Houston Aeros 1994-2013: Thank you for all the great memories and two decades of great hockey and entertainment.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Aeros Lose 4-2 Texas -- The This Is Getting Tiring Edtion

The Aeros took to the Toyota Center ice tonight for the last time in two weeks. And with the way they played, Aeros fans might not be too angry if the team just decides to stay away for an even longer period of time.

The Aeros lost 4-2 to the Texas Stars tonight. There was a sloppy first period -- a too many men on the ice bench minor less than two minutes in the game was just the epitome of the sloppiness. They trailed 3-1 after that first period. They showed some life in the second period -- there was a nice goal by Jason Zucker to pull the Aeros to within 3-2. But the sloppiness returned in the third and the Aeros lost, again.

John Torchetti's statements are the game weren't much different from those we heard earlier this season, or Friday night, or last season. There's talk of a lack of commitment. Of guys who need to step up. Of letting the Stars feel too comfortable on Toyota Center ice. 

"We've got to work harder," Torchetti said. "I don't see the desperation that we need to see."

But what's it going to take for the team to show that needed desperation on ice? The answer seems unknown. Maybe hard work. Maybe execution. But until they figure it out, it's just miserable to watch.

"It's frustrating," Torchetti said. "We try to slap a puck in from the red line and it only goes two feet and it comes back and it's in the net. That's just how it's going. Nothing I can tell them except hey, you've got to keep battling through it. You've got to work harder."

Drew Bagnall spoke after the game, and he accepted some of the blame, as if he's not doing enough in his leadership role to make the urgency, the desire, the want to work harder aspect of the game evident to the younger guys.

"We have to come together as a team," he said. "It's no one individual player who's going to win or lose us a game. It's  team thing. It starts with leadership, and I'll take the brunt of the blame for that."

Torchetti just wants the guys leaving more of themselves out on the ice.

"The number one thing is, we've got to pay a bigger price," he said. "We're not paying any price at all. We don't even have one nick on our faces. We've played in four hockey games, and I don't think anyone's paid a price yet." 

But as frustrating as it is for Torchetti and Bagnall, it's more frustrating for the fans. The team's been sloppy. The play's been lackluster for the most part (Jason Zucker and Justin Fontaine being the most notable exceptions to that). Sure the team's been hit with injuries, but injuries can in no way excuse what's happening out on the ice. 

The Aeros are gone until November 25 when they host the Abbotsford Heat led by former Aeros assistant Troy Ward. Will the team play better on the road? Will they find themselves away from Toyota Center? That's still to be determined.


Tonight's sacrificial goalie was Darcy Kuemper. 


Anonymous said...

Maybe the NHL's drag on fighting casts pall on all Hockey!
Just gotta find a thing or people to blame, right!

Forecheck said...

"But what's it going to take for the team to show that needed desperation on ice?"

Maybe the words "former Houston Aero"?

"execution" In the words of John McKay, "I'm in favor of that".

Awful, awful, AWFUL first period. AGAIN! Kuemper started off as bad as Hackett.

I’m glad they are going on the road for two weeks. I’ve seen enough crappy hockey from this team (four times in eight days) to last for a couple of MONTHS. I can’t take it any more! Can anyone say these last four games have been fun to watch?

Torchetti's excuses are growing wearisome. Maybe he should try coaching.

Forecheck said...

Mike Yeo had a concept while he coached here that I loved. It's called "embrace the hard". He sold it to the team and that team, one with mediocre talent, went to the finals with it. It's a great life lesson to, I just wish I had learned it earlier than I did.

Most of the leadership from that team is gone as are many of the other players, so the organization has lost the concept and Torchetti seems unable to teach it effectively. The guys have no concept of "hard". I'm thinking they need a new teacher.

Similarly, a lot of the on-ice leadership has been appauling. Strip Bagnall of the "C" and give the "A"s to Rau, Zucker, and Fonzie. Let a leader emerge from them for the "C".

Or maybe they just need a couple of weeks of Marine boot camp to strip the "pretty boy" outta 'em?

Anonymous said...

Is it simply too early in the season to expect to see improvement in passing and defense? You're right, John, this is tiresome for the fans. Seems like the rhetoric is no different than last year...all year. Tonight really did show that the losses in the past couple of games were not totally on Hackett. A good lesson for us. Both goalies are being hung out to dry much of the 60 minutes.

