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

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

View from the Press Box - Aeros dropped like a (fill in the blank)

Let's face it, the three goals and emotional third period made this game a lot closer than it should have been. The Aeros got away from playing responsible hockey, turned the puck over time and time again, and the Admirals pretty much routed them with five easy goals on Matt Hackett.

They had absolutely no answer for the line of Steve Begin, Mike Bartlett and Andreas Thuresson.

Begin finished with a goal and two assists, and Bartlett and Thuresson added a goal and an assist apiece as the Admirals now lead the best-of-seven series two games to one.

Kind of masking one breakdown after another were the two goals in the third period. Scandella made it 3-2 on a pretty power play goal, and Palmer's breakaway might go down as one of the strangest in a long time. It was clearly a goal, and I ABSOLUTELY LOVED how the replay folks played it over about three times, including the last two in super slow motion.

But both times the Aeros scored, the Admirals answered very quickly, knocking out any and all momentum. I hate to point fingers, but facts are facts. The same three forwards (O'Sullivan, Wellman and DiSalvatore) were on the ice for Milwaukee's last two goals.

Mike Yeo did not throw any of his players under the bus, but he did not mince his words when talking about the mental breakdowns and turnovers.

“Every chance they got, for the most part, came off turnovers,” said Yeo. “That is just guys (not) being ready, being focused out on the ice and knowing what they are supposed to do.”

Another good one from Yeo:

“It’s not like (Milwaukee) did anything fantastic out there,” added Yeo. “What they got, we completely gave them. We had guys that turned pucks over like crazy, and that played right into their game.”

O'Sullivan is getting a few points this postseason, but Wellman and DiSalvatore have just four points (COMBINED) in the playoffs. Earl and Peters and Gillies are all getting a few points, but Noreau (three points in seven games) is another scoring threat that is being neutralized.

Scandella, DiSalvatore and O’Sullivan all finished with a plus-minus rating of minus-three on Tuesday. Wellman, Spurgeon and Bagnall each finished minus-two. Earl stood out with three assists and was named the game’s third star. He was one of just five players to finish even on the night; no one was on the plus side of the score sheet.

It was a bad night for the boys, and I am sure they'll play better on Thursday. But playing better might not be enough. They probably need to win the next two, and if they lose Game 4, they are going to need three straight wins, including two in a row at Bradley Center.

Practice is tomorrow at Toyota Center, and Gillies had some good words about what needs to be done.

"We’ll have practice tomorrow, get rid of some bugs, and we’ll come out hard on Thursday," he said.


Forecheck said...

Boy that was some great/awful hockey Tuesday night! Unfortunately after the first 18 minutes, it was mostly awful on the part of the Aeros. The Ads, in contrast, had their Thang together (ouch!. I know…)

The initial intensity of the game was great on both sides. But when Milwaukee scored that PPG with about 2:00 left in the first (caused by McMillian getting way out of position trying to get the puck – something Yeosy would probably call “trying to be cute” - resulting in the defense breaking down entirely), things seemed to fall apart.

What happened to all that intensity in the second? It was gone,gone, gone. As was the passing. And the defense. The offense did wake up when it was about over, but sheesh.

 The first line was awful, they must have been –3 for the night as a group. Now, last I heard, we get to more or less choose what line they will play against. But nothing was changed.

 Speaking of awful, what a turnaround by young Mr. Hackett. This time for the worse. Time for a “Dear Matt” letter from Ms. C ?

 Where was Mike Yeo this game? I mean he was there in body, but from the stands it didn’t look like he was doing much to turn things around (for all I know, he might have been really stirrin’ the puddin’ in the room). At least he could have pulled Hackett after the second period when it was fairly obvious Hackett wasn’t ready to play tonight. Wait, you say, it will shake Hack’s confidence! Well, trust me, his confidence was gone at the end of the game. Witness Gillies skating over, handing Hackett his stick and – one can presume – telling him to stop crying , be a man, and get his butt back in the net (at least non-verbally). Sorry, Yeosy, I suspect you were seriously out-coached by your former teammate in this one.

And let’s close with the officiating. Awful. It really, really makes the AHL look like a bush league organization when they allow this level of officiating in their playoffs. I mean, the NHL is down to their best six or seven crews by now. If this is one the six or seven best , the AHL looks pretty bad. And if they are letting just anyone ref playoff games, ditto. Good grief, Robbie gets called for standing in front of the goalie and doing nothing, and probably for not slashing as well. They seemed to harp on interference calls, and many of them weren’t. At least I will give them credit for sorting the disputed goal out.

I hate losing in the playoffs, especially to teams with really ugly uniforms. But maybe having to play in such ugly unis just makes them a bit meaner.

Anonymous said...

