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

Sunday, February 5, 2012

View from the Press Box - Aeros lose 2-1 to Milwaukee

Sometimes I get a chance to sit in the stands on Sundays. I don't have a real tight deadline, I bring my kiddo, and today it was nice to see more than 8,400 fans out there cheering on the Aeros before their longest road trip in team history.

Too bad they lost. Too bad they missed out on taking a 2-0 lead in the first period when they controlled play.

Too bad their only two glaring errors in the second turned into goals, and too bad DiSalvatore missed that penalty shot.

But one thing that surprised me by sitting in the stands today was all the hate for Hackett.

To be fair, I questioned whether or not he should have got the start, and ye, he was real slow reacting to that wraparound goal by Wilson that ended up being the game winner.

I am not the only one who thought they should have went with Kuemper today, but hey, we are not coaches, and we are not in charge of developing kids into NHL stars.

So we asked Torchetti about the call to start Hackett, and true to form, the Aeros' first year coach defended his second year goalie.

"He wasn't a little slow on a couple of slot plays, though. You have to (consider) that, too," said Torchetti. "He played a great game today, and he kept us in this game.

Torch went on to say that Sunday's start was more about getting him mentally ready for the grind that is a) this upcoming trip and b) the playoffs when they get there.

"That is what this one was all about, and I just wanted to push him, too," added Torchetti. "He is going to be playing a lot of games in the playoffs.

"He'll be playing three in four and four in six nights, so that is what it is all about. I know he did it last year, and so I just want to get him back in a groove for us.

"I felt comfortable with that move and the decision we made today to play him."

I heard a lot of fans getting on him for wandering and being lazy and just being a little scrambled.

To be clear, I think Hack was great, save for that second goal ... and I agree with the coach; he did make a lot of tough saves Sunday.

The only issue that I have is that for a team so desperate for home wins, it might have been better to go with the fresh legs and mind in a game where you almost need a shutout to win.

But after talking to Torchetti, I completely understand the decision and appreciate the candid answer when it's hard to sound like you are doing anything other than second-guessing.

Now the team heads out for 11 in a row. While the team did not discuss specific goals, I have to think that getting 11-14 points has to be the floor of what this team should expect.

We'll see, beginning Tuesday in Chicago.


Forecheck said...

I'm not surprised that the Aeros lost nor that they looked gassed at the end of the first period. One glance at the schedule shows this was a trap game - third in four ngihts, second in less than 18 hours, and Milwaukee did not play last night.

Credit a "W" to the AHL scheduling department, the largest organized group of sadists, er, uh, cheapskates in the western world.

And yes, that second goal was the "Matt Hackett Bad Goal of the Game". Or as fighter pilots say, "Lose sight, loose the fight".

I so not understand nor agree with Torch's decision to play Hackett. You can play a goalie too much and they are toast in the playoffs. Ask Freddie Chabot about that year he started over 70 games for the Aeros.

I also don't understand Torch's comment that Hackett is going to start a lot of games in the playoffs. The Aeros need to get into the playoffs first, and with their record lately that is not guaranteed. Second, they might need to get by Abbotsford or OKC in the first or second round which is rather unlikely (in any round).

Anyway, on to a Super Bowl I could care less about this year (New York team vs. Boston team). I just hope there are some good commercials.

ICEVET said...

You said: "Now the Team Heads Out For 11 in a row"..."11-14 points should be the floor"..........

Given the Aeros Road record (14-5-3)...3rd best only to OKC and Abbotsford (before Kolanos recent contract signing with the Flames)...this may be a blessing, at first glance.

However, "fluid" Aeros roster changes and competitive strengthening of other likely-SEEDS may cast some doubt that the Team can continue its dominance on the Road.....with 7 of the 11 games against likely-SEEDS: Abbotsford (4), Chicago, Milwaukee, and San Antonio.

Moreover, the greater challenge is whether the Aeros can achieve a Playoff SEED (period), given that 17 of the remaining 29 games are against likely-SEEDS, including additional games (FOLLOWING the 11-game Road Trip) with OKC (2), Abbotsford (2), Chicago (2), Milwaukee (3), San Antonio and Peoria. You figure!

Finally, everyone knows that the last quarter of any regular season is a dogfight, with head-head contests among the likely-SEEDS providing little credibility to expert predictions.

That said, it is a given that the Coaching staff will keep the Team focused on "one-game-at-a-time" and make whatever adjustments are necessary to reach the Playoffs.

Wishing the Aeros the Best of Luck!

Go Aeros!

Anonymous said...

Hackett was the fault of the first goal. I think everyone agrees on that, but I believe everyone was willing to let that slide. Stuff happens.

The second wrap-around goal was in-the-end his fault. Yet, if Medvec, or was it Friedheim, don't really remember, hadn't acted like a sissy and thrown a check on Wilson behind the net like Hackett expected him to do, instead of pirouetting away like a ballerina, there would have never been an opposing player with the puck to score the wrap-around goal.

The guys were tired. You could tell. Their timing was off. Even the usually solid Genoway was performing some WTH moves.