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

Friday, December 9, 2011

Weekend Preview - Aeros vs. Rampage/Rivermen

I wish I could read this team better. I really do. I know their head coach, John Torchetti, feels the same way.

He says he has no idea why they are so much better on the road. He says he has no idea why they cannot (even come close) to winning an overtime game. He says he has no idea why they can't play a full 60 minutes on home ice.

Except he did give us a pretty darn good reason in his postgame comments on Thursday. Lineup continuity, or, more specifically, the lack thereof. I think he wondered aloud as to how many games this season they have had the same lineup.

Before I say anything else, we have to give Torchetti and Jim Mill their due. How this team is among the top three in the AHL is beyond me, given all the circumstances. They found the right guys to play the right way (hmmm, kind of like the team about 1,000 miles due north.)

Right now, the team is missing Matt Hackett, Nate Prosser, Casey Wellman, Cody Almond, Jeff Taffe, Dave McIntyre and Jed Ortmeyer. And yet they keep playing well enough to earn points even when they are not at their best.

They rise to the occasion despite faltering special teams and losing player after player after player.

They have lost eight of their 12 home games, and yet they are still have a ton of points and are in the top 10 in attendance. Why? Everyone is stepping up, and they have some of the best goaltending in the league. They are playing well enough not to lose, and they have taken advantage of the weaker teams when they have played them.

I would be a fool to say, for sure, that the Aeros were going to have a letdown this weekend. Yet deep down, I just don't see how they can keep it going. I would also be a fool to say, for sure, that they could earn four points against the Rampage and the Rivermen.

Injuries and call-ups are part of every AHL season, but usually they are spread out a bit more. The Wild have been extremely unlucky on that front, and that has tricked down to the Aeros. Seven regulars are out of the lineup, and six of them will be out for the next week or so.

That is going to make it tough this weekend and on the rest of this homestand.

But how can you pick against them when they keep getting points and staying right at the top no matter what is thrown there way.

Just imagine how fun it could be next spring when/if the Aeros have most of these guys in the lineup.


Anonymous said...

I, too, find it amazing that they are collecting points and are one of the top teams right now. Good for them. I hope they can continue to adjust to the ever-changing makeup of the team.

I also find it amazing that they can't seem to win a shootout!

Anonymous said...

I do question why the coaches let them go firts in the SO? Wouldn't it be more advantageous to let the other team go first? Just asking.

ICEVET said...

An excellent "state-of-the-team" summary...after 25 games!

No doubt, the Torch and Mill have done a masterful job dealing with injuries and the pressures of a very successful WILD Team.

Nonetheless, Mike Yeo and his SYSTEM (which the WILD players..old and new..have completely bought into) is THE game-changer, elevating the performance level of both WILD and Aeros. When was the last time that BOTH teams were positioned in the ELITE of their leagues?

Not to be forgotten, however, in the miseration over home games is that the Aeros (second best road record) have captured a point in 5 of their home losses, while sharing a rather-pervasive absence of home dominance with most of the other AHL teams...for example, Abbotsford (best road record) has won only 2 home games. A mere 4 losses (after 25 games) is remarkable, in itself.

Go Aeros!!!