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

Monday, April 16, 2012

Playoffs? Playoffs?

In which I share a few thoughts on the Aeros waiting until the last possible moment to make the playoffs. So please, go give it a read.

And one further note I thought I would share here (have to save something for you guys): the Aeros are the only one of last season's AHL final four teams to make the playoffs this season. Binghamton and Hamilton were eliminated pretty early on, and the Aeros win kicked Charlotte out.

So they've got that going for them.

I'll be back with my playoff series prediction later this week.

Oh, one more thing: if you're wondering why the Aeros are opening at home, the answer is that's what the Barons wanted. In the five game format where several hundred miles of travel is involved, i.e., the higher seed in round one gets the option of starting with two home games then going on the road for three, or it can open on the road for two and play at home for the final three. The Barons chose to open on the road and close things out on home ice.

1 comment:

ICEVET said...

The 4/16 (Hairball) article gives due credit to the Aeros for overcoming adversity. A few facts (below) may be of interest to those sizing up the OKC series:

First, everyone knows that THE #8 seed Aeros will face the #1 seed OKC.....ironically, in 2011, OKC was THE #8 seed facing #1 seed Milwaukee (a series which OKC lost in 6 games).

Second, a key factor in the OKC turnaround in 2012 is much-improved DEFENSE, registering the AHL #1 Goals Against metric (2.32 GA/g) v. 2.92 GA/g in 2011)..a huge swing factor, bolstered by the AHL #2 PK (85.5%) and excellent goal support from 31-year old Yann Danis and David LeNeveu. Moreover, in Aeros games, OKC gave up a very frugal 1.5 GA/g.

Conversely, the 2012 Aeros gave up 2.71 GA/game, while not much worse than the 2.65 GA/g allowed the 2011 Special Team belies the poor chemistry of "ever-changing" Aeros special teams registering an AHL #24 PK (80.6%) and 11 short-handed goals.

Third, the loss of 75 goals from departed Alexandre Giroux and Colin McDonald did not stop OKC from achieving a consistent and more diversified scoring OFFENSE in 2012 (2.80 GF/g). In Aeros games, OKC hit a high of 3.25 GF/g, including the 6-0 "outlier" on New Years Day, which blew away the Sunshine Kid with four 5-on-3 goals, as the Aeros registered a game high PIM.

In contrast, the 2012 Aeros OFFENSE (2.66 GF/g) eroded considerably from the 2011 Special Team's metric (3.00 GF/g). Aeros PP teams also managed to register `20 FEWER PP goals than 2011, offseting the "relative competitive advantage" from staying within Torchetti's system which gave up the League's LEAST number of penalty minutes/game.

OKC's Clear Day roster will include 9 returning skaters AND the mercurial Ryan Keller (the winning goal for Binghamton in Calder Game 6), while the Aeros will return 7 un-injured players (Palmer and Scandella are question marks).

Summing up, after being the Aeros patsy last season (9 losses in 10 games), OKC has evened the score with 7 wins in 8 games this season (5 of 8 decided by a single goal...including 4 shootouts).

Despite OKC's regular season dominance, however, here is a good chance that every game in the series will be decided by a single-goal, with the series going to 5 games...the return of Jared Palmer and Marco Scandella could give the Aeros a fighting chance for upset, if Hackett is up to it.

All the Best to the Boys!

In contrast,