Aeros Start Out Cold. Roman Voloshenko Goes AWOL.

It would be tempting to say that so far, after three games, the Houston Aeros are off to a disappointing start. But seeing as how the Astros and Texans have played this season, the Aeros seem to be copying those teams.

The Aeros lost both games over the weekend to fall to 0-2-1-0 for the young season (that equates to no wins, two losses, an overtime loss, and no shut out losses).

On Friday night, the Aeros started the weekend by losing their fourth consecutive road opener. The loss was to the Iowa Stars by a score of 4-3, the Stars winning the game 3:44 into overtime.

The Aeros gave up the first two goals of the night within 1:21 of the other in the second period. But the Aeros kept fighting and were able to force the overtime by scoring at 18:40 into the third period.

Things weren’t as good on Saturday when the Aeros lost to the Peoria Rivermen 3-1. The game was played at Toyota Center in front of 9,286 fans.

The parent club Minnesota Wild have gotten off to a decidedly better start, now sitting at 5-0-0-0 after former Aero goalie Josh Harding shut-out the defending Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks last night, 2-0.

But the Aeros lost more than the games. The Aeros also lost a key player, albeit a player who had yet to skate for the team this season.

Left Wing Roman Voloshenko disappeared from the team last week, after hinting to Aero and Wild management that he might leave, and signed a deal with Kazan of the Russia Super League. Voloshenko was a previous high-round draft pick of the Wild, and in his first season with the Aero, he got 60 points. He was not as successful last season, and it is reported that he was not happy with not making the big club this season.

The Wild have suspended Voloshenko, and have said that he will not be allowed back on the team if his mind should change.

For any of you who get the dead tree edition of Sports Illustrated, make sure to check the “Inside the NHL” page which further addresses the issue of Russian players deserting the NHL and skipping out on contracts to join this Russia Super League. One NHL exec even speculates that this has not so much to do with the players not being happy in the NHL, but is more an issue of Russian president Vladimir Putin getting involved and pushing the players to stay in Russia.

The Aeros next game is Wednesday night at the Toyota Center where they will take on the Rockford Icehogs, an expansion team affiliated with the Chicago Blackhawks. – John Royal

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