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

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Weary Aeros feel the heat, lose 5-4

Abbotsford played 5 of the last 6 nights.

Houston played 4 of the last 5 nights.

And tonight, the last game for both teams for several days (thankfully, for them and for those who have to watch them), displayed every bit of the fatigue you'd expect from teams at this point in their schedules.

Physically, they looked a tired and mentally, they looked downright exhausted.

The injury list is as long as I've seen it, not only this year but in recent years. The Wild are banged up, so Wellman and Peters are there and not coming back any time soon (#reversejinx). Add that to the Aeros injury woes (Cuma, Kassian, Almond, Fraser, Penner, Gillies, Bagnall) and basically you've got essentially only 3 lines of forwards to roll.

"I'm not gonna say that we couldn't have done something better. I'm not going to just completely make an excuse here," said Yeo. "But the biggest thing that I've seen this year is that these games, these third games in three nights, these fourth game in five nights, it's not even the energy level as much as it is the brain."

He acknowledged that essentially some of the mistakes that led to goals aren't "something we do" and attributed those instances to fatigue.

I kind of appreciate that he's not throwing the "we don't make excuses" line at us. Sometimes you have to acknowledge that clearly the effort was there but humans do succumb to the physical and mental rigors at some point.

You could argue Abbotsford isn't as good a team as Houston, and you'd be right, but as I mentioned, missing 1/3rd of the regular team means this Houston team just isn't as good as we're used to. It's like cutting a guy's arm off and telling him to do all the stuff he used to just as capably.

You're also missing a lot of toughness with Kassian and Bagnall out, but I have to commend 5'10" call-up Pascal Morency for his temerity in fighting 6'7" defenseman Chris Breen, who had 30 pounds on the scrappy winger. Breen's not a fighter and Morency was crafty and kept it even just through experience and determination.

That said, Morency, Lawrence (who was called up yesterday from Stockton), and Joel Broda had a whopping 11:31 of ice time combined. And missing that 4th line that can play 6 or 7 minutes is wearing out the regulars.

So this will be an important week of rest and recuperation. Yeo said he hopes to have Bagnall, Almond, and Gillies (upper body) back by Friday. Anyone of them would be a significant add. All three would be heaven sent.

Yeo said that he expects, after getting some rest and getting some practice time, "these games that are 50-50 right now or 60/40, we'll flip it more to 75/25 in our favor and that's when you more."

"It's how you respond. You can win a game like this and feel really good about yourself, and then have a crappy week of practice and stink it up next weekend. So hopefully we use this as motivation to make sure we bounce back."

The boys are off until Friday when they have a weekend series against Manitoba, who are tied for first in the North Division.

Couple of other notes:

  • That nice buffer between Houston and Texas is gone now. A win tomorrow against Syracuse puts them in a tie for second with Houston. We're all up against each other again, but not in a fun way.
  • With his two goals tonight, Jon DiSalvatore became only the third active player in the AHL to have 8 seasons of 20+ goals. Other two are Denis Hamel (who has 9 seasons at 20+) and Alexandre Giroux. 


Forecheck said...

Suggested title : Abbotsford Heat vs. Team Depletion

So, how’s that Anton trade working for you guys right now?

It’s Abbotsford, dang it!

We just can't seem to beat the North Division teams, regardless of circumstances, when all the other teams in the West beat up on them. We might want to focus on finishing fourth or better and not hope we squeeze in on a cross-over. In fact, we are in fourth now in terms of winning percentage, 0.001 ahead of both San Antonio and OKC who each have FIVE games in the hand.

Time to draw the line in the sand, guys!

Anonymous said...

The goalie didn't look sharp, but two goals were handed over on a silver platter and they weren't his fault. Careless turnovers from Prosser and Falk were gifts. Very disheartening. I know the guys were a bit weary, but so were the Abbotsford fellows.

Andrew J. Ferraro said...

Correct, both teams were indeed tired, and only all the goals that were scored masked the fact that that was the worst hockey game of the season. BUT...

Fans need to realize just how shorthanded the team is right now. Other than the top line and Robbie Earl, that is not a playoff team. But these guys have to find a way to win one of the games next weekend to buy some time for the injured players.

There is no reason to think, that when the team is fully healthy, they can get in and make a little run.

B2Bomber said...

The boys played an uninspired game for sure. They looked dogged after the first period skating off the ice with their heads down to a man. Fredheim's play was suspect as well. Although he did make a few good stops he also let down on the D quite a few times. This team looked like the team back in December. Yes, we need healthy bodies back ASAP.

Ally said...

Justin Falk has not been playing very well as of late, and I think it really showed last night. He was on the ice for 3 goals for the Heat and what is he doing on the PK?! He shouldn't be on the penalty kill at all! Sloppy play, turnovers, and bad passes really put him in a very ugly light. He's a big guy that has let his physical game just go to the crapper. During the first half of his rookie season, I really thought that he was going to be a great player, and it's all just gone down hill from there.

Our section where we sit has decided that 'WTF' is now short for 'What the Falker".


Hopefully if we get some of our guys back from injury and call ups, next weekend will be better!

Anonymous said...

Hopefully if we get some of our guys back from injury and call ups, next weekend will be better!

From your lips (fingers) to God's ears!!

Forecheck said...

@Ally - WHAT PK?

Ally said...

@ Forecheck - My bad.... :)