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

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Watching The Dream slip.... and being okay

So, for all the people who were going, "WTF is her problem" when I was going crackerbananas about that craptacular game 4.... I rest my case. It's a slippery slope, babe.

But the Aeros have gotten a smidge better every game since then, so, you know. Maybe they win, maybe they don't.

As frustrating as all the turnovers were tonight (and the turnovers WERE the reason they lost... not the officiating, even though it, too, was a joke), most guys on the team really left it all out on the ice.

Now, I didn't see who tipped that pass right into Dawes' loving embrace for the game winner, so if one of these following guys I'm about to praise did that, don't rip me up. I'm sad enough already.

Here goes: I think Jarod Palmer deserves some unsung hero love. He was all over the place, protecting the puck, going to the dirty areas, and just in general being a huge honey badger. He's one of those guys doing the little things right who doesn't get much recognition for it.

Prosser is another one, though he got some sweet, sweet scoreboard luvin' tonight and that makes it even nicer and easier to point out another guy whose steady game goes so unsung.

I know some folks might want to get after Hackett, but I thought he played a good game tonight. I could quibble, goalie nitpick-style, with a few things he did but none of those things bit him. It was turnovers turnovers turnovers.

And frankly, kudos to him for keeping his composure. Then again, when chances against are so good and your team is being sievy like this, sometimes it's easier to let go of goals. It's crap goals that are all on your head that are hard to shake.


The usual suspects were also out of the world. Ortmeyer was off the chain, and Gillies and Peters followed suit. DiSalvatore has really grown on me in the playoffs. I was never all that sold on his willingness to battle and pay the price, but he really does.

That said, I don't understand what his BFF Sully is doing out there a lot of the time. I guess he's trying to draw guys to him to open up space for a linemate and then pass it, but.... it's not really working IMO.

Maybe he's still dinged up from that hit a couple of games ago, but I don't understand the unwillingness to take the shot, get to the net, and the excessive dicking around with the puck, etc. I dunno.

On the other side, Hamilton is absolutely ferocious in the way they clamp their jaws down on these turnover chances. I worry about that for Binghamton, if The Dream Dies, because they can be KUH-RAZY porous defensively sometimes. But anyway....

And finally, dumb ol' Drew MacIntyre... I can't even make fun of his ugly gear any more. He's really good AND his gear is sharp. That's super annoying. He's making it look ridiculously easy out there, and his composure is unreal as much as the Aeros are up in his kitchen, working him over physically. No retaliation. Just puck stopping. That takes a lot of discipline.

-----------------------------

I still think the Aeros can win this and we've established what they have to do to get there. But this whole Binghamton vs. Houston for the cup thing added a level of OHMYF**KINGGOD to this playoff run, and this series in particular, for me.

Even just a couple of months ago, I figured Bingo would get MAYBE through one round of playoffs and then their defense would be exposed and they'd go home.

So, the fact that it's even gotten this close to a Brusty Homecoming absolutely blows my mind. The prospect of it has brought me a huge amount of joy, and no matter what happens Tuesday, it's the Aeros who made that happen on this end. They, too, have been better than I realized they were.

My goal for Tuesday is just to appreciate the amazing ride these guys have taken us on. Win or lose (PLEASEWINPLEASEPLEASEPLEASE), it's been an honor and a pleasure.

Having Binghamton here, whom I've watched from afar all season, really does feel like a dream, so if it stays a dream, I guess that's okay, too. Really proud of what those guys have managed to do, too.

Anyway, enough of my rambling. See you Tuesday.

15 comments:

CatTrick said...

Your so-called rambling made me feel better about tonite's game. Maybe even about losing a 3-game lead ... [mmmm ... no, maybe not THAT much better ...] Couldn't have said any of it better. Thanks. Go Aeros!

Forecheck said...

Why change your strategy in OT away from what worked so well in the third period? The Aeros aggressively attacked the net and scored twice in the third.Then they change and don't score in the next two.

I wouldn't say the Aeros went back to the "play not to lose" style of Game 5 but it was not what we saw in the third period.

Why not just throw everything into a massive 5-10 minute burst in the first OT to try and win it soon?

Anonymous said...

Aussies in Houston who are new to Hockey - and loving it! Question about why the Aeros slam the puck up the other end - resulting in a chase which they often didn't win - doesn't this just tire them out and give the opposition a chance to pick up the puck? Can someone please explain this strategy. Thanks.

Ms. Conduct said...

@forecheck, you're asking the wrong cat. I don't know. I thought both teams held back a bit in OT.

@AnonymousAussie That's what's called the "dump and chase" strategy and it's fairly common when you have a team with good speed. This team works it better than most IMO. But basically to get the puck into the zone, you can either skate it in or dump it in. Skating it in has some risks, too, because it's easier to lose it to the opposition and potentially turn it over somewhere around the blue line, which doesn't give you much time to set up your forecheck if that happens.

