First, let's get one thing straight. I am not a hockey expert. I could write a book on the history of the Aeros, and I can tell you one hell of a game story. But outside of stats and stories, I'd be fairly worthless as a scout or a coach.
But I can tell when I am watching a team that has a few broken parts, and right now, the Aeros are a bit tattered and bruised.
And my God, their record really masks the big picture.
This team, in its current state, is not capable of making a long run this Spring.
Their special teams are weak, and they can't win at home. Last two games at Toyota Center? They have been outscored 10-1 in front of more than 17,000 fans.
That does not bring people back to the games.
The Aeros were outworked last Sunday. Simple as that. Friday night, they were outworked and they played dumb hockey.
Torchetti first complimented the IceHogs on a very good game. And he was right, the last-place IceHogs - the worst team in the AHL - played a wonderful hockey game.
Then he got down to business.
"We've got to get tougher mentally ... We're not mentally tough yet.
"When you are asked to push, you have to find another level to your game. We're not finding it, and all the other teams are passing us right now."
Teams are passing them in in stats, they are passing them in how they've progressed since Day 1, and they are passing them on the ice and in the standings.
I know, I know ... they are still third in the division and it looks like they won't lose any ground in the division tonight.
But they are not as good as their record right now, and anyone that really follows the team knows this.
Part of that is because of all of the call-ups, yes. But at least four times since Thanksgiving, Torchetti has called out the team for not being tough, and he did it again Friday.
He even called out his veterans. He didn't say names, but Taffe, DiSalvatore, Ortmeyer were all below average Friday.
Here is some more from Torchetti.
"Right now, we are making mistakes when we don't need to ... our veterans have got to play better.
"And you are not going to win many games when you go six periods, and you've only got one goal. Sooner or later, our team is going to have to understand that we are not a goal-scoring team.
"You have to work harder, and you are going to have to get some more nicks and cuts and take a look in the mirror. That is the bottom line; we're just not working."
Torchetti said that kind of passiveness led to the IceHogs first goal. I didn't see who did it, and he didn't say, but instead of taking a hit and getting the puck out, a player took the easy way out and dumped it in.
Moments later, the IceHogs had their first goal after Hackett allowed one of two softies Friday.
The Aeros had a closed-door meeting after the game tonight to care care of what Torchetti called a "film session."
I can't go into particulars, but if you want to see if it made a difference, be sure to make your way over to San Antonio Sunday. That game will be telling either way.
The Aeros are a good team with a well-above average record, and there is still plenty of time to turn things around at home.
Let's hope they grow a little more in the next six weeks or so.
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