Preseason games aren’t about winning, really. For the players, they’re about performance. For the coaches, the games are about evaluations. The officials use them as means of getting in shape and implementing new rules.
For me, Friday night’s Houston Aeros preseason game out in Sugar Land was about getting around some friends I hadn’t seen in awhile, becoming reacquainted with the returning coaches and players, trying to learn the new guys, and wondering if that guy sitting in front of me was really Ray Davies of The Kinks – I swear to the Flying Spaghetti Monster that the guy looked just like Ray Davies.
The Aeros defeated the San Antonio Rampage 5-4 in Friday night’s contest. Some of the returning players impressed – Marco Rosa and Peter Olvecky played on the same line and they assisted on three of the game’s four goals. Nolan Schaefer and Anton Khudobin looked good between the pipes.
But then there were the new guys. And I liked what I saw. Left wing John Lammers scored the Aeros’ first two goals, and he was playing on the same line with Rosa and Olvecky. He also scored the clinching goal in the shootout. And Corey Locke and Jesse Schulz, two new, high-scoring acquisitions, didn’t score, but they had several opportunities, and both flashed touches of speed that have been seen all too rarely in the Houston area.
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Aeros coach Kevin Constantine wasn’t surprised by the play of Lammers. “I’ve coached him the past,” Constantine said. “He kind of did tonight what I know he’s capable of doing.”
And as to what Constantine was looking for from the rest of the players, that’s simple: “You’re just looking for guys to show you some ingredient that would make them be an asset to your team.”
The guys have until Tuesday to show that ingredient, since the roster, for the most part, will be finalized on Tuesday night. The parent club Minnesota Wild returned forwards Danny Irmen, Cal Clutterbuck and Krys Kolanos to the Aeros on Sunday. And John Scott and Barry Brust will probably be come back at some point this week; though with the eye injury to Wild backup goalie Josh Harding, Brust might be staying for awhile.
Media day is Wednesday, so I hope to have some good info to share on Thursday. – John Royal