ICEVET said...

One of the most arcane, yet revealing, hockey metrics is the +/- number (used, in part, by TEAMS to measure a Skater's performance).

Simply put, a Skater receives a + when his team scores on his shift (other than PP/SH goal) and a - when the opposing team scores on his shift (other than PP/SH goal).

The results during the 4 most recent home games (11/4-11) provide a more introspective look into the relative performance of individual Aero skaters, highlights of which follow:

Net POSITIVE performance came from certain skaters registering AT LEAST +3 ratings: Connelly (+6), Genoway (+4), and McIntyre (+3).

Conversely, Net NEGATIVE performance came from certain skaters registering AT LEAST -3 ratings:
Kampfer (-7), Phillips (-5), Scandella (-4), Cuma (-3), Bulmer (-3), and Foucault (-3).

The remaining Aeros Skaters (which fell below the +/-3 rating threshold for the 4 games) have been omitted.

To be sure, the Coaching staff will look at this (+/-) performance as part of their evaluation of how to fix the situation. Few fans can remember the last time the Aeros lost 4 straight games on home-ice.

Go Aeros!

Anonymous said...

This is my first ever post after having to endure the atrocities of the past week.
Big big mistake on the failure to resign Jed Ortmeyer.
This would have been instant leadership and example.
The play of the team is reflecting the mindset of the coaching.
way too passive.
To me this filters up to the top as well.
Commenting on some of the above issues, Kampfer belongs in the echl at best, with Scandella and Cuma being called out.
For veterans the defensive play is horrendous.
This team was hyped to be already in the Calder Cup before the season started but with the performance thus far they'll be battling San Antonio and Texas for the bottom.
Hopefully I'm wrong and they will eventually get it together.
In comparing this with last year remember the injury and call up situation that was endured.

Anonymous said...

One thing is obvious, Hackett and Kuemper should not be to blame. They are both not being supported by the rest of the team and it is easy to blame the goalie's in a losing situation. But maybe the fans of the aeros should be a little more supportive, no one likes to lose.

Anonymous said...

Some guys are working hard and others are, well, not. I noticed that Scandella stayed on the ice for an entire penalty kill in the second period. It was his choice not to come off ice and I commend him for it. I've come to the conclusion it's the coaching. There's no consequence for not playing the system or being out of position WAY too often. I'm only on the 25 game package but have only seen them win once at home so far this season. Torchetti needs to grow a pair.

Anonymous said...

@anonymous (the last one)
One hears that players are less inclined to heed the coaches' advice. Some do think they know it all especially when they were 'talents' in the minors.

eminemilie315 said...

I understand the reasoning behind blaming the coaching, but let's be honest, Torchy has already proven that he can coach. I don't think it's fair to blame the goalies either.

It comes down to the defense. Kampfer is almost embarrassing to watch right now. Scandella is one of my favorite players, but he needs to step up and show why he was on the Wild's #1 line at the end of last year (yes, injuries...but he is still pretty damn good).

I also somewhat agree that the guys are still working out kinks and getting use to changes (still early in the season), but there is no reason that the Aero's can keep up with the Barons, but turn around a lose to the Marlies and Stars in such horrible fashion.

Joe said...

Forecheck - love your comments, and I agree with the 'C' maybe should not be on Bagnall's sweater. I kind of cringed when I heard he would be the captain. Solid player for the most part, but I just don't see leadership.

Icevet - agree with your comments. Kampfer and Scanella picked up -3 each in the Texas game. My family and I are like "What the heck has happened to Scandy?" Kind of expected some sloppiness a game or two off injury. But three? Kampfer is just lost, and needs to go down a league. We love Genoway. Always solid. Except there was game 3 of 3 a week back that left me wondering about him his conditioning. He was so gassed after every shift he almost had to crawl off the ice, and it showed in his play.

Anonymous(2) - would have loved to have had Jed sign. He always gave 100%.

Anonymous(3) - Hackett is not entirely to blame, but he is not playing up to par. Keep in mind Hackett is 2-4 this year. Kuemper is 3-2. Also, the whole game Texas was not only beating our defensemen on the skate, they were getting behind them without having to beat them. Don't forget Kuemper was the saving grace in that 5 on 3 power play.

eminemilie315 - not sure Torch has a proven coaching record. Seems like every time he makes it up to the NHL he gets sent back down to the minors.