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

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Aeros slip-sliding down the drain

Although Wednesday's game was entertaining - especially in the third period -- it was equally heart-breaking for the Aeros, who are now the team everyone is circling as the "sure-fire win" on their game schedules.

I think the worst thing about last night's game was that the team lost after doing things that usually garner wins (scoring first, leading after first and having a multiple goal lead in the third period.)

SA Express-News recap
Houston Chronicle Road Report

I thought the Aeros played great defensively in the first period; they kept a lot of shots from getting through, and when they did Anton was in position to make a big save or two. The Aeros got on the board with a nice wraparound by Colton Gillies.

The Rampage tied the game in the second on goal by Brett MacLean, and the Aeros, I thought, were lucky to go into the intermission tied. In the third, the Aeros scored the next two goals, dominated play, and then completely left off the gas when they had the two-goal lead.

When San Antonio made it 3-2, the Aeros panicked and it was only a matter of time for the Rampage. Well, that time came with 13 seconds left in regulation after they held the puck in the Aeros zone for a full minute with Tordjman on the bench.

I did not see anyone trying to block a shot, and I did not see anyone getting in the passing lanes. The Rampage just moved the puck at will, and I don't think Anton had a prayer on the shot by Boedker that was deflected by Stefan Meyer and into the net.

Overtime was fairly even, and after Boedker scored in the first round of the shootout, it was over as the Aeros failed to get anything by Tordjman.

Very disappointing evening for the Aeros, who just keep losing and losing. They are not going to make the playoffs, and they really need to get on a small streak here just to stay out of the basement. These are the times when playing can me, as my five-year old son would say, "not so very much fun."

Deep down, I know the team isn't losing on purpose, and I know they want to win. But there are some key guys on the team that have been very disappointing upon their respective returns from Minnesota. There does not appear to be enough intensity, and it just (to me) looks like guys are playing for the bigger picture as opposed to giving all they can to generate wins "down in Houston."

What do I know? I am just a writer that tries to re-create what happens in a game so those that can't attend will have at least some idea of what went on during the game(s). I have never played hockey, and I am still learning the X's and Os all the time.

But I can say, with high confidence, that I can tell when a team is focused on winning and doing everything possible to extend its season. These Aeros are not doing that. As for why, I have some pretty good ideas and am starting to put a few of those puzzles pieces together. But I don't have enough yet to make a big deal out of that. If I start calling out guys on a blog, then I better damned sure-have my facts straight.

A lot of you see as many games as I do. Why do you think the Aeros are falling apart during crunch time?


B2Bomber said...

This was a VERY disappointing loss escpecially allowing the even marker with just 12.4 seconds left. It seems we were playing "not to lose" instead of playing to win. I felt we were going to give the game away when we went into overtime.......

forecheck said...

The guys are expecting bad things to happen to them,based on past experience,resulting in a self-fullfilling prophecy.

We are expecting bad things to happen, also based on experience. I KNEW after the second SA goal that we would lose in OT.

The Aeros' lack of talent vs their opposition makes it hard to break the pattern. Someone is flat out going to have to vrater on the ice for this to happen.

CatTrick said...

Andrew, your post is "right on" and I agree with B2Bomber's comment as well.

I'm not a "sit still" kind of fan, but listening to last nite's game, I was almost emotionless ... save for one *expletive* when SA scored that GTG in the third. What I think I'm trying to say is, as much as I love the Aeros, I need them to give it their all if they're going to ask me to "Share the Experience" ... in their own words.

This seemed like it would have been a great game to watch ... if you are a Rampage fan ...

artandhockey said...

Well, it WAS a great game to watch..
For the Aeros, coming out full of pep: the first and most of the second went well, the third (well, better draw a veil) the OT went well, neither team scored, then the SO ....NONE of the Aeros incl, 'veterans' such as Hrkac, scored. The first 2 Rampage scored, the others did not either. Rampage skated fast, had good defense, even IF - so they say - they had the worst goalie in the net that night! And Anton was bombarded, pushed and shoved and net dislodged.. we were afraid he'd be sliced by skate, bumped on the head....etc. ROUGH stuff...and yes, there are some boyz whose call up to Minne must have gone to their heads! THINK before ...ah well, Aeros in 6 palce just ahead of Peoria. HUGE SIGH!
For simple pics and 'funny take' go to my blog, LOL.

Forecheck said...

@CatTrick -

"Share the Frustration" just doesn't make for good marketing.

ICEVET said...

Having attended the game, I agree with each and all of your points and would add just two comments.

First, SA likes to use a "take it hard to the net" NHL-type system to attack the opponents zone and net-minder on EVERY shift, adjusting its attack to the game official. Unfortunately, Nygel Pelletier allowed SA to crash the net on at least 3 rushes, without an interference call, putting Anton at considerable risk. NHL refs make a point to control this type of "goalie charging" but Pelletier did nothing (adding to his overall ineffectiveness in officiating the game).

Second, one came away from the game with a gut feeling that the 2009-10 version of the Aeros simply do not have the "will to win"...simply put, they are not ready, willing or able to compete against any of the other 6 teams in the strong Western Division on any given night.

While there is no longer doubt that this season will end bad, accountability must be shared (not just the out-manned players) and the WILD must BEGIN to provide the Aeros with a genuine pool of talent (not just a bunch of "older free-agents" with no reasonable NHL future and/or "walking-wounded" players capable of playing 20-30 games a season) which can be developed to support the WILD as a perennial playoff / Stanley Cup contender.

Go Aeros!

Forecheck said...

So, will the bag heads start showing up at tonight's game?

If so, I wonder how the Ministry of Truth would take it?