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

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Weekend catch-up/look-ahead

Oh Aeros...

So, Friday night, they beat a hot Rochester team and look damn good doing it. The added toughness and veteran juju was readily apparent. But Saturday, they lose Zucker and Larsson and get whooped by a bad Hamilton Bulldogs team. *womp womp*

Now, if you've been to Hamilton, it's a proud city but it's also the kind of place that might induce a bit of malaise in visitors. Mr.C and I spent an exciting night there once watching televised bingo in our hotel room.

So, somewhere in my cold, dark heart, I sort of understand when teams go there and mainly just want to leave. "Oskie wee wee! Whiskey wa wa!..."

Anyway, still a really nice run the Aeros are on for being on the road, but tomorrow at Noon CT, they face the Marlies. So, if you're off tomorrow for President's Day, maybe you can listen in online (1070knth.com) or watch on AHLLive.com

Always kind of a crap shoot with the Marlies but they appear to be a lot less potent since the NHL started back up, losing 3 of their top 4 scorers. But they still have Ryan Hamilton and he's got 20 goals and 10 assists, and it seems he ALWAYS finds the back of the Aeros' net. I think doing so is in the CBA: Goal per game against the fans who used to love you. It's part of the "letting go" process.

Won't be a walk in the park, is what I'm saying, but might actually be a good game.

Meanwhile, in the NHL, Kuemper got his second start, literally notified of it partway through warmups, when Nic Backstrom was too ill with the flu (as is a good chunk of the Wild right now) to start. Backs backed up but sat on the bench looking very much like he would prefer to be in bed. Luckily, even just sitting around in it, goalie gear is hot. Maybe he sweated it out a bit.

Anyway, Kuemper got his first win, stopped an awful lot of rubber, including some deceptively difficult shots and breakaways. The Wild certainly didn't protect him from the charms of the (somewhat de-clawed) Detroit Red Wings like one might hope, but he was poised and steady as usual.

Further, Zucker scored a beauty of a first goal. Basically played the exact same game he played in Houston, which is impressive to do in your first NHL game in nearly a year. His speed is just as impressive alongside NHLers, which is awesome to see.

Lots of people said, "Hope you didn't get attached" and such, as though he's never coming back to Houston, but honestly, it's a numbers game. If he stays beyond others being ill, someone's gotta move. But he definitely showed that he's ready, which should surprise exactly nobody who watches the Aeros regularly. But that's great for him.

Larsson also played his first NHL game and played really well. Again, very much the same game he played here.

All in all, as much as Coach Torchetti can be proud of what the guys do down here, his real mission is accomplished on days like this, where guys go up and not only fit in, but contribute in a big way to the Wild's success. As Torch himself would say, That's the bottom line.

Aeros have a home and home vs. OKC Friday and Saturday. So, be sure and get out to the game Saturday, because they're gone until March 14th after that. Worth the price of admission just to see how bad the ice is after the NBA ASG and disuse for weeks on end.


Forecheck said...

Ms. -

I was thinking a better title might be "Road Warriors?" because that's what they seem to have become.

Hopefully they can start playing like that at home, especially if we are syaing goodbye to them after this season (although Mr. Andrews did not express any concerns about Houston).

ICEVET said...

The Hamilton "hockey market" is an enigma.

Unlike Houston, where "potential" hockey fans opt for up to 5-6 other major sports activities, Hamilton denizens tend to prefer the Maple Leafs (if affordable) or the Marlies over their "home team", resulting in perennial low (below AHL league averages) attendance.

Marketing snafus and poor TEAM operating management, over the years, have only made a bad situation worse. Perhaps, a few Aeros fans can remember Game 6 in the 2003 Calder Cup Finals when over 17,000 fans in Hamilton saw their TEAM lose to the Aeros in overtime. It has been nothing but a downhill trek since.

Also, it is interesting that Channel 13 investigative reporting, during NBA Week, outed the fact that Mr. Alexander has been fully reimbursed (by the State of Texas) for his TC jumbo scoreboard. Most fans were, originally, led to believe by the Houston Sports Media Class and Rockets Management that the $ 9-12 Million price tag was a Rockets "investment"....which again reminds us that "things are not always what they appear to be".

Go Aeros!

Anonymous said...

We have four wins so anytime you can break even on a road trip that is good. After the big win over Rochester coupled with the callups the loss to Hamilton comes as no surprise.
Maybe we can reverse the luck we've had with Toronto lately.
Anyone have any idea why the signing of a third goaltender?

Ms. Conduct said...

Ah yes, forgot to mention that. Aeros signed a third goalie because Curry "isn't 100%" per Mill. I asked whether he was sick or if it's still a lingering injury (I think he's just coming off an injury) but he didn't respond. I don't think it's a big deal. Might be a tough weekend for Hackett but he can handle it.

Andrew J. Ferraro said...

Four wins so far is a God-send for this team to this point. Split the next two, and it's a great road trip that will keep them in the hunt until they get their 10-game homestand in about a month.

If they can stay in the Top 8 until March 15, I really think the Aeros will have a shot at the 4 or 5 seed.

That being said, this is going to be a monster stretch of importance for Matt Hackett.

Forecheck said...

ICE - I'm so mad at how Le$ 's new toy was funded I will feel obligated never to look at it again.

ICEVET said...

@ Mr. Ferraro:

From 20,000 feet.....

The next 8 games: OKC (2-one @ TC), ABB (3-one @ TC), CHA (2-back-back, night-day), and SA (1)....OKC, ABB, and SA continue to lack consistent offense and Barry Brust has had 2 difficult outings.

Beyond March 19, 15 games: with SA (4), Texas (2), other top-tier teams (3) and (6) mid-low tier teams.....with one 3-3
weekend (2 @ TC).

From this Fan's vantage point, it is difficult to see how "home-ice" gives the Aeros ANY significant advantage.

With the Sunshine Kid more likely to remain with the WILD, the imponderable is clearly Hackett, as you say.....AND therefore, statistically, the Aeros must pot at least 3 goals/g to have a betting chance to win with Hackett in goal.

The Math just seems very fuzzy.

Go Aeros!

Anonymous said...

Just noticed the injury list. Did Scandella get hurt again?

Andrew J. Ferraro said...

@Anon - Scandella did indeed get hurt again. Not sure how or exactly when.

@ICEVET - From 21,000 feet, I think the Aeros are a better home team, and the numbers indicate that.

In 25 home games, the Aeros have points in 17 of those games and have outscored opponents 70-64. On the road, the Aeros have points in 17 of 28 games, but have been outscored 75-72.

Their points percentage is better and their goals for and goals against are both better at home.

Another reason I like their chances with all the home games down the stretch? They play eight of games against OKC, SAT, ABB, CHI and HAM. Those teams are a combined 22 games under .500 on the road.

Of course, anything can change, but the schedule is in their favor after the trips to Charlotte and Abbotsford.

Anonymous said...

Wow!! Another two points stolen considering four shots in the first and two shots in the fourth.

Defense and outstanding goaltending (I think Matt can sense the forthcoming situation in Minnesota, although really feel for all the misfortune that Josh Harding has had to face).

Would be nice to see some players off of the injured list as would bet the farm most of the call ups will not be coming back down.

Please Brian Connelly come back so there can be a healthy d scratch (Kampfer)

Andrew J. Ferraro said...

Anon -

Mr. Kampfer has rebounded nicely in the last 40 days. He's got 4 goals, 4 assists and is a plus-8 in his last 14 games.

He was on the ice for the lone Toronto goal today, but that was a fluky result.