It's been about a month since I've seen the Houston Aeros play a game - they've been on the road and I've been on vacation. So I'm not really sure about what's going on with this team.
They leapt out to a 5-0-0-0 start, which was the second best in team history. The 2008-09 Aeros were looking to be an entirely different club than the 2007-08 Aeros in that they were a high-scoring, poor defense club. When last I wrote about the Aeros, their record was 7-7-0-0 and they were coming to an end of a disastrous five game road trip.
Since that time, they've played four more games, and things haven't improved. They were able to defeat the Lake Erie Monsters 3-1 to end the road trip on November 14. But they returned to Houston and proceeded to lose three straight games (one in a shoot-out), and their record coming into Thanksgiving Day is 8-9-0-1. In fact, I heard their play on Sunday, when they lost 4-0 to the Hamilton Bulldogs, was just as awful as the ugly-ass uniforms they were wearing in the game - I didn't see the game, but I've seen the photos of the unis, and they look awful to me.
I've checked out some of the blogs and message boards, and from what I've read, there appears to be some kind of disconnect between the offense and the defense. From what I've seen this year, this disconnect to me, if it exists, comes from the team relying solely on newcomer Krys Kolanos, who has 11 points (nine goals and two assists) in just 10 games with the team, to provide the offense while the rest of them are forgetting to play to defense.
When Kolanos is on the ice, he's magic. It's like he scores whenever he gets his stick on the puck. But it's like the rest of the team recognizes this and they just sit back and let him do all of the work.
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The Aeros will play three games this weekend, and hopefully they will find a way to get their act together. They play the Milwaukee Admirals at home on Friday night at 7:35 and Sunday at 4:05. They play the Rampage in San Antonio on Saturday night.
Hope is not all lost for the team. Sure, they're in seventh place in the AHL's West Division with a record of 8-9-0-1 (17 points). But they're only two points out of fifth place, and they're four points away from being part of a massive jumble for second place. Milwaukee sits in the fifth place spot, so an Aeros sweep could move them past Milwaukee in the standings. And San Antonio has won only two games this season, so the Aeros are in a good position for at least one win this weekend.
Plus, as anyone who watched last season's team can attest, the Aeros didn't really begin to jell until after Thanksgiving. I remember watching them early last season, and I didn't think there was anyway that team was going to be able to make the playoffs, yet they did. This team has talent. And Kevin Constantine is a proven coach. So there's still hope for them.
But at some point they're going to have start playing like a team, and less like a one-person scoring machine. - John Royal