Alternate title to this post, "Well, that sucked."

Anonymous said...

Terrible game tonight that's for sure.

The Admirals played Hackett like a virtuoso plays a violin.

Refs were bad, bad, bad. The call on Earl for interference with the goalie, all he did was skate around him. Speaking of refs what is it with their eyesight, anybody could see that Palmer made that goal.

Disheartened for sure from this game, what should of been a great game turned into a nightmare for the team and the fans.

Anonymous said...

Don't the Aeros see that guy in the Ads sweater at the corner of the net ready to put the puck in while Hackett is facing and leaning in the other direction? And if they see him, doesn't it occur to them to get in his face and help Hackett out?

This was a miserable game all the way around. After they allowed that goal, which should never have been in question, I thought things might pick up. Unfortunately I'm sure the Ads were laughing their heads off after they turned right around and scored. The number of careless turnovers was unreal.

artandhockey said...

And the word for this is 'schmuzz';-) - well it really is!

Nothing more needs to be added, Forecheck et al - anonymus 1,2,3 -said it all at length.
But let's add this: It would be 'schnurzegal' as long as they win the next games!

Barry said...

Were any of you at the game to offer insight to that overturned goal? I'm in Admirals fan in Milwaukee just looking to find out what exactly happened.

In a way I'm glad it was counted, I think anybody would have a sour taste in their mouth had they won off a botched call, but fact of the matter is there is no video replay in the AHL (which is ridiculous) and it sounds like that's exactly what happened, it was overturned after seeing the replay. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt though because I only listened to the game on the radio, and did not get to witness anything. I refuse to pay neulion any money for their shitty streaming service!

Anywho, good luck, see ya Thursday!

John Royal said...

@Barry. They didn't, as far as I could tell, use any video replay. They never looked at the video boards as the goal was being replayed -- see photo of Warren Peters trying to get them to look.

They gathered at a stoppage of play and conferred. Then the one who called no goal when over to the corner to confer with the goal judge. He then came back, confered with the other ref, and called a goal.

Barry said...

Thanks John, I saw the pics and yeah, it looks like you're exactly right.

Forecheck said...

@John - What I don't understand is, if the goal judge thought it was a goal, why not turn on those flashing red lights he has?

artandhockey said...

@Barry.. in the TC there was replays ..actually they did it three times and once even in slow motion! S
o there was NO doubt it went in! Even a visually challenged person could see that in those replays.

Why the red light did not gon on... quien sabe. My Better Half said he saw it flash, briefly, I did not!

B2Bomber said...

The goal judge on that end has been appalling slow on the trigger all year. I think he needs to retire. There have been two goals where he did not pull the trigger on the goal light at all this year.

All but one goal was caused by horrific turnovers and breakdown in "D". Maxime was one of the culprits. He definatley had a Jekyl/Hyde game last night. At times he looked fantastic and at times he looked awful.

No snap in passing and no energy in the legs in the last two-thirds of the game. The second period seemed to last forever it was so bad. I thought we might come out with more urgency in the third but it was not to be.

I agree that Kassian should be in but he's a winger. We need Falk out of the game. How pathetic he was last night. I would rather have Penner or Fredheim on defense. If Falk has playoff skills he needs to prove it.

ICEVET said...

FIRST STAR OF THE GAME.....goes to LANE LAMBERT, the mercurial and cagey Admirals Coach, for his adroit game strategy and his intra-period / inter-period adjustments, which MUTED the Aeros effectiveness after the first 10 minutes.

The Aeros coaching staff failed the Team, miserably, in THIS game...collective criticism of Hackett and the Team misses the POINT.

Aeros fans can only hope that the COACHES learned something from Tuesday evening and will RISE to the challenge in the days ahead.

Go Aeros!!!

Andrew J. Ferraro said...

ICEVET ... I must first state that I do not totally agree with your assessment. But Please give us an example of how Yeo failed the team.

Example please.

Chris Jerina said...

Haven't joined in yet, but sounds like the officiating was as equally horrid as the games in Milwaukee. One thing that I seemed to notice is that the refs don't call anything in the defensive zone. (And usually the calls make no sense, e.g., the Earl calls, or Latta's interference last game)

I'm not sold on the Hackett hate, he seemed to play solidly. Should he have had the Thurresson goal back? Probably, but so many of the other ones could be directly attributed to the defense. Aka, Max on the 5th goal, among others.

Where have Wellman, POS and DiSalvatore gone? Haven't seen anything from any of them, and yet again tonight, the Power Play dies when POS has the puck with everyone standing around.

Finally, like B2B said, Falk is just painful to watch in this series. Got undressed for a goal in Game 1, refusing to play physical in of the games. Essentially a really tall pylon.

