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

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Aeros lose 47-0 to OKC

It was the sort of game that lends itself to hyperbole, so here are the things I know to be gospel:
  • The Aeros are never scoring ever again. 
  • AHL refs are the worst ever.
Okay, so really, what I saw was an excellent first period with both teams playing their cans off, the Aeros playing smart, crisp hockey.

The in the second, I saw a turnover just inside the neutral zone that led to a very quick breakaway, a goal for OKC, and the Aeros looking rattled. And then those yips turning into penalties.

And more penalties. And more penalties. In front of 10,715 people.

So, they lose 6-0. It's Yann Danis' second shutout this season against the Aeros and he wasn't tested too badly except for a handful of times. The Barons were clicking so thoroughly on offense, they couldn't even find a game star for the shutout-pitching goalie. 

And when a team's offense is clicking and they get 153 power play chances like the Aeros gave them tonight (okay, 7) and turnovers and open back doors, boy, you're lucky to get out of that one healthy (and I'm told that at least they managed to do that).

One thing I want to be clear about, as the patron saint of baby goalies, is don't be laying this loss at Kuemper's doorstep. He was hung out to dry more times than I can count and had some big saves to keep it from being even worse than it was.

You can certainly ask a young goalie to  make every save a big one, but you're probably not going to get it. Also doesn't help that he hasn't played a game in quite some time. That's tough for a kid who hasn't played at this level for long and is still acclimating to the speed.

In the midst of all that ugly, I have to give props to Cody Almond, not only for the decisive victory in his fight at the end of the second period (for some reason I LOVE to watch him fight... he just gets a ridiculous amount of power behind his punches). He also brought noticeable hustle all game and I feel like he's getting back to the player he was under Constantine two seasons ago. 

Anyway, we only talked to coach after the game and Torchetti liked the start but said the effort level, the sacrifice, wasn't there.

"We played one good period and then, I dunno. That's about all I can say: We played one good period," he said after the game. "We didn't really battle for Kuemps; we didn't let him see shots. Special teams was the difference tonight... bottom line, it came down to discipline on the penalties again."

Our conversations with Torchetti tend to go the same way pretty much every game. Have you any new insight as to why you suck at home? Nope. Still don't know.

"Maybe we have to stay downtown in a hotel or something. Our focus at home has got to get better," he said. "The bottom line is, we've got to play harder for our fans... We don't even have a nick on our faces at all. We're not competing at all. We gave away 2 points. They wanted it. They lost to San Antonio the night before and we were probably thinking about ringing in the new year."

Dreadful game that will have a week to simmer as the team is in practice mode until Friday. All I know is that if Darcy Kuemper has to pay for a single one of his drinks tonight, the team has failed him miserably.


artandhockey said...

Kuemper was not too bad, IMO only 2goals could be laid solidly at his door.. the rest... you said it. Defense.. what defense!And I wasn't interviewing anyone!
OKC BARONS were the better team and still have that hot goalie I remember from another game
;-)! ;-)!

Anonymous said...

We agree with you wholeheartedly about Kuemper. Time after time he had no one backing him up leaving one side of the net completely open. We hope that the team give him the support to get beyond this game as it could be a real demoralizer for him otherwise. Was Hackett in "time out" because of bad choices after win in San Antonio?

Forecheck said...

The guys do seem to save their worst for the home fans- especially on nights when the upper deck is open and quite possibly full of newbies.

Cody's fight struck me as rather pointless. I can see checking a guy hiding behind the net with 12 seconds left and there is a chance to score, but 3 seconds? That's kind of like someone checking the goalie into the boards from behind at the end of a game (oops...). Also, at 4-0 the game was really over given the Aeros' lack of offense.

And oh, boy, were Ragusin and Mayer terrible.....

Hopefully, there will be hell to pay at practice today - so the guys can experience what they put their fans through.

Right now, the Houston Steelheads (last night that could be said to have two menaings) or Houston Condors or whoever they are seem to be able to beat the bottom feeders like SA and Texas, and have major trouble with the real hockey teams in the league. If we ever get back the 65 guys currently on call-up or IR with the Wild, that might change.

Remember the good old days when we were an independent and didn't have to go through this crap so much?

Ms. Conduct said...

Anonymous, no, they'd planned to play Kuemper all along because he needed to get him in a game.

Anonymous said...

OKC had our number, that's for sure. They set up some beautiful plays on their PP and our guys should watch the film to see how it's done. I felt for Darcy...no one even in the neighborhood of his back door except the Baron burying the puck. It was ugly to say the least and most painful because of the size of the crowd. These guys really do have to get their heads on straight.

alw02 said...

I am getting more and more concerned that the change in coaching style does not fit the system or the players.

The system is designed to get the most out of moderate levels of talent and we have some good talent and good character playing really sloppy hockey.

Forecheck said...

Maybe instead of the Aeros it was actually Team USA from the IIHF Junior Tournament that was playing? Same results.

Talk about a group of young men that need to get their heads on straight...

Forecheck said...

{"Maybe we have to stay downtown in a hotel or something. Our focus at home has got to get better," he said. "The bottom line is, we've got to play harder for our fans... We don't even have a nick on our faces at all. We're not competing at all.}

Just a thought here - too many distractions in the big city? Too much partying the night before? Maybe a curfew/sequester in a downtown hotel really would help.

Steve said...

as for winning over the new fans there that night,

I gave my free teddy bear toss tickets to four friends so they could finally go check out a game. I doubt they are impressed with this "minor league" hockey team I am always raving about.

Forecheck said...

"if Darcy Kuemper has to pay for a single one of his drinks tonight, the team has failed him miserably"

Wait - is he old enough to drink? Or do you mean Pepsi?