It’s game night Wilderness. I apologize in advance for the lack of an extremely upbeat post today; I am still really shell-shocked from Josh Harding’s announcement last night. But, life continues at its normal pace, and that means that the Aeros will be taking on the OKC Barons tonight at 7pm.
The good news this week is that Mikael Granlund has been practice with the team, and has been cleared to play tonight. However, the decision to play has been left up to the Little Finn. I certainly wouldn’t blame him for wanting to sit this series out, especially when we all know how brain challenged the Oilers are. I expect that there will be some sort of announcement closer to game time on whether he will play tonight.
Other injury updates thanks to Heather; Chad Rau will be out for awhile it appears, and no word on exactly what his injury is other than a puck to the foot. Steven Kampfer has pretty much confirmed everyone’s fear about his injury from the Ice Hogs game by stating he is spending a lot of time in darkrooms, and taking things day by day. I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t see him skating for a few months unfortunately. Jonas Brodin is still out, and luckily it looks like Brett Bulmer’s leg injury wasn’t as bad as the team thought. But no word on exactly what it is, or when he will be back in the line-up.
Obviously the last time these two teams played, things ended badly. The Aeros lost a Granlund and a Brodin in a 5 minute window, and then managed to pull out a win against the Barons the next night. These teams do not like each other, for good reason (at least on the Aeros part). It’s almost like they heard of our hatred for C&B, and decided to make it an on-ice dislike as well.
As for stats and stuff, the Barons are 6 points behind Charlotte for the lead in the western conference. But the Aeros are only 3 points behind the Barons thanks to their THREE game winning streak (longest of the year so far…). Justin Schultz, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins are all in the top 5 for scoring in the AHL overall. Justine Fontaine is the Aeros top scorer at 20th place( something like a 5 point difference between 1st and 20th). I’d like to point out that Fontaine has managed to go the entire season without getting a single penalty minute though.
Overall, this will be a good series. I expect that Matt Hackett will start one game, and Darcy Keumper will start the other unless Hackett is unstoppable in the game tonight.
- I know that the injuries to Granlund and Brodin are still pretty fresh on our minds, so I can only imagine that the Aeros are hungry for a bit of payback. Obviously no one wants to wish injury on a player, but do the Aeros take a few liberties with the Barons?
- It was fairly apparent even before the injuries that the Barons and the Aeros did not like each other. Does that distain translate into my penalty chart having a pretty active night?
- You never know which Aeros team will show up. Is tonight’s team the team of champions, or is it the "What is this game of hockey you speak of, I thought we were suppose to just skate in circles" team?
- Does our defense finally return from their incredibly long vacation? We’ve really missed them…
- Of the young guns (Zucker, Coyle, Granlund, Hall, Eberle, RNH), which team has the most impressive rookies tonight?
Per usual, check in with Aero Joe for a radio feed, or theahl.com. I’ll be posting stuff as I find it as well.