Houston Hotdish: On the Bubble

Joe Fallon, cute and sweaty and finding his rhythm back in the AHL again for Houston. Photo from ECHL.com

I'm technically on vacation this week, but I spent the morning working on my real job. So now I'm annoyed and want to go play in the sunshine. Which means your Hotdish this week is gonna be quick and dirty.

And quick and dirty means a hailstorm of bullet points coming your way after the jump, but it's still all good stuff, if you're hankerin' for some good news out of this organization.

  • Jarod Palmer is back and already has a goal. He's still syncing up with the rest of the guys who haven't been out for weeks on end, but boy is it nice to have his skill back.
  • Jeff Taffe is getting a jersey made of asbestos because he's EN FUEGO, y'all! Apparently, as a very animated Coach John Torchetti told us last night, he and Taffe had a little heart to heart a while back, which "are not always pretty" he said. But basically they told him to get his damn feet moving, be a damn leader, and WHOA, did he ever do both. The guy leads the team in multi-point games with 13, and has two 4-point games in the last 3 outings. What's amazing about it is that you don't even notice him doing it. When he's on, he's just wiley and smart and in the right place to be opportunistic.
  • Joe Fallon has emerged as the #1 goalie in Houston between he and Matt Keetley, who were both recalled from their ECHL teams to stick their fingers in the dam while Harding and Backstrom recover and Kuemper is out, per scuttlebutt, for a good long while. Fallon is getting more confident by the game and has himself some sexy puck-moving skills, so mama like.
  • Justin Fontaine had his first career 2 goal game last night and is also on a hot streak with 15 points in the last 12 games. The guy has speed and silky mitts and good vision and, while I wouldn't call him gritty, doesn't mind going to the greasy areas. He's a baller, no doubt about it.
  • One of the things you really look for down here is improvement in a guy's game and I think the most improved player this season in my mind is Chay Genoway. When the season started, he always pinched, always held the puck too long, always bobbed and weaved through traffic (which may have worked in college but doesn't generally in the AHL). Well, he's adapted finally and it's showing not only on the score sheet but in the level of trust you have watching him play. I've had his ceiling pegged at "good AHLer" but when I see this kind of transformation over a season, I have to rethink that.
  • After playing 3 games since Saturday's return from their ridiculous 34 day road stint, the boys have a 3 in 3 this weekend at home, so lots more opportunity to move up in the standings from the 7th place they're in right now (or 4-way tie for 6th if you want to just look at points). Much like the NHL West, your standings change literally day to day, by large sweeps up and down the conference. They were in 10th yesterday before beating Abbotsford last night. And everybody is within a point or two of each other. It's insane.

That's all you get! I need to go play now!

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