Friday, March 4, 2011
That was a nice 3-1 win by the Aeros over Syracuse tonight. The team didn't play there best hockey -- Mike Yeo had to call a timeout four minutes into the second period because of the team's play -- but needing a win over a last place team while playing the first of a three-in-three, the Aeros came through big time.
So, let's get on with it.
1. Injury news first. Matt Kassian is suffering from a lower body injury and will be out several weeks according to Yeo. They're still hoping to get Drew Bagnall back next week.
"He’s a warrior, though," Yeo said of Bagnall. "As soon as he’s ready, I know he’ll be in there."
2. One of the more impressive things about the win was that because of the annual Wild injury carousel, coupled with injuries here, the Aeros had a lot of guys playing tonight who haven't put in a lot of time with the big team this year. This is something to be expected, and they're having to come in and play without a lot of practice time. So though the ice time was really limited Joel Broda and Pascal Morency tonight -- probably because Morency couldn't stay out of the penalty box whenever he stepped on the ice -- guys like Jamie Fritsch did get some ice time.
Yeo attributes the play of these guys tonight, and that they were able to fit in without looking like sore thumbs, to the system the team's playing. The regulars on the team have bought in to what Yeo is selling, and they're making sure everybody else goes with it as well. And this, according to Yeo, is what successful teams do. They get a system and everybody works with everybody to make sure the plan is implemented.
3. That leads us to Jarod Palmer, the star of the night on the line of the night. Palmer finished with two goals -- and came "just this close" to the hat trick -- playing on a line with Robbie Earl and Chad Rau. And Palmer put all of the credit for everything he did on those two guys.
"What can I say?" he said. "Pucks just seemed to bounce my way for me tonight. Sometimes things go your way, sometimes they don’t, and when they go your way, you’ve got to take advantage of it and try to put one in the back of the net. I had some help by line mates. A couple of pucks ended up right on my tape right in front of the net. That wasn’t all my work. That was a lot of team effort there. It wasn’t too hard to put into the net."
4. Earl and Rau have really been clicking as a line this year, but it's always seemed to be just missing one piece. But they've been working their asses off and Palmer just seemed to make all of the difference. But Palmer said Earl and Rau did everything within their power to make his game tonight possible.
"Those guys, they help me out a lot by just talking to me," Palmer said. "Coming off the ice every shift, around the bench, they’re telling me where they wanted me, where I could have been to be in a better spot, where I could have passed the puck to get it to them in a better spot. Just small details that they mentioned to you that you’ve got to listen to and pay attention to. If your teammates are talking to, it makes everything a lot easier."
5. Yeo was excited by the play of Earl/Rau/Palmer. He thought they played an excellent defensive game to go along with what they did on the offensive end -- the other goal came from Chad Rau on the power play. He liked how Palmer was willing to get in position around the net and he thinks Earl and Rau did good work with creating open ice that made Palmer's work possible.
6. Palmer also gives a lot of credit to Yeo's system, and to the veteran leadership on the club.
"I think we have a lot of structure as far as where we’re supposed to be and what we’re supposed to do," he said. "It’s well known. It’s preached constantly by the leaders on the team. A lot of the guys walk the talk, and that helps a lot. A lot of leadership on this team. You’ve got Ortmeyer, DiSalvatore, O’Sullivan – just some guys, some of our leadership left – Peters up in the bigs right now – still, there’s enough here right now that we can take in some new guys and keep rolling. It’s a tough challenge."
7. Just a note of clarification: we didn't let Heather talk to Palmer because the last time she did, he went into a huge scoring funk. So being a superstitious lot, we just let her hold a tape recorder and listen.
8. Nice game by Josh Tordjman in goal tonight. He let in a first period power play goal that briefly gave Syracuse the lead, but that came off a deflection which kind of left him helpless. But I don't know if we can continue letting Heather sit with us in the press box when he plays because she's screaming and squirming and hitting and punching with worry that something's going to go wrong.
9. After tonight the Aeros record is 37-23-1-4 (79 points), and they're still in second place. Go down and look at Andrew's post for the latest on the standings and the things that still need to happen.
10. Nice stat of the night: the Aeros are now 18-1-1-0 when holding opponents to zero or one goal.
11. I noticed tonight that the Aeros are celebrating the "Roudiest" Fan Of The Game in their Hilton Hotel giveaway thing. Has this been the case all season and I've just missed the typo? My question: how did the video people at Toyota Center -- not Aeros employees -- miss a typo like this? That used to be one of my functions with the Astros and Texans, making sure no typos like that went up on the video boards. So was this a one-time only thing, or not? I know I just noticed it, but that doesn't mean it's new.