That's a nice post from Heather, below. I thought I would share some of the quotes from after the game, and discuss some other matters.
So it was Darcy Kuemper's first win on the AHL level. And of course, we talked to him.
"It’s a great feeling," he said about getting the win. "I didn’t even know if I would get any playing time when I got called up, and I go in and get my first win. It’s an amazing feeling. I’m on cloud nine."
The kid really does look young. But he held his composure pretty good, especially considering that Colton Gillies and Justin Falk were playing around with him and trying to make him break.
And a positive for him, last night, probably, was just his general ignorance of the league, especially his general ignorance of Chicago. Sure, he saw them, and faced them, on Wednesday, but he just doesn't realize how good they're supposed to be.
"I haven’t seen them [Chicago] play until now, but I heard they’re a good team and have a lot of offense," he said. "I’m not nervous, but in the third period I really realized that I can play at this level. I really calmed down and just played my game. I knew when we got that second one -- to go up 4-2, get the two goal lead -- I knew we were going to win it."
He knew that his play wasn't perfect, and there were some things that he wanted to set right, like that second Chicago goal which came off of a rebound he didn't handle properly. But unlike some young kids, and lots of veterans, he didn't let that goal get into his head.
"I would have liked to have that rebound back," he said, "but it came through traffic, and I was just like ‘you know what, we still have the lead here, we’re in good shape. I just need to play my game and stick with it, and we’ll still get the win.’”
He also gave credit to teammate and fellow goalie Wade Dubielewicz. If you ever watch the Aeros bench on a night when Dubielewicz isn't playing, and you'll note that he's the most vocal coach that you'll ever meet. He's always shouting and encouraging everybody and making suggestions. And during the timeouts last night, he was always confering with Kuemper.
"He’s been great," Kuemper said of Dubielewicz. "I owe him so much. Since the moment I got here he took me under his wing. He taught me a lot about the league, and he keeps teaching me. He’s really helped to calm me down and feel at home."
If you thought the team was playing harder last night than they have recently, then you're right. Kevin Constantine noted afterwards that part of that had to do with protecting Kuemper. But he also noted that a lot of guys figured out that they're now playing for next year, i.e., contracts. And scouts are in the building, so they should probably be trying to impress.
Speaking of next year, Heather noted that there will be a lot of roster turnover. And Andrew will probably deal with this later, like after the season. But for those who are curious, the following players are under a Wild/Aeros contract for next season:
Justin Falk, and
The following are restricted free agents:
Petr Kalus, and
The rest of the roster will be unrestricted free agents, are here on AHL contracts.
So take from that what you will.