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

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Dear Aeros Fans: Why So Serious?

First off, my latest story in the mothership is posted. It's on the return of Casey Wellman and Marco Scandella to the team. Key returns, I believe, of two very skilled players who will help the Aeros immensely in that fight for a playoff spot.

I wrote this story, and filed it, before the Anton Khudobin trade, which is why I only address it at the bottom, in the miscellaneous notes column. But I want to use the post, and the Khudobin trade to address another matter: why is everybody so damn down on this team?

Yes, I've written some negative things in the past, especially after some of the losses, but frankly, I tend to be pleased with the team. The Aeros, after a bad start to the season, an awful start to the season, have regrouped to become one of the best teams in the league. Playing in what is probably the toughest division in the league, they're in second place, just a point out of first place, and they just won two out of three games in another tough three-in-three weekend that had them playing two other teams also fighting for a playoff spot.

Is it going to be easy? No. But should it be? Probably not. I think everybody was blinded by the play in January when the team could do wrong. It appears that I need to point out that, in this month just past, the Aeros went 7-4-0-1. Sure, it's not the 10-2-0-1 of January, but the rest of the teams in the league would kill for that record. And instead, we're over here discussing in comments that not only will the team not make the playoffs, but that they might drop all of the way down to seventh place.

I'm not trying to be all Mr. Sunshine here. I'm going to miss Khudobin. He was a great guy to talk to because he's still figuring out how to use his filter. But for all of you lamenting how the team is screwed because he's gone, remember this: it wasn't that long ago that Heather was writing him a "Dear Anton" letter because of his subpar play. And for all of you saying that Matt Hackett's not equipped to lead this team deep in the playoffs, I ask this: how many of you thought that Khudobin was equipped to take the Aeros deep into the playoffs two seasons ago?

The Aeros in the playoffs are not a sure thing. Not playing in this division. And I'm not trying to say otherwise. But stop looking at the trees and look at the forest. These Aeros, these Aeros we love to gripe and bitch about, have one of the best records in the league, and they have this record despite playing one of the toughest, stupidest, screwed up schedules in the league. The team has a top line of Casey Wellman/Jon DiSalvatore/Patrick O'Sullivan. And the number two line is now probably Cody Almond/Robbie Earl/Chad Rau.

The team added a good defenseman yesterday, which is probably a good thing seeing as how Drew Bagnall and Tyler Cuma are injured and that the Wild go through injuries like Carlos Lee goes through the post-game buffet in the Astros clubhouse.

So that's it for now. You may now proceed to blasting away at me. And also, if you don't mind, give the Houston Press article a read. I had to wait a really long time after Sunday's game to get quotes from Scandella, and I don't want that time wasted.


Forecheck said...

Really simple John - I'm surprised you don't know. Kvetching about your team is one the fun things about being a minor-league hockey fan - along with bidding for one of your favorite player's teeth on E-Bay.

A couple of things to keep in mind :

1) The team is still not as talented as the other six teams they are competing with. The trade didn't help and possibly hurt slightly (yeah, Anton had his problems some nights, but Penner's stats aren't exactly that great either). The guys have gotten where they are by playing over their heads (and adding Orts and Sully, which cettainly helped). Much credit to ( 2011 Coach of the Year) Yeo for this, but do you want to rely on it?

2) The games at hand issue. Scary. Even more so in April. Made scarier by losing to bottom feeders we should beat like on Sunday.

3) So, in such a competitive division, the Aeros stand to finish somewhere between first and seventh, and more realistically between second and sixth. Quite a swath. Real bummer for the guys if they miss the playoffs with a team that would easily qualify in the North, and a double bummer for the fans who go without playoff hockey two seasons in a row for the first time in franchise history.

So that's why we kvetch.

Anonymous said...

Excellent points, John. I just hope (1) Minnesota stays healthy from here on out, and (2) our boys don't get hurt. Now that some of the guys are back maybe we will see improvement in the PP and PK.

B2Bomber said...

I've not been down on the team since mid-December....just for the record. I've been enjoying watching the boys play. Yes, I do grouse once in a while but I thought every fan did a bit of that from time to time.

I'll go check your writing out over at the HP.

artandhockey said...

And do not forget Darcy Kuemper and Dennis Endras and Gustafson, all signed by the Wild as future insurance.. with Kuemper being a proven player, as we all saw!

CenterIce said...

When people talk doom-and-gloom because of Khudobin's departure, I think they are forgetting what kind of goalie Tordjman is. Definitely not a rookie backing up Hackett. I recall cursing the guy's abilities many times when he was with the Rampage. He did quite well for us while Khudobin was up in Minnesota.

Also, the addition of Penner might cause a little healthy competition to remind our current defensemen to keep their minds in the game the entire time they are on the ice.

@Forecheck - You almost made me spit out my coffee. Bid on your favorite player's teeth. Funniest thing I've read all week.

Forecheck said...

@CenterIce - Old line from Tank McNamara back in the 90s.... of course that was before E-Bay.

The challenge for you all is to dig up the original comic this weekend.