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

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Road trip continues in Milwaukee, Grand Rapids

Before the All-star break, the Aeros will play three games in four nights against Milwaukee (tonight) and Grand Rapids (Friday and Saturday). After that, they'll break and then continue the season with three home games before their long road trip starts back in Grand Rapids and Milwaukee.

Photo by Chris "wunderkind" Jerina
It's been 18 days and six games since the Aeros left the ice with two points, and the lack of offense is entirely to blame. They have scored more than three goals just twice since Dec. 26, and zero times in the last eight games overall. The Aeros have relied totally on the power play, but when you can't score 5-on-5 and your penalty kill stinks ... you are in trouble. And the Aeros are in trouble.

To be fair, their defense has been shredded with injuries and suspension (Mara) and they spend more time losing faceoffs and chasing the puck. I'd REALLY love to see how much time they've actually had on the attack when 5-on-5.

The shorthanded goals by Veilleux and Dowell were nice on Sunday, but the Aeros got pistol-whipped by a very bad Peoria team. The Rivermen have been on the uptick recently, and the Aeros ... well, they've lost six straight overall and nine in a row on the road.

Last month, early, the Aeros won six straight and seven of eight and were in the top three in both the conference and the overall standings. Since they, they're 5-8-3-1, and twice their head coach has accurately predicted losing streaks and/or slumps.

And when you really look at it, their above. 500 record is bolstered entirely on their performance against the San Antonio Rampage (4-1-1-0), Texas (4-3-1-0) and OKC Barons (6-1-0-0-). They are 14-5-2-0 against those three teams and 4-15 (with a few OT points sprinkled in) against everyone else.

Last year, the Aeros were Milwaukee's slump buster. Let's hope the Aeros can return the favor this year against their long time rivals. The Aeros could have Mara back, as his suspension was three games. Jonas Brodin (shoulder) has been skating and could return for a game or two starting tonight. And Marco Scandella (groin) could come back this weekend, if his rehab continues to progress.

The good news is that these guys are coming back. The bad news? Well ... they haven't played in a awhile and as baseball players say, they will need to get their timing back.

From Heather: 

Just wanted to add a couple other player notes. I noticed Palmieri hadn't played since clearing waivers along with Veilleux and Dowell and since he seemed quite happy and healthy in the Wild/Aeros scrimmage, I didn't think he was injured.

Turns out, after some investigating by Russo, that he simply didn't report to the Aeros until yesterday. You can see the quote on it from a pretty ticked off Chuck Fletcher in Russo's blurb about it today.

Understandably, too. Bad move unless ones goal is to get traded, but since he's cleared waivers, he'd probably just end up back in the AHL somewhere else. Of course, the Aeros luck lately, it would be with Texas or OKC or something. Haha.

But really, look around you. You might as well suffer the AHL in an organization that's so desperately injury-prone, a call-up is just a concussion or sprained ankle away. He was high on the list, and I don't know why you'd blow that. I'd say he was #2 behind Zucker unless Coyle started going crazy again.

Also, Johan Larsson was injured, looked like knee or something, against Chicago the other day, per reports from our midwestern correspondant Chris Jerina. Seems like Tyler Cuma has been out a few games, too, so maybe he's banged up again (though he just tweeted that he's back in the lineup tonight).

The team did return F Derek Couture to Ontario today, so maybe others are on the mend. Regardless, I don't see this team stabilizing at all until after the all star break on Jan. 27-28, where Jason Zucker will have the pleasure of playing with 2nd time All Star, Barry Brust. Lucky duck.

Okay, back to Andrew:

Before we go, here is some updated stats on the season and all-time series against the Admirals, courtesy of the Houston Aeros Press Office:

Houston Aeros (18-15-4-3, 43 points) at Milwaukee Admirals (17-16-3-3, 40 points)
The Houston Aeros and the Milwaukee Admirals meet for the third of four meetings this season. The two teams played on Oct. 27, a 4-0 win for the Aeros at the Toyota Center. Milwaukee claimed a 5-4 overtime win in the first meeting of the season on Oct. 21. The Aeros will visit Milwaukee for the final game of the season series on Feb. 8. The Aeros are coming off a 6-2 loss at Peoria on Sunday night. Houston is two games into a five-game road trip and currently winless in their last nine road games, going 0-6-2-1 since a 2-1 overtime win on Dec. 7 at Texas. Overall, the Aeros are mired in a season-long six-game winless skid (0-4-2-0) dating back to Jan. 4. The Aeros are 6-9-2-1 on the road and 2-5-3-0 over the last ten games. The Admirals return home after a 2-0 loss at Abbotsford on Sunday, extending the team’s winless skid to five games at 0-3-1-1. Milwaukee is 10-3-2-2 at home this season and 3-4-1-2 over the last ten games.

Milwaukee leads the all-time series, posting a 55-32-5 record. Houston is 35-49-8 against Milwaukee in 92 AHL meetings. The Admirals swept the season series in 2011-12, besting the Aeros in all four meetings by a combined score of 10-4. Houston lost one in overtime and one in a shootout, posting an 0-2-1-1 mark against the Nashville Predators AHL affiliate. Dating back to the 2010-11 season, the Aeros have dropped six of the last seven decisions to the Admirals.

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