I guess one of us should write something about last night. I know how hard it is to write about this team when there's no "future" so I can't imagine how hard it is to get up for games as a player.
Obviously, as Constantine spoke to us about last night, there are still scouts coming to the games and a large portion of the team has next year's contract to play for, or will be trying to make it to the Wild. And of course personal pride of effort to play for.
As he said (and this struck me because I've learned this personally from playing goal), you're gonna go home after a game either feeling good that you did your best and gave an honest effort, or you're gonna go home feeling like poo because you didn't. There's not a lot of middle ground there and by his estimation, the team was a little embarrassed by Wednesday's 4-0 drubbing.
So, another enjoyable, but meaningless game in the books. Nice to avoid a season series sweep by the dominating Wolves, but thanks to several of their ringers for being out with injuries. No question that helped muffle the Wolves offense.
Of course, I'm still trippin' on the new goalie love for Darcy Kuemper, and wrote some more about it for one of my other gigs over at InGoal Magazine.
It was a real joy to speak with him after the game. He was about to go supernova, he was so excited, and it really epitomizes why I love covering this level of hockey.
BTW, the Wild are swapping Dubielewicz for Khudobin today as they are headed for a couple of games in Canada. So, Anton will be back with the Aeros for a few days.
What's with the oddball refs lately? The guy last night, who is the son of NHL ref Kerry Fraser, really made me miss the low-interference of Jeff Smith. Long discussions after several plays and lots of penalties really affected the flow of the game IMO.
Honestly, the whole game felt a bit odd, but perhaps that's because the guys were playing with purpose like they haven't for a while. It was revealing watching the Kings vs. Canucks Thursday night because, between the Aeros and Wild, I've been mostly watching hockey from teams who have no playoff interests. There's a definite difference.
Only two more, gang. Unless you plan to get to Austin tonight or San Antonio for Game #80 on April 11th. But April 10 will be the last time we see this team. As I mentioned, we went through the roster during a break last night and there are lots of UFAs and guys with AHL contracts on this roster, so it will look very different next year.
What I would love to see is the occasional guy come back. I know other teams do this, but the Aeros haven't for a while. I suppose it's a testament to Kevin Constantine and his staff that so many guys play well and the Wild/Aeros simply aren't willing to shell out for their increased market value.
I think Daoust is a guy they should try to get back. And Rau seems like a good fit, too. But we'll talk more about the changing state of the Aeros roster after the season. Andrew will probably have some good stuff there later on.
Meanwhile, Happy Easter, if you celebrate it. Otherwise, enjoy 75% off chocolate at your local CVS or Walgreens on Monday! See you Tuesday when Rockford, who clinched a playoff spot last night, comes to town.