker-room observations, in standing with the high-quality of all 3TI posts.

Having followed your blogsite, since the Playoffs, several rhetorical observations come to mind:

. there appears to be a diminishing number of commentators...is it due to lack of interest or a real decline in the number of serious Aeros fans?

. many commentators appear to "nibble around the edges"....not responding to the core facts of your posts (in this case for example, dwelling on air-travel innuendos v. core hockey issues)?

. many commentators appear to be ill-informed about what is really happening in the hockey world (adding nothing to the discussion of the quality content of your posts).

Noting that the "Artandhockey Blog" has also raised similar issues...you'all do a great job!
Go Aeros!

John Royal said...

Icevet, I know you adressed this to Andrew, but I'd like to have a go at it...

I don't think the lack of commenters is from a lack of interest. I think people are just tired and distracted at the moment. We had a busy summer. Far busier and intense than I wanted. We had the roster moves, managment shake-ups, and personnel moves. And there was a lot of passion, anger, etc at that time. And I think people are just a bit burnt-out. I think the commenting will pick up as the season progresses and as the playoffs draw near.

artandhockey said...

To JR... mighty optimistic aren't we, re play-offs.
Sure hope the predictions do come true!
To FinnAir, No to Lomas Verde, but maybe the air will be 'healthier' in Mexico, soon!

Rob said...

I turned off the Aeros in late July and assumed my interest would return with the start of the new season. That did not happen. No ignition. In fact my interest has now apparently entered into a flat spin. I've given away more tickets than I've used this year and at the rate things are going I'll drop some or all of my seats for next season. I don't think I'm burned out about hockey as a sport but I sure don't seem to be able to get excited about the Aeros and unfortunately that attitude has carried over to the Wild and to a lesser degree, hockey in general. As far as this comprehensive blog goes, I've gotten to where I mostly skim over the posts but do read the comments, especially if those comments are about nibbled edges. I am hopeful that my Aeros malaise will turn around but at the moment, BB King's 'The Thrill Is Gone' suits my frame of mind.

artandhockey said...

@Rob, yeah no 'magic' there, despite the almost maniacal playing, as I've posted on my blog a few days ago.
And I admit hockey still keeps me "entertained", but NO emotional involvement as was the case the last season (Locke, Kolanos, Beaudoin ;-). Better Half and I will attend several games by OTHER teams...for the pure entertainment value ;-).