Aeros Can't Seem to Come Back from Breaks

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Photo by Fred Trask
The best offensive force the Houston Aeros have had this season, Krys Kolanos, was returned to the Aeros from the Minnesota Wild on Thursday. And this seemed to be a good thing since the Aeros had a game on Thursday night. Northwest Airlines had a different idea however, and chose to ship Kolanos' gear elsewhere, so though Kolanos was actually in Houston, he could not play.

The rest of the Aeros had their equipment on Thursday night. And they went through the effort of suiting up and going out on the ice. It might have been better if they hadn't received their equipment, however, as they played perhaps their worst game of the season, losing to the Quad City Flames by a score of 5-0.

Coach Kevin Constantine went with his standard excuse that the team hadn't played or practiced since Saturday: "The team's ability to take time off and come back and play is not good." This, of course, has been a season-long problem for the Aeros, and it seems that neither Constantine nor the players are getting anywhere near figuring out some solution.

The next night, Krys Kolanos had his equipment, and he came out to play; of course, for the first period of Friday's game against the Binghamton Senators, it appeared that only four guys had come out to play (Kolanos, Mitch Love, Jason Ryznar, and Matt Kassian) and the team was behind 2-0 after one period and looking at another loss.

"We were down two-nothing and I just wanted to try something different," Constantine said after that game. "Get a different look."

And his different look was a desperation move that put Kolanos on the same line with Corey Locke and Benoit Pouliot. This was a small, quick line that created lots of open space on the ice and led to both Kolanos and Locke scoring goals as the Aeros came back to win the game 3-2. But while it worked, it was a desperate move because none of those guys are known for their ability to hit or play defense.

The winning goal came from defenseman Brandon Rogers who admitted to being shocked that his shot went into the goal. "To be honest with you, I was tired, and just shot it as hard as I could and just sort of trickled in. I was kind of surprised it went over the line."

The desperation that the team displayed Friday night did not survive the flight to Chicago as the Aeros lost 3-0 to the Chicago Wolves on Saturday night in a game that wasn't as close as the final score indicated.

The Aeros come into this week in fourth place of the AHL's West Division, and just barely holding onto the final playoff spot with 30 games remaining in the season. Unfortunately, the Aeros don't play again until Friday night, which means that they've got to deal with another one of those long layoffs they've proven time and time again they can't handle.

"We just have to find a way to win hockey games," Corey Locke said Friday night. "We have to get in the playoffs. Everyone's got to get on the same page."

I could care less about everyone getting on the same page. That can come later. I'd just be happy if they could all decide to show up and play a decent game after taking some time off.

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