Best line continues to be the Ortmeyer/Peters/Gillies line, at this point, by a large margin.

ICEVET said...

@Andrew Ferraro: "Give us one example"

Ok, let's focus on match-ups. Most Aeros fans know that home-ice advantage allows the home-team to make final (adjusting) line changes.

That said, kindly recall that Admiral goals 4 and 5 were potted at 9:35 and 10:35
(60 seconds apart) in the Third, using the same play (beginning with an outlet pass to the left wing) which was defended by the same mismatched Aeros front line trio...players numbers on the Game Sheet. This tactical strategy had also "worked" in the middle of the Second with almost the identical Admirals line.

. Goal 5...Begin (C) line (5-5)
. Goal 4...Begin (C) line (5-5)
. Goal 3...Begin (C) line (5-5)

You may wish to review the games tape, but that is what happened. The Admirals Coach took tactical advantage of the mismatch which led to the 3 goals. The Aeros staff made no adjustments.

The rhetorical question is why did this have to happen THREE times...the final goal of which fire-hosed any Aeros (momentary) momentum from the Palmer goal???

More examples, if you wish, but it is probably better to simply move on and seek inspiration for better results in Game 4.

Go Aeros!!!

Andrew J. Ferraro said...

That is exactly what I wanted to see ... love the insight and example there. Yeo did allude to more changes before Game 4 as a result of some poor play by some key players.

In his defense, in Game 3, he did change the lines somewhat to stir chemistry with the top forwards. This did not work defensively, and I think that led to both third-period goals by Milwaukee.

Personally, and now that I think about more of the example you have shown, maybe Yeo should have gone with Aeros line No. 3 against The Begin, Thuresson, Bartlett line.

We'll see what adjustments are made come tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Question: Twice recently I have heard interviews with opposing team members. I know one was Milwaukee and maybe the other was a Peoria player. Both mentioned they know in Houston it's hot and the ice will be bad. Can someone please explain how our ice is different? I thought it was controlled and a certain temperature, just like another arena's ice. And it's not "hot" here yet.

Ms. Conduct said...

@Anonymous, The Toyota Center is known around the league as one of the hottest buildings and having played hockey on that ice myself a few times, I can attest, I go through twice as many fluids playing there as when playing at a regular rink. It's sweltering on the ice, for whatever reason.

I'm not sure if it's the lights, or because they don't turn on the dehumidification systems as powerfully as they can/should or if they don't keep the temps in the building where they should, but it's just a damn hot building. It's a hot building in a hot city (above 70 degrees outside is when you really feel a difference inside the rinks around town, which is to say "hot" is relative), which makes it even harder to keep the ice good.

Ice varies even between the rinks in town and frankly, when I played on the TC ice, I thought it was pretty good. But then us rec leaguers aren't generally powerful enough to beat it to hell like the pros do.

Just generally, though, ice in the south is softer, especially as you head into the playoff months, but when you have a giant building to maintain the ice in, it's even harder to keep the temperatures optimized. Most AHL teams play in smaller buildings and are the primary resident of the building, so their needs take priority. Not so for the Aeros, who are merely tenants.

I know I'm rambling a bit, mainly because I don't have an exact answer but in general. I think it's a combination of the above factors.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Ms C. I had a feeling you might have the answer. Makes perfect sense. It would be nice if conditions could always be optimal, but probably very difficult to achieve.

Barry said...


Yeah, I hope I didn't come across as questioning the goal. I believe it was a goal.

Just at my house here in Milwaukee, it sounded like it was overturned using the in-house replay, which is against AHL rules. So really I was just looking to get the perspective of somebody that was there that could clear that up for me, which John graciously did for me.

Thanks guys!

Forecheck said...

Making good ice is going to be a problem in Houston. And you're right - it's the humidity, the absolute humidity in particular (the number of pounds of water vapor in a pound of bone dry air, also measured by the "dew point", the temperature that dew can form).
Wet air means you're transfering water molecules from the air to the ice frequently - the water in the air not only has to condense to a liquid,  then it needs to freeze. The water vapor needs to release heat to the ice to condense, thus the ice heats to near the melting point.  Result - soft, rough, sloshy  ice.
It's easy to make good ice in Edmonton in the winter when the dew point is -20 F meaning virtually bone dry air. Here in Houston the winter the dew point is 40 F and this time of year it's approaching 55 F.

There's only so much a dehumidifing system can do to remove water from the warm air leaking into a building  without the price getting unaffordable and the equipment getting too huge.

Also, you're body loses a little less heat by radiational cooling when it's hotter outside than when it is cold even
when the room is at the same temperature.

Ms. Conduct said...


Forecheck said...

Yup, science, and man it is fun!