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

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Aeros Lose 5-4 (SO) To Monsters

If you look closely, you'll see a slight problem with the brand new gigantic scoreboard.

This is getting tiring. The Aeros get off to a crappy start. They get back into the game. They tie it late. They play a tough overtime, then lose in the shootout. Yeah, it's a familiar story. 

It happened again tonight as the Aeros lost to the Lake Erie Monsters 5-4 in the shootout. They're now 5-4-1-2 (12 points) 12 games into the season. And as head coach John Torchetti told us after the game, with their offensive skill guys out of action for several more weeks to come, the Aeros are going to have to get used to playing these types of games, and somebody is going to have to step up at some point and take over.

"This is our team," he said. "Until we understand that we have to come out and play consistently our roles, and do what we're asked to do and play our system, we're going to be playing like this for a long time, until we get to work and understand that commitment as a hockey team."

The Aeros fell behind quick, losing 2-0 midway through the first period. Nick Palmieri got the Aeros on the board late in the first, then Justin Fontaine tied early in the second with a spectacular goal that had him falling and flipping the puck off of his stick.

The Aeros would fall behind again, only to have Chad Rau tie it, then they fell behind again, only to have Jason Zucker tie just before the end of the third period.

Then came the shootout and shot after shot into the stomach and pads of the Lake Erie goalie. And just like that, it was over. The Aeros got a point, yay, but do these things really feel like wins? Not after the last two years.

Torchetti might have been even-keeled-like after Thursday's loss, but he seemed to be trying to send messages tonight. Messages of disappointment. Messages of guys just not getting it.

"We've got to play defense, bottom line," he said. "We've got one line tonight that wanted to cheat all over the ice and gave up two goals and they didn't want to commit to playing defense, and until they do, we're not going to be a winning hockey club."

And this: "We have to be more focused. Our young guys have to understand that we have to be ready for a 60 minute hockey game. They think that they're going to free points. This is a tougher league. Tough league."

He said several times that with the skill guys like Mikael Granlund out, there are some other guys who really need to step up there games, and aren't. This is their chance, and they're not taking it. "We've got guys who are still sleeping," he said.

So ends another night from Toyota Center. Another night ending in another defeat in the shootout. Yeah, yeah, they got a point. Yeah, yeah, it's always nice to get a point. But wouldn't it be nice for them to actually get two points for once.


Dear Toyota Center, thanks for that huge-ass video screen and scoreboard. But how about making sure the damn clocks are synchronized. Is that really to damn much to ask?

If you look carefully at the photo above, you'll notice that clocks show a different time. And this is during game action. It happened at the end of the first period, the end of the second period, the end of the third period, and the end of overtime.

Yes the Aeros are just a mere tenant. Yes the Rockets are the masters. But would the clock really keep malfunctioning like that if the Rockets were playing the Lakers? No, no it wouldn't. So why was it happening in period after period tonight?


Forecheck said...

With all due respect to Torchetti, losing two guys, one of them a forward, the other a D-man, should not cause your team to fail the way the Aeros are failing, unless their names are Gretzky and Orr.

I mentioned to someone during the first intermission that I thought Hackett’s next start should be in Orlando. After watching him try to be an AHL goalie during the shootout, I think I’’ll stand by my statement.

The team played better, especially on offense, but they are nowhere near where they need to be.

It’s sad how a team that was so hyped over the summer regarding how much talent they had has turned out to be at best a mediocre team. It’s like last season’s team with more offense and less defense (and I have already covered goaltending).
They are now 2-5 at home this season. If they keep that up, I should achieve “not caring anymore” by mid-season.

Forecheck said...

Looks like the Solar Bears have added Hannu Toivonen, a goalie with about 60 or so NHL games to their roster.


Anonymous said...

What can the coach do to get the guys he thinks are slacking off to listen up and get off their heels? Hearing his same comments game after game is tiresome. Hackett letting in the 2 SO goals was all on him...can't blame anyone else and the shooters didn't do anything fancy, they approached and they shot. I assume our guys practice for shootouts??? Doesn't look like it and it's beginning to look like last year...more pain. Hope we see Darcy tonight.

Joe said...

Another IM to the family "11 minutes into the first 2 shots on goal. Down by 2. Damn."

First period was horrible.

Have you heard of a ball-hog in basketball. Well, that's what we have when the Aeros are playing like crap. I don't really agree with Torch. I think the biggest problem is puck-hogging. Pass the damn puck! But yes the defense needs some serious improvement, too.

Second period I'm listening to Aero Joe and his co-host talking about the game swinging the Aeros way with a 10 second delay (frustrating). I didn't see it. Maybe the Aeros were finally waking up and getting in to game, but it was not swinging their way. I would call it even.

Third period. Finally! They start playing as a team. Passing, getting in front of the net, stick checking, fighting for the puck. If they lose a game playing this way through all three periods, its an acceptable loss.

OT was a complete sleeper. Kind of like "Oh, I'm content with a point tonight."

And then the typical shootout Aeros style. Hackett this year 1-2, last year 1-6. If we go to a shootout, it's not in our favor to win.

Forecheck said...

Anon - The next game is Sunday, not Saturday.

Not that it matters any.

ICEVET said...

Ms Conduct has previously suggested that the Aeros Goalie situation is probably going to shake itself out.

With 12 games played, Matt Hackett (2-6 record) has started 9 games, while Kuemper has started 3 (3-1 record, 1 SO, 2.15 GA) and appeared in a fourth to rescue the Aeros, where Hackett was pulled (after allowing 3 goals in the first 12 minutes).

Aeros fans may recall that Kuemper brought a strong track record of achievement to Houston in 2011, winning over 50 WHL / ECHL games (13 SO) in little over than a season before taking a permanent roster spot. Named the WHL Player of the Year in 2010, he was again honored as the Reebok AHL Player of the Month in December, 2011, covering 7 games (1 SO), with Hackett recalled to the WILD.

Most fans understand that the performance of the Netminder is critcal to the character, morale and confidence of a hockey TEAM, at ANY LEVEL. When the TEAM is not playing well, the netminder must step up and play at a higher level. It follows that incurring unnecessary (slashing) penalties and breaking goalsticks do little to foster confidence.

Serious Aeros fans hope that Hackett will find solutions and Kuemper will be given an honest opportunity to play.

Forecheck said...

Ice -

Not to mention the "Mr. Innocent" high stick to the face which drew a reprimand from the ref Friday night - I would have called a penalty.

Anonymous said...

Guess you win as a team loose as a goalie. It is unbelievable that people put all this blame every game you loose on this kid. The last time I checked hockey was a team sport, not just a goalie . And its become a constant on this site to do the easy thing... Blame him.

Emilie said...

Obviously losing Granlund and Brodin has shaken things up a bit. But almost all of these guys have proven at one point or another that they can play well here, so I completely agree with Forchecker on that aspect that losing them shouldn't make the team fall apart. I honestly think that there are a few guys who have gotten comfortable in their positions and have stopped pushing themselves. Hopefully tonight's rest will allow them to get their heads together and start playing as a team instead of depending on only a few guys to carry everything.