If you dump it in and go retrieve it, yeah, you may have to work harder to get it back, but at least it's DEEP in the opponent's zone, so you have more space to a) try and get it back from them and b) set up defensively on your end to protect your zone properly (forecheck).

As you saw last night, protecting the puck in the neutral zone is absolutely critical against this team, so a strategy that gets the puck deep in the Hamilton offensive zone protects the Aeros from NZ (that's neutral zone, not New Zealand) turnovers.

I think it's pretty sound strategy against this team, even though I think most hockey fans will agree it's rather tedious to watch. But at this level, you can't just skate through 3 or 4 defenders to the net. They're going swarm you and either take the puck or at least get in whatever passing lane you might be trying to find if you have other teammates entering the zone with you.

Just chip it in and go fetch.

And yeah, it does wear down their defense a little bit more because they have to go deep and battle you for it.

scb said...

I think Coach Sydor said it best on the radio post-game show and I feel the same way, if you would have told me before the beginning of the season that the Aeros would have a Game 7 on home ice for the chance to advance to the Calder Cup Finals I would have been ecstatic.

So here we are, this is why we go to a random Tuesday night game in November against the Lake Erie Monsters, it's for a chance for our goal to become reality.

Anonymous said...

Forecheck +1.
I saw two different Aeros teams last night, the hard checking crash the net shoot in close and often (beginning of the first period and the third period) Aeros and the ineffective time consuming pass it around don't hit 'em and get a penalty (particularly in the OT periods) Aeros. Nothing new, we see that stlye of play a lot, not just the Aeros (witness the Bulldogs in the third period). I don't see beating this tallented Hamilton group by playing cat and mouse. But I can see us winning by playing with our bare fisted skate hard and fast control the puck and get it down the ice shoot in close and often team squeeze approach (look at our shot count in the 3rd vs. the OT periods). We had them on their heels. We are better than these guys. We can win this thing.

B2Bomber said...

I hope I'm wrong but after watching the game yesterday Hamilton definately gotten the upperhand. The Aeros left the ice dejectedly and rightly so. It's going to take some serious playing from the gut to make this one work out.

Off topic....please send prayers for Joplin, Mo. I grew up in a little town named Sarcoxie just 20 miles to the east and I have a lot of former classmates and relatives who live there. I've not heard from any of them yet.

Anonymous said...

@Ms. Conduct, thanks for the explanation of the Dump and Chase strategy! One less thing for us to be confused by!

Anonymous said...

@ B@Bomber my husband and I grew up over the Kansas line from Joplin, yes lets keep them in mind too. One of our best friends works in St. Johns Hospital.

About the game, here is my thoughts.
1. Oh shit how the hell did that happen? My husband just put his head in his hands.

2. MacIntyre is really really good, too bad he wasn't on our side last night. By the way I hate that damn 1,2,3, chant that some in the crowd will do against the goalie.

3. Guys played a much better game then I've seen in a long time.

sam said...

What an amazing team to get this far and so many of these players have had major impact on getting this team where it is at right now.

The game was defintiely a heartbreaker. A tale of two teams for sure.
The Peters line was awesome. Such a hardworking presence in front of the net to get those goals. But unfortunately they turnover the puck twice that led to goals. (Well actually Gillies wasn't out there for either of those and really did have a good night). Of course the line they are up against have been great on jumping on those turnovers.

The turnover from Noreau on the pp, was a kicker. I actually felt bad for him on that one.

I thought Scandella struggled with the puck tonight.

O'Sullivan as you said had frustrating, tentative moments early in the game, but he made some good defensive plays, is still dangerous out there, created that opportunity for the first goal, and then kicked it into another gear in the third when he went end to end, danced through everyone drove it to the net leading to a series of chances that unbelieveably did not go in. So fun to watch.

There was the stunning pass from O'Sullivan to Rau on the pp who had a wide open net, goalie down, and hit the post. That one stung, but crap just happens sometimes, but pretty goal from Rau to start the game off!

I thought Palmer was great tonight, provided a lot of energy. Daoust has come in and done his job (except for that interference call).

The scoring lines have gotten their opportunities, they just got to hunker down and get it done. I hope for Almond to score in game 7.

Hamilton is beatable, despite the edge going to their goal tending. This team can do it! Go Aeros! What a team!

Ms. Conduct said...

Good point, Sam. Sully was good defensively and lord knows they needed it.

H.Campfinn said...

dooom!!!glooom!!!

Ms. Conduct said...

It's true. Sorry. Where's Andrew with some level-headed sunshine when we need it?

Anonymous said...

No one wants a win more than the team so I have to believe they are going to try hard. Many have pointed out that at one point earlier in the season no one thought they would even make the playoffs. Well, they did and instead of being proud of them, people are kind of down on them. I'm hoping for the very best ending, but if it doesn't happen, I hope people won't bail out to the parking garage before acknowledging their efforts.

Forecheck said...

@Anon-

Agreed on the bailing part. Pretty shamefull on the part of the Milwaukee fans after Game 7.