The first game of my three game Aeros excursion is in the books. Unfortunately the Aeros lost 2-1 to the Texas Stars tonight, but they can make up for it by winning tomorrow night and Sunday night. Tonight was also my first night in the press box, which was such a surreal experience. Sucks to not be able to cheer/leer though. Special thanks to Heather and Andrew for taking me under their wings and showing me the ropes, they are super good people and you all should be following them on twitter for Aeros updates/comic value (@ms.conduct/@hockeygalindo and @andrewjferraro). I also got to take part in Coach Torchetti’s post-game interview. I couldn’t think of any questions that didn’t involve me peeing my pants while asking it, so anyone who has legit Aeros questions should hit me up so I can ask some tomorrow. I was seriously so nervous/excited that my arm was a little shaky, which actually made noise on my recording of the interview. Without further ado, here is my rundown of the game and how the Aeros are doing in general.
The main issue with the Aeros for quite some time has been special teams. The Aeros just aren’t producing anything on the power play (granted, they did have one power play goal tonight). The penalty kill has been horrendous, and even Coach Torchetti said tonight he’s not even sure if the Aero penalty kill unit is at 20%. Tying in with my post earlier today, the Aeros are taking too many penalties in general. Especially with the penalty kill unit allowing so many goals. Torchetti also mentioned in his post game interview that he knows he needs to be harder on the players who take part in special teams. I saw evidence of him attempting to find some different lines with chemistry and productivity tonight; at one point I believe that Coyle, Larsson and Phillips where on a line during a PP.
The other big topic of the night was Zucker getting bumped from the beast line to second line with Larsson and Rau. Apparently this actually happened last game and I managed to miss it, but Torchetti really likes having Zucker and Larsson on a line together. Their speed is great and they have really good chemistry, which was evident in the two goals that they scored together last game. I’ll be paying attention to this as the season goes on.
Overall tonight, the Aeros just didn’t play great hockey. There wasn’t a lot of chemistry, and there really weren’t a whole lot of great scoring chances that the Aeros were robbed on. It just wasn’t there. The scary part is that the Aeros need to rebound in order to stay in a decent position in the conference and the division. The race for the top is so tight that if a team loses 2 or 3 games in a weekend, they take a pounding in the standings. It’s a little early to be looking towards the playoffs, but I am predicting a really tight race for the Western conference this year. Hopefully the Aeros have some more energy when they take on the San Antonio Rampage tomorrow night. I’ll be tweeting/updating live from the Toyota center starting at 7pm (maybe earlier even).