One thing Chris Jerina, who shot the game for us, pointed out to me was that Buck was in for Daoust last night. I haven't checked with the team to see if this was a healthy scratch or not, but I'm going to assume it was, since he played the night before. (Artandhockey says Joe might have said he was injured last night...)
Even though this personnel shift didn't have an effect on the scoreboard, I believe it was overdue. JM was good enough last season to earn a 2-way NHL deal, but for whatever reason, is not the same player this year. I'm always hesitant to unload both barrels when I see this happen because maybe there's an injury or something going on.
But what I see is Robbie Earl setting him up time and again and Daoust just not doing anything with it. I see him throw a few hits a game, usually after plays like this, and I feel like they're just to make it look good. I dunno. JM's such a nice guy, I don't wanna be a dick, but he was thisclose to a "Dear JM" letter from me. I'll put it in my back pocket for now, but I hope we start to see Earl's hard work rewarded by his linemates sooner than later. It would make tremendous difference to convert on some of those opportunities.
Anyway, here's pics from the game, courtesy of Chris "I Got Your Credential Right Here" Jerina. Thanks as always for the great stuff, Chris!
|Wee! Love a good snow shower.|
|Noreau throwing a pretty hip check (channeling Cuma?), but unfortunately got a penalty for it. Second time this season I've seen AHL refs call a penalty on a clean hip check. Maybe it's a dying art because guys are tired of going to the box for it.|
|Love this. Shows how damned hard it is to be a goalie in the AHL, but also I admire Smith's restraint for not just nutting Almond right there. So effective, but so verboten.|
|Earl's shootout goal. You can see the puck in the upper glove side corner of the net. Also, Smitty... nice and bendy. Rawr.|
|The shootout shot that made steam come out of my ears. Straight up the middle, knew right where it was coming. Can of corn for Smith. And it wasn't the only shot like this from the Aeros.|
Scouting note on Smith: He's just teasing you with that 5-hole. Get him moving.
Couple of glamour shots because I like those:
|McMillan warming up. Cool perspective.|
|Your mother and I wish you'd wear more neck protection. Just sayin'.|