The Aeros lost 4-3 last night, allowing 3 straight in the first and second, then scoring 3 straight of their own in the third. But in the end, a 4th goal from the Barons was more than the Aeros could match.
Unfortunately, that's not the story going into tonight's rematch. Both Jonas Brodin and Mikael Granlund were injured in the game and will be out of service for a while, especially Brodin who has a broken clavicle after getting crushed by Taylor Hall in his AHL debut.
The hit was originally ruled a match penalty for contact to the head, which would have meant a suspension of at least one game (likely, tonight where he was slated to sit out the second game of OKC's weekend 3 in 3). But the AHL rescinded the penalty today after reviewing it. Hall had said he felt it was shoulder on shoulder and not a head shot, and the change by the league (and the broken clavicle) seem to support that.
To add to the intrigue, Taylor Hall spoke to the Edmonton Sun earlier in the week saying he felt the play in the AHL is a little reckless and maybe the NHL guys are targeted a bit more. This was after OKC played the Aeros Friday before last and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins got the butt end of Granlund's stick in his mouth and missed part of last Friday's game getting his mouth fixed back up.
As yet, however, none of the Barons stars have lost any more than a period or two to injuries. Meanwhile, Zucker, and now Granlund and Brodin, will have missed several games each.
Above is video of the Brodin hit, with Hall skating full speed into and
absolutely rocking the rookie. It was a hockey play (Brodin was going for the puck), but I'm not sure an unbiased person can say it wasn't reckless. If we're being honest with ourselves, many hockey plays look pretty reckless in some way. This one was just sort of a perfect storm of high profile players, teams, awkward timing from a media perspective, and an injury.
Granlund's deal is a leg strain of some sort. Both guys will need more evaluation to see how lengthy the recovery will be for each. But strains heal and bones mend, so it could be worse. And good news for the Oilers/Barons is that Hall's shoulders are obviously 100% after off-season surgery if he's going shoulder to shoulder and breaking the other guy.
The teams meet again tonight. Zucker is back in for Houston and they've called up rookie defenseman Corbin Baldwin, a big dude who's had a scrap or two in his day, but not a goon either. Per Russo, the pickings are slim for healthy call-up defensemen and calling him up isn't a "response" to the injuries last night, other than responding to the fact that they needed another D.
Well... okay, I'll buy that with Monopoly money. But obviously it doesn't hurt to add a 6'5", 215 guy with some proven sandpaper when the appearance is that the Aeros aren't the toughest team. The officials in tonight's game will surely be calling this one tight, and fortunately, after tonight, the Aeros don't have to see the inside of the Cox arena again until late February.