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

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Aeros leave Hamilton with a 1-0 win over Bulldogs

Maybe the Aeros *can* score one goal a game and still make the playoffs.

For the 14th time in 22 games this year, the Aeros scored less than three goals. At this pace, when the 80-game regular season is over, the Aeros will have 50 games in which they have scored two goals or less.

Folks ... that is scary. Not Texas Chainsaw Massacre scary. I am talking about forgetting your cell phone at home scary and being afraid your mistress is going to call while your phone is sitting next to your wife scary.

But what also is frightening is Anton Khudobin. He made 26 saves Wednesday and led the Aeros to a 1-0 win over the Hamilton Bulldogs. The Aeros have scored two goals or less in six straight games, and amazingly, they have points (two wins) in three of those games.

Their next six games will feature teams that give up a few goals every now and then, so right now I am confident that the team will hit the previously unthinkable three-goal plateau. But I still can't say enough about Khudobin and the defense.

Neither can Aeros head coach Kevin Constantine.

"(When you are struggling offensively) you are only going to win by making sure you are not giving up a lot and giving yourself a chance," said Constantine. "Anton did that the other night against Milwaukee in the first period and in the rest of the game. And he did it tonight. He is a big, big part of us hanging in there right now until hopefully we get a little health here and the Wild get a little health here."

Speaking of health, the Aeros lost Max Noreau with an undisclosed injury. Constantine said he left the game shortly after assisting on the JM Daoust (his fourth) power play goal. Also, Jamie Fraser sustained a pretty bad cut, but Constantine said he would likely be OK to play, if needed, Saturday.

As for Noreau?

"Noreau is hurt, and I don't even know where," added Constantine.

I am no doctor, but unless Constantine was faking his tone when explaining Max' injury, my bet is that he is out for at least a week. We'll see.

Miscellaney ....

For the first time in several years, the Aeros will be spending Thanksgiving on the road. When teams are at home, they spend time in small groups, cook for each other and wind down. When they are on the road, in upstate New York, well, I guess you figure out where to ... play more hockey!

"We don’t know what we are doing yet, and we have a four or five hour drive ahead of us to think about it," said Constantine. "We have not had a practice yet this week as a team. We gave them Monday off, traveled all day Tuesday and played today. We have not practiced in five days, so we might try to find some ice...."

Or ...

"We might just go out and make it just a team day. Just kind of hang out maybe a do some team building. We have not really made a decision on that."

Needless to say, the Aeros will get some time together as a team.
Their power play is getting better, their PK is No. 1 in the AHL, and Anton Khudobin can feasibly play every game for the Aeros until the Aeros play three games in three nights at Chicago, Rockford and Milwaukee Dec. 30 - Jan.1, 2010.

He'll get a day off before then I am sure ... but this dude is clearly the team's MVP right now. Argue that, my friends, and you'll lose.


ICEVET said...

Your emerging recognition of Khudobin's performance and his value to the Team resonates with serious Aeros fans. As you aptly stated, he has been the (MVP)backbone of this (new) Aeros team, still trying to find itself.

Going back to his first shutout against Peoria in last year's Playoffs, it was apparent that he had huge potential and needed only a mentor (KC) and consistent game-time to develop. After nearly 18 Playoff games and 14 current season contests (4 shutouts), he has managed to silence most of his early critics.

Hopefully, he will remain healthy and be allowed to stay with the Aeros (without further WILD call-ups). Go Aeros!

Joe Healy said...

I couldn't agree with you more about Khudobin. With this team's aversion to scoring binges, I shudder to think where they'd be without his steady hand.

artandhockey said...

Yep, Khorasho to Khudobin.
So you are, too, jumping on 'the Dimples' Bandwagon.
What a pleasant early Thanksgiving gift and no Pilgrim in sight.
Just 3 Messieurs from Canada and one from Kazakhstan? :-) Sure do hope Maxim will rebound, and Sifers, too.
Just saying..