After today's 2-1 shootout loss to the Oklahoma City Barons, the Aeros have now played 1/3rd of the season. While they're tied with the Barons with 35 points for first place (record with 14-4-2-5), it's probably safe to safe that nobody's entirely happy with the team's play, especially at home.
So after today's game, we asked John Torchetti about the team at the 25-game point, the play of Darcy Kuemper, having a roster full of new guys, etc.
On the play of the defensemen;
"You know what," he said. "Bottom-line is, our defensemen need to get the puck to the net. Our defenseman have got to do a better job breaking out. It doesn’t matter who’s in the lineup now. You’re in the American Hockey League. You want to get to the National Hockey League. You’ve got to be disciplined. You’ve got to come and be consistent every night, and that’s the difference in winning and losing. It cost us a point tonight."
"All of it. Their D were just trying to shoot to get rebounds. Our D was trying to score. We don’t need to score from the point. Your job is to get the puck to the net. When you’re trying to score that means you’re going high, and that’s not going to work."
As for the state of the team as of game 25.
"I don’t know what it is, yet. I’d probably get a little better idea, but I don’t know if we’ve had the same lineup, twice. I know our team cares. I know it competes. I know it’s got good character. I know it wants to get better every day. And it’s our job to make sure we push them to that so that they’re ready to go to the NHL. And I hope they understand that that’s the main purpose behind our coaching staff.
"We don’t like to give up points to anybody. These are points that might decide home ice to whatever round it is because you know you’re going to be playing top teams you’re going to be playing them, and they’ll [OKC] be one of the top teams."
On the play of Darcy Kuemper, who joined the team on the last road trip.
"He’s going to be a lot of fun to watch. We’re very spoiled here with our goaltending, I can tell you that. Very, very happy. He works hard, though. He comes to work in practice. He wants to start in every game, and that’s what you want. He doesn’t like to be scored on. He’s got all of the characteristics of [Matt Hackett]. He’s a bigger goalie. He takes up a lot of the net, but he’s really detailed. His movement’s good, and he’s in position for the second shot. I thought he was the difference in the game for us, to get a point tonight."
It's easy to be disappointed with the team. But I tend to agree with something else Torchetti said. The team is getting points. They might not get two points every night, but one point is better than no points, and of 25 games, there are only four games in which the Aeros have failed to get a point.
There are improvements that need to be made. Some of the play probably needs to be tightened up. Then again, the Wild, as seemingly happens every year, are full of injuries which have necessitated call-up after call-up after call-up from Houston. And the Aeros themselves are suffering injuries to key players. Jed Ortmeyer's suffering from a lower body injury, but his return appears to be more imminent than the return of David McIntyre who is suffering from an upper body injury.
So that's 25 games down, and