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

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What's that smell?

It's the steaming pile Hockey Santa left if your stocking! HO HO HO!

But really, that 5-0 loss to Hamilton was as bad as it gets. The first 18 minutes I felt like I was watching my Monday night drop-in. No offense to those guys, but they're not pros, so they're supposed to miss a bunch of their passes and fumble the puck and shoot wide and low and right into the goalie and on and on...

The Aeros, on the other hand, looked like they haven't skated together in weeks.

The one bright spot was Matt Hackett's play in relief. He kept the game from going up to 7 or 8 to nothing with some unbelievable glove saves and was just "laser" focused on that puck. Best I've seen him play at home.

Outside of that, I could inundate you with stats and misery and whatnot, but Mike Yeo was so good after the game that I think you're better served just reading his post game comments. And this is how you know I love you, because I friggin' hate transcribing.

Two games ago you were up 3-1 in the second. Since then you've been outscored 10-0 which is remarkable. What's happened to this team?

To speak about the last game in Manitoba, I thought we actually played a pretty solid game. I mean, we didn't score any goals, obviously, and we addressed some areas we need to get better. You know, middle lane driving and being more aggressive, getting to the hard areas, but tonight was just embarrassing. That's what happened.

We addressed it, the fact that this is a game that's not easy. It takes a lot of character to make sure you're focused for it. Guy have bags packed and thinking about Christmas, but at the same time, you've got a game to play. We talked about that, what it means to be a pro, and make sure you're ready to play and tonight was embarrassing.

Are you at a point now, you look at your goaltending numbers and Anton's a full goal ahead of where he was in November. Are you at the point where you're going to have to call somebody up from lower to shake it up? (Editors note: Anton's GAA/save % in November was 2.25/0.922. Very respectable. In December, it's 3.65/0.861. Not very respectable.)

You know what, I don't want to blame that game on Anton. We didn't seem to want to touch anybody in front of our net and they had some pretty small individuals tapping in empty netters, so I blame our defense a lot more tonight, and our forwards for a lack of willingness to block shots.

So I'm not gonna put that one on Anton, but I think, as you said, he's not different than Matt Hackett and every one of our defensemen and every one of our forwards. When we get back from this break, we've got a difficult schedule and it's gonna be a grind for a little while but we're gonna have to become better. Because where we're at right now is not good enough.

We can say that we're heading in the right direction but obviously we've taken a step backward. And this is the time of year when winners are made, I believe, when things are at their most difficult, how do you find a way to get yourself prepared, how do you find a way to make sure you're ready to come to the rink and battle, how do you find a way when things aren't necessarily going your way to come out and bring it. And that's something that we have to learn.

Is this 6 game stretch where you're 1-5, is this the worst the team has been? I mean, are you playing worse now than the first time you had that 6-game slide?

Yeah. I mean, I'm disappointed with the schedule, with the fact that we've had 3 practices this month. That part is frustrating for me and I have seen a slip in our game. I can accept a bit of a drop in your execution, I can accept a bit of a drop in the detail. We lost the game in Manitoba because of a minor detail. What I cannot accept and will not accept is a lack of effort and compete. We didn't lose that game tonight because of execution or systems. It was [because] that team had more heart, more preparation, more will to win the game than we had.

And the part that's disappointing, and apparently we haven't learned, and the part that's cost us the games that we're up 3-1 and other games and even the start of games is a lack of will, when you come into the game be ready to battle, and absolutely compete and try to outwill the other team. And that's the only way that we're going to be capable of doing it. I hope the guys take the time off of the holidays and get rested and get re-focused, because that's what we're going to do.

Is that the detail you were talking about in the Manitoba game where you're up 3-1...

No, the second game. The second game is, you talk about urgency you need in your game and how one play is the difference in the game. 0-0 game and you make one mistake the puck ends up in our net. So, it's something I do believe the young players still have to learn but at the same time, first and foremost, you have to be ready to compete.

Is that also the same deal, we've noticed the penalty kill has gotten quite a bit off. Same thing?

More than anything else, you look at their penalty kill tonight and why were they successful? They must have blocked about 15 shots. And if you're willing to get in front of shots and lay down and fight and do whatever you can to get that desperation to keep the puck out of your net, more often than not you're gonna find a way to win that face-off, you're take a hit to clear the puck, and you're gonna find a way to get in front of that shot and block it. And if the puck does get in front of the net and there's a 1-on-1 battle with a loose puck right there, you're gonna outwill your opponent and make sure he doesn't tap it in the net. And that's something that we better find... quickly.

Preach on, Yeosie.

But hey, gang, it's just hockey. With that in mind, go enjoy your family and food and presents and vacation and whatnot for the next few days. That's the stuff that matters in the end.

