So was this a strange day of hockey, or what? I know these kiddie games have become a part of every season, but it just seemed strange having to be at the arena that early in the day. I felt out of synch, and the players definitely looked like they were out of it. Still, the Aeros seemed to awake in the third period to tie the game at 2-2 and at 3-3, then they were able to get the win in the shootout as, once again, Anton Khudobin came through when it mattered while the Aeros shooters were able to get a few pucks past the Rockford netminder.
The win moves the Aeros to 12-9-1-2 (27 points) on the season, and puts them in fifth place, one point ahead of the Texas Stars and one point behind Oklahoma City for fourth place. Now for a few thoughts.
1. When did Matt Kassian turn into a good player, skills wise? I've always like Kassian, but he got the assist on the first goal today because he went behind the net for a wraparound like he was one of those skilled and graceful goal scorers we all hear about. I don't think he would have been able to pull off that move several seasons ago, or even last season.
2. And Cody Almond emerged from the dead, assisting on the first two goals and getting the game-tying goal at the 18:41 mark of the third.
3. Mike Yeo said that Almond's been working up to this game: "I think that he’s been getting a fair amount of chances lately and hasn’t been getting rewarded for them. It was definitely nice to see him find the back of the net. I think he’s been doing a lot of nice things, so hopefully that will reinforce a lot of those things that he’s been doing."
4. It seemed that both teams were just sleep-walking through that first period. Yeo sensed that they would have some problems before the game. He said that there was this lack of energy and urgency with the team before the game started.
5. I didn't mind the screaming kids that much -- thanks for the ear plugs, Heather. And I'm thankful that the Toyota Center sound crew kept the Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber to a minimimum.
6. That said, it seemed a bit strange to be playing The Black-Eyed Peas' "My Humps" during the game. I know it was a top 10 song -- which shows how far this country's musical tastes has fallen -- but listening to Fergie going on about her lady parts in an arena packed with elementary school kids just felt wrong.
7. The highlight of the game, besides the Aeros win, was Andrew's rendition of Miley Cyrus' "Party In The USA," which he dubbed "Party In the Ukraine" and which he sung with a Russian/Ukrainian accent. It was supposedly in honor of Anton Khudobin, which means it should have been "Party In The Kazahkstan," but that's only a minor quibble.
8. The press table was packed with NHL scouts today. I wonder if they realized it was the Aeros and the IceHogs playing?
9. I'm going on vacation. So I'll see all of you in a few weeks. Make sure to check the mothership tomorrow for the game story.
10. And to play us out, here's "My Humps," one of the worst songs ever recorded.