This weekend has not been easy for the Aeros. But really, what else would you expect in March with everyone jockeying for postseason positioning and each game feeling more and more like playoff hockey?
The Aeros are a tired, banged up group right now. It seems like they are losing a player to injury every game – four players are currently injured (not including Tyler Cuma…done for the season) and two more are on NHL recall. But as we all know, every team goes through this. To be quite frank, the Aeros were lucky to have a pretty complete lineup in the month of January while they were steamrolling their opponents en route to 10 wins.
So now with a depleted roster, they must grind it out – find a way, if you will. As head coach Mike Yeo often says, “winners are never satisfied”. Thus, getting two wins already this week (Wed. & Fri.) won’t be enough for this team and the hunger to wrap up the weekend with a win will be on the forefront in my opinion. I’m pretty sure the head coach will also agree that there are no excuses this time of year. So, the group must push on. The team will be challenged by the staff prior to Sunday’s game against Abbottsford – win, and you pick up four out of six points for the second straight three-in-three weekend.
Last season when the Aeros were striving for a playoff spot, there were too many three-game weekends where they only earned two or three out of six points. So many times there was a feeling of “ok, this is the weekend”. It never happened and they were golfing in April.
This year’s club has already surpassed last year’s win total and they’ve already proven they are more ready for this challenge than last year’s group.
There are 11 home games this month – and the Aeros need your support. Let’s call the next few home games “bring a friend night” – hell, I’ll provide the ticket for your friends / colleagues / neighbors / whoever! Bring someone out to their first hockey game…tell them to come support the city’s only current winning team! But I digress…
Sunday’s game against Abbottsford is big – almost a must-win. It’s so important for this team to get back on track after a minor setback in Austin, where they played hard, but just couldn’t pull out the two points. If they can just find a way to beat the Heat on Sunday, it’ll be another successful weekend and another step towards sewing up a playoff berth.
I’ll have more on the Khudobin trade early next week as promised, including audio from GM Jim Mill (who will be at Toyota Center on Sunday). On an aside, AHL President David Andrews will be in the barn as well. And don’t forget to check out the multimedia page on aeros.com – I just posted an interview with Wild goaltending coach Bob Mason…quality insight.
– Aero Joe