That and reading T3I religiously. ;)

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it. Have a nice week to those who don't. We'll see you on Boxing Day.


artandhockey said...

Boxing Day? Another omen?
On the way home a paraphrased doing it my way ..just about the same stuff Yeo gave you.
Is there a script these guys read form?
A crabby fan(?)

Forecheck said...

" No offense to those guys, but they're not pros, so they're supposed to miss a bunch of their passes and fumble the puck and shoot wide and low and right into the goalie and on and on..."

Actually, Ms., they [b][i]ARE[/b][/i] pros. They just haven't been playing like professionals.

Anton needs to be sent down to the ECHL to get his head together. That one break-away mid-game (which he did stop) spoke loads about his confidence or lack of it right now. I think if you passed the hat in the stands last night he could probably fly to Bakersfield first class.

I can't say if Tordjman will do well enough for the Aeros to win, but Anton clearly isn't and I doubt Tordjman will surrender five goals before the end of the second even if the defense is less than stellar.

The rest of the team still looks (and plays) too much like last year's team. But what do you expect when you bring back fourteen or so guys form a last place team which missed the playoffs? A house-cleaning was in order this summer but instead the folks in Minny decided to blame the coach thus avoiding having to do the real work of rebuilding the farm team.

And where is the on-ice leadership for this crew? I'm not sure I see any, Kass was the only one to step forward last night. I think we need a new captain for sure and need to re-think the alternates.

And I really, really, wonder if Yeo new what sort of mess he was getting into when he took this job. I know he needs a head coaching job on his resume, but why leave a first-class organization like the Pens for an organization (pun here) like the Wild?

Anonymous said...

Script or no script, I'm really beginning to like Coach Yeo.

Ms. Conduct said...

I was referring to my drop-in buddies not being pros.

Anonymous said...

Will you please explain exactly what it means when a team releases a player from a Professional Try Out? I was shocked to see McBride go and am wondering if it means he can never be brought back.

Ms. Conduct said...

I'm not sure. Based on this information, they'd have to sign him to a standard players contract to bring him back, but I can't speak to how accurate this is:


PTO = Professional try-out contract

This is an animal found only in the AHL. PTO's are for 25 games, but the player can be released before that. He can also be signed to a second PTO, but after two PTO's he either becomes a free agent or is signed to a SPC - standard players' contract (also just called an "AHL contract").

Another type of contract in the AHL: ATO = Amateur try-out contract

These are signed by previously amateur players -- graduating college seniors and players finishing juniors. There is no set number of games on these.

Any player on an AHL SPC, PTO or ATO must be released from his contract before he can sign in the NHL. Occasionally you'll hear people say an NHL team "picked up his contract," but he's really signing a different kind of contract, it's not directly transferable. The player is not eligible to play in the NHL on a PTO or even a SPC. To play in the NHL you must be signed to an NHL contract, which are full-year, guaranteed contracts (with exceptions for goaltenders in emergencies and players sent back to junior. There is also a one-game ATO in the NHL which is extremely rare, but used for players coming out of college sometimes. See Justin Abdelkader of Detroit).

Ally said...

That was a terrible game. I have never sat through a game wishing in the first period that the game was over.
Anton needs to go to Cali and get his head straight, as do several other guys. And I agree with Forecheck that we also need a new captain because DiSalvatore is just workin' my nerves every single time he gets on the ice. He won't jump start his own play, much less the teams.
Hopefully they'll get back on track soon!

Andrew J. Ferraro said...

He can be brought back if needed.
Since he is not under contract to the Wild or Aeros (two-way deal), he has to sign a PTO to play for the Aeros.

If they want to sign him again, they can do that ... or they can sign him to a standard contract. That most likely would be a two-way deal, where he could be freely called up and down as needed.

While not having McBride is certainly not the reason for the most recent slide, he would be a better option than about 2-3 other players that are getting time now.

artandhockey said...

@Andrew Ferraro.. so true re Mc Bride, a spunky, 'hungry for AHL iv=ce time and experience' player as I recall and surely that is needed here!
'Experienced players' may count some, but then they do take away space better used for players with drive and fresh moves!
The rather apropos word is 'doome'

Anonymous said...

While not having McBride is certainly not the reason for the most recent slide, he would be a better option than about 2-3 other players that are getting time now.

My thinking, exactly, Andrew. Thank you and Ms C for the PTO explanations.

Merry Christmas to all and here's to things looking up for the Aeros!

B2Bomber said...

Merry Christmas to all. May the New Year bring us a playoff run.

Forecheck said...

Well, if the Aeros still are stinking up the ice, we still have the World Juniors to watch on TV from Dec 26th-Jan 5th.