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

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Stats Schmats & Photos from Chicago

So, it's not to say that stats don't matter... they just don't determine whether I like a team. Hockey may go down for posterity on paper, but in the moment, it's all played in the heart and the mind. It's blood and sweat and happiness and pain. It's the rollercoaster of confidence and doubt, success and failure. Momentum and emotions shifting by minute, by periods, by games.

And that's what's different about this year's Aeros: I like them. I look forward to games. I feel like there's always a chance. I feel like these guys like each other and play for each other. They have a pulse.

And regardless of how similar this year's stats are to last year's at this time, I never felt that way last year. I didn't like the team, I didn't like watching them play, I felt like they were all a bunch of islands adrift on the ice. They meant well individually, but they never were a unit. No pulse, no spark, no passion.

Little things keep happening to endear me to this team, to give me a sense of its pulse. Hackett insisting on the start last Sunday. Earl, as I wrote a few days ago, getting so little recognition but still being a stud on a nightly basis. Guys stepping up for each other. Scoring (or at least scoring threats) coming from every line. Guys come up, come down, are in and out of the line-up, and it doesn't seem to rattle them or mess with the chemistry.

This is not a season of biding time. This is a meaningful season. This is a team I'd want to be on. That's about as big a compliment as I can give them. I hope my gut feelings about them are accurate, because if they are, I think regardless of what happens in the post-season, we'll all be left with good feelings about this squad.

On that note, let's look at some pictures:

While I'm making my Sunshine Club speech, this pic from warmups seems to fit. DiSalvatore and McMillan all smiles and possibly doing a Vaudeville routine.
This situation usually doesn't end well for the goalie. 
And in fact it did not end well for Mannino. Buck, who got the primary assist on DiSalvatore's goal, celebrates.
I was really proud of Tordjman's game. He looked very sharp and came up BIG BIG BIG in the shootout, not letting a single goal in. And with DiSalvatore the only Aero able to convert in the shootout, he needed to stop them all. Gotta feel good for a solid AHLer who's been stuck in the Coast all season to come up and get a big win like this.
Tordjman has talents beyond goaltending. That's a quality spit stream, bud.
This was an unbelievable save by Mannino, sliding across to shut down this backdoor shot. Robbery!
God, I love this shot. Chad Rau ties it, bitches!
The band of brothers returns to work after celebrating the game tying goal. 
As usual, thanks very much to Chris "Boom Boom" Jerina for the fantastic photos. If you want to see the rest, go here.


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Chris!! The shots are awesome.

Forecheck said...

Yes, I agree.

This team does have a pulse, last year's team was going through the motions (and, just maybe, rebelling from the infamous Constantine discipline?). Another difference - what we remember from last season is no doubt slanted towards the end, when the team hit a bit of a skid once they realized the playoffs were out of reach except for mayube a Herculean effort.

Any chance that Chris could take over running things at AHLlive (who locked me out from the entire first period and part of the second)? The difference is Chris seems to know what he is doing. I mean was it just me or did a bunch of you get bagged again?

Anonymous said...

You phrase so well what I've been unable to put into words more precise than "This team feels better than last year's."

It really struck me during the game on the 1st, when Ortmeyer was so fresh to the team and yet seemed nearly integrated by the end of the game. He was playing well the whole time, but the difference from start to finish of that game -- and what a finish for him! -- just kind of embodied what's been getting me more and more excited about the Aeros this season no matter what the numbers say at any given time.

artandhockey said...

It's fun to write amusing tongue-in-cheek description any photos (as I've done so often!)
But especially to the great Jerina photos!
Don't know if I agree 100% with your team evaluation, but the Aeros sure are providing some GOOD entertaining hockey!
Keep up the good work, guys, and your Star shall rise !