"That's not us," he said.
He said he did not call for the right personnel is that situation, calling out the line of Dowell, McIntyre and Bulmer, which gave up the game-winning goal with just over two minute left in the game. Normally, that might be the kind of line you want in that situation, but two of the guys just returned recently from long-term injuries, and the other, Dowell, was just sent down from the Wild. And he did not suit up while on recall to the big club.
And that wasn't even the worse line of the night. Although they improved markedly as the game progressed, the Larsson/DaSilva/Phillips line had a rough go of it in the first period, and even though he gave up two goals, ECHL netminder Cody Reichard fared pretty well in 60 minutes against one of the top teams in the AHL.
He gave up some juicy rebounds, including the shot on the game-winner, but the Aeros were severely outplayed in the first 40 minutes and were on the penalty kill, perpetually, for the first 10 minutes of the middle frame.
After the Griffins went ahead, Jason Zucker had a great chance to send the game to OT, but he missed a wide-open net with a backhander. Tough, tough, break for the Aeros, who are off until Tuesday when they host the Griffins again at Toyota Center.
|Houston Aeros photo / by Morris Molina|
The Aeros took the lead on another pretty play by Zucker and Nick Petersen, but the Griffins tied it up seemingly seconds later on former Aero Jeff Hoggan's second goal of the game. That is whey I told Aeros PR guy Josh Fisher that this was starting to look just like the Tuesday game against the Stars.
He laughed and said, "This will probably end up 3-2..." Nice call, Josh.
Up in Dallas, the Wild played another poor defensive game and gave up five goals to the Dallas Stars in a 5-3 loss. Matt Hackett had no chance on four of them and will remain with the big club, while Darcy Kuemper will come back to the Aeros. Also, it is expected that the Wild may recall a forward today to take Kuemper's spot on the roster. We'll see who goes. Maybe Zucker?
Josh Harding is skating again, and appears to be on his way back to the lineup ... but, I really have no idea if he is going to be in game shape again this season. No stories about his progress mention what the Wild's plans for him are. Basically, what do you do with a goalie who just found the right combination of meds to stabilize his M.S. Do you just say, "OK, he looks good ... we'll start him against the Blues tonight." Or do you send him down for a few starts? I am just a fan, but my vote would be to let him to continue to practice. And there no way I let him play a game in the NHL until he proves he can handle live game action.
Until the Wild feel he is ready, Hackett or Kuemper will continue to backup Backstrom.
In AHL affiliation news, the dominoes are starting to fall. The Rivermen are pulling out of Peoria, as their owner, the Blues owner, has informed their building that they are leaving. Read here for more info, but basically, the thought is that the Blues will team up with the Wolves and the Canucks will move their farm team to Abbotsford just as soon as the Flames figure out what to do with the Heat. Rumors continue to point to Utica, New York, which just makes no sense to me, but what do I know?
There is still no news on what the Wild's plans are for the Aeros. Basically it just comes down to how much the Toyota Center people want to have hockey here.
I love hockey and the Aeros, so I hope they are able to work something out. In the last two weeks, I have made drives to San Antonio and Dallas to watch hockey. I hope I don't have to get used to that.