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

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Good lord, boys, get back to Texas

Hopefully you were able to watch the game today online, or followed along with T3I on Twitter, because if you did, you are all set to appreciate how infrequent games like this 3-1 loss to Peoria really are for this squad.

This was the worst game I've seen them play at least since the new year. All that great puck possession, winning battles, compete-compete-compete.... none of those were there in any useful amount today. They looked like--god forbid--last season's Aeros. Apart from maybe 3 or 4 shifts where they looked like the Aeros you and I know, it was just sloppy hockey.

Nate Prosser talked to media after the game and said he didn't think it was nerves rattling the boys, but Yeo was pretty definitive in his opinion that it was.  I tend to agree with Yeo, or I should say, both of them. Even if there weren't more conscious nerves than they usually get before games, they just seemed to be trying too hard to be pretty all game and losing battles all game long.

But I wouldn't be at all surprised if they were a bit worn out, both mentally and physically. I can imagine the attention and busy schedule for the guys when they're in Minny for such a short time is challenging, especially at the end of a road trip. And Prosser said he, Rau and Palmer, all Minnesota boys, were particularly innundated with interviews and, I'm sure family and whatnot. Lots to cram into 2 days.

I don't see this game as a big deal though. This team has proven what it can do over and over again at this point. They'll be fine when they get back in their regular routine. I think they know that, too. Prosser seemed very at ease and in good spirits after the game and knowing the character of the team, I'd guess that's the vibe in the rest of the room.

The only thing that should leave anybody with a lasting heavy heart is the awful-looking injury to defenseman Tyler Cuma. Russo is reporting tonight that he tore his ACL and will have to undergo reconstructive surgery. Out 6 months.

It was an awful looking thing, too. Here's a pic of him after taking a shoulder, going airborne, and then basically just falling in a heap to the ice. His upper body was moving so you knew it wasn't head or anything. But he was deliberately not moving his legs.

Tyler Cuma takes a hit and ends his season. Photo by Chris Jerina
If you'd seen the Kurtis Foster broken femur incident a few years ago, I defy you to watch the Cuma injury and not think of that. It was almost as gut wrenching.

I'm not a crier but I had to fight back tears. Not only because I feel all maternal about these young guys, but also because, as Yeo said, Cuma in particular has had so much adversity due to injuries in his short career, was coming along really well, and now this.

You just hate to see it. And it's not like he plays a recklessly physical style. He's just a good, solid, stay at home d-man. With terrible, terrible luck.

And while I'm on pictures, here's a shot of the lone Aeros goal scorer today, Cody Almond. Houston had 7 power play chances, including two 5-on-3 chances, and that was the only conversion.
Cody Almond, goal scorer. Photo by Chris Jerina 
The PP was a total mess at times (allowing one shorthanded goal), but it was just a carry-over from the rest of the game. All the regular offensive guys looked like they were playing with the wrong sticks or were afraid of getting hurt (even before Cuma was injured).

It wasn't any chippier than usual against Peoria, but there was a fight early on between Kassian and Peluso. They're so similarly sized, though, that neither could get much traction on the other. I'd say Kassian landed more clean blows, plus he's ours, so he earned the win.
Big Matt Kassian lands a punch on big Anthony Peluso. Photo by Chris Jerina
Lastly (there will be more photos later), here's a pic of some Aeros fans (comment if it's you!) riding the... whatever that thing is... during intermission. I hope everybody who came up had a great time, even if the game didn't turn out so hot. At least the Wild game the night before was great fun and the girls got to swoon over Ben Bishop's stretching. That boy is a tall drink of bendy.... mercy.

People you may know riding a hollowed out Zamboni. Photo by Chris "Boom Boom" Jerina


Anonymous said...

I'm sick about Cuma. Poor kid! I hope his surgery and recovery will go well with no complications and we'll see him back next season.

I did follow on twitter because the Wild feed never fed, at least to my computer. Just as well since it would have been painful to watch. I was so hoping the boys would show their stuff for the Minny folks. One of my friends purchased airline tickets early and couldn't change them after the Wild staff changed the date for the Aeros. They went to The Wild game then had to fly out at 2:00 today so missed our game.

Ms. Conduct said...

Your friend saw a MUCH better game from the Wild. But that still stinks.

artandhockey said...

Y, we too, had to follow the Voice, since the FREE.. website did not work.
Now am hoarse from yelling :-)!

Heartsick about Cuma, though, that boy's battled through so many injuries already!
Let's hope the Wild will have him back next season... but.. injury prone players are - well - not exactly a PLUS for any team.

Not because the boys lost, we're happy we did not spend beaucoup $$ to get ourselves up there, but I just can't thole temperatures that are colder than a witch's (you know)anymore.

Anonymous said...

We all hated to see Tyler Cuma go down...as you said "terrible luck" for a very talented athlete who has such a great future in the game.

As you said, fans "should not see this game as a big deal". Peoria WON this game with stout defense and solid goal-tending, not to mention serving up another debilitating (9th of the season) short-handed goal to the Aeros PP System.

Let's give Peoria credit. Their success, this year, has come from consistent defense (2.54 GA...best in the West), aggressive PK play 3rd or 4th best in AHL), and solid goal-tending (Jake Allen and Ben Bishop with 8 shutouts).

The "good news" for fans to takeaway is that the Rivermen are NOT on the Aeros remaining 24-game schedule (16 of which are at Toyota).

Go Aeros!

Forecheck said...

Well, for some strange reason, this thing was on AHLlive after all, with all the drawbacks of an AHLlive broadcast (i.e., not working too well).

I too think the guys got a little starry-eyed or nervous playing at the Excel in front of all the brass. It's certainly happened before in previous seasons. Maybe Mother Minny will wise-up and stop this nonsense in the future.

The specialty teams, especially the PK were inept the whole game. And maybe Anton needs to re-read your letter, Ms.

I too feel for Cuma. I thought the kid would get a chance for a cup of coffee at least before the end of the year. I assume he'll be back here this October and working on his second chance.

Well, not a lot more can be said about this game except wad it up and flush it. Hopefully they will show some more resolution Thursday and AHLlive will have the archive up by the time we get home from work.

B2Bomber said...

I guess I'm one of the few who could watch the video on wild.com. I didn't have a problem with it at all. I didn't see the first period as I didn't get home in time. I started viewing during the first intermission. To me the guys looked like they were "out of gas", just always a half step behind. Winning six consecutive games was quite a ride and we all knew it had to come to an end sometime. I'd rather it happen in Minny than to the Wolves Thursday.