Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Aeros @ Toronto Marlies - Game 7 & other stuff

Other stuff first:

New goalie mask photo compilation on SI.com. Nom nom nom!!! Could Brian Boucher be any cuter with the little tufts of hair sticking out the holes? Thanks to Icethetics for the heads up on this.

Unfortunately, Josh Harding has, IMO, his best helmet ever (as opposed to the best helmet ever, which is Ryan Miller's) but Backs has been so good, he hasn't had any game time yet so it's not in there. Also, Kevin Weekes' mask is wicked. Shame he only plays like 5 games a year so nobody ever gets to see it.

Wild game last night was pretty entertaining, though injuries coming out of it are a concern. However, Cal and Mikko are healthy, so I'll be happy as a clam tomorrow night at the Stars/Wild game. And Burnzie has apparently made the trip to Dallas with the team, so hopefully we'll get to see him, too. I need to go print out maps and stuff. Just noticed that Avery is on the tickets we have. Heh.

Aeros in Toronto:

I watched MOST of this game. Kinda did a sampling of the third period to see Noreau's first goal of the season and to see if the steady level of "compete" I saw in the first two periods held up into the third. I felt like it did, but again, it wasn't enough. I won't bring up Deveaux's hat trick again. Rest assured, I'm making a very frowny face about it still.

Anyway, a quick game wrap-up: The Aeros looked very much like a team that had been spanked the previous two nights. They were moving their feet, playing like it mattered, looking like they wanted it. It was much better than Friday night.

In his broadcast, Joe O'Donnell pretty succinctly pointed out where some of the dirtier goals against were coming from: The Aeros were collapsing in front of the net on defense and, in the traffic and chaos, Schaefer was losing the puck and it was going in. As soon as he said that, I knew he was absolutely right. I'm not hockey savvy enough yet to always put my finger on a problem, so I appreciated that bit of analysis.

The penalty kill regressed a bit as a result, letting in 2 goals in 6 man advantage opportunities for the Marlies.

Some highlights of the game:

  • The first goal by Irmen from Lammers was a pretty 2 on 1 breakaway (with a second d-man hot on their heels). It's was a fast, neat play... one that you can see the momentum unfolding and you kinda hold your breath until it's in the net. Very very nice. I'm liking Lammers so far. Nice fit for this team. The Dallas Stars, at the very least, have a guy who, if they re-sign him after this season, will be a good player for them in Austin to kick their new AHL team off.
  • This was Jon Insana's first game with the team and he's pretty nifty with the puck and more offensive-minded than I expected. Some defensemen just look uncomfortable with the puck, but he was getting around out there. Turns out we needed him, too, with Love, Crowley, and Albers all out of the game for various reasons. And he did the initial work to set up the Aeros second goal of the night getting the puck free and then getting it to Schultz, who fed Lammers.
  • Adams also had a nice game and got himself an assist on the Aeros third goal feeding it to Rosa who took a sharp-angled shot on goal that Marlies goalie Pogge just lost in his gear and let trickle in.
  • Constantine stated before the game the take-away he had from Friday and Saturday's losses: “My big concern about the team right now is personality. And it takes a while for every team to develop its personality. Our new group of guys is a little more offensively capable and our D is still a work in progress. Our team personality hasn’t really formed yet. Our ability to handle the adversity of giving up goals wasn’t very good. One thing that a championship team has to do is they can’t latch on to any excuses.”

    Not so much a low-light of this game per se, but I always think it's interesting to hear where a coach thinks the problem is... is it a problem on the ice or a problem in the head? I think he'd probably say it's both but, obviously feels it's starting in the heads and hearts of his players.
  • Schaefer was not looking as sharp as he has in previous games this season. Even on the rubber he could see coming (no screen, no traffic), he just didn't seem to be seeing the puck real well in the first two periods, but did get better in the third.
  • Scratches: Love (not on trip), Crowley (driving his car back to Houston from Manitoba, or something like that... dear lord, I hope he had someone riding with him), Albers, Locke, Hamilton (all three of whom were a bit dinged up from the previous two games)
  • Starters: Schaef, Stoner, Rogers, Kolanos, Rosa, Olvecky
  • Captain: Rogers. O'Donnell said they're changing up the captain every two games. I question whether 2 games is long enough for a guy to really try to find himself in the role. I was assuming it would be a week at a time or a particularl stretch of games at a time. God knows the season's long enough to afford that. So far, I'm a fan of Stoner with the C.
Bring your applesauce (okay, don't really; they won't let you take it in) because the Iowa Chops are in town. Here's to good eatin' starting at 7:05 p.m.


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