Another trip to Houston by our beloved Mini Avs, the Lake Erie Monsters, for me and another post of random babbling and occasional hockey insights for you. Sounds fair, right? Good, because that's how it is.
The game itself was really, really boring. Very little intensity, absolutely zero up and down action (that's what she said), and the most exciting thing that happened was Per Ledin coming off the bench and me immediately freaking out. Yes, that's right. In my notes it reads in huge letters " PER LEDIN SIGHTING!!!!". The Monsters would take 2 shots in the first period, their first coming at the 14:53 mark when we all cheered for their momentous accomplishment. They would end the game with 13 shots, one goal, and a 2-1 loss in a game they were completely dominated in.
Completely dominated in a 2-1 loss? Thanks to Tyler Weiman's outstanding play, the game was close throughout, and got down right tense (at least in comparison to earlier) in the last ten minutes of play.
Because I'm feeling extremely lazy, I'm going to just write out my notes almost verbatim. Some things will be added in to make coherent thoughts out of my scribbles and chicken scratches.
Per Ledin-Would have been the savior of our season had he been healthy and not stuck in Lake Erie. He would have been the 5th line. Just kidding. He isn''t very good. He at least throws the body around pretty well.
Tom Fritsche (Maybe that's how you spell his last name, maybe not. I just call him "Fries")- He's not bulky enough to handle the AHL right now. He collapses on D on nearly every shot, leaving his guy open constantly for rebounds, which there were plenty of. Useless on defense for much the game, I was pretty underwhelmed by the kid from Ohio State.
Matt Hendricks-Because we traded Boychuk for him, I figured I would keep an eye out for him. I came away with one note about him: "He really sucks, dude." The most interesting part of this note was that I was apparently talking to someone. Maybe myself in the future, which would presently be the present.
T.J. Galiardi-His coach at Dartmouth said he was "a wizard offensively." In the two games I've seen, I've yet to see wizardy of any kind. His slow decision making, especially on the rush, negates nearly every single positive thing he does on the attack. He doesn't have soft hands, makes a lot of passes that end up as rushes the other way, though one of those mistakes he made up for by hauling ass back and breaking up a 2-on-1. I should be fair and say that he's an AHL, and I've seen the transition handled a lot worse than how he's done so far. I'm still excited for his future, but the two games I've seen have been disappointing.
Nigel Williams- My minor league mancrush. I watched him like a hawk tonight, and the potential for him to be a Top 4 D-man is pretty obvious. First of all, he's really big. Not just his height and weight, but his overall frame is high and wide. Once he puts on more weight and learns to use his body better (he relies on his stick waaay too much), he's really going to be a force. He broke up multiple 2-on-1 chances tonight with his ability to read the puck carrier and either pokechecking it away or blocking the pass. Offensively, I was hoping he would unleash his slapshot a few times so I could really get some kind of read on it. As luck would have it, I got a few pretty good looks at it, though his best scoring opportunity was wasted when his stick snapped in half 3/4 of the way through his shooting motion. The first big blast caused a defender to actually duck, which made me laugh, and ended up in the glove of Aeros goalie Nolan Schaefer. Interestingly, Schaefer was seen taking his glove off and flexing his hand. Coincidence?? You decide! Physically, Nigel got into a couple of post-whistle scraps and showed a mettle, but during the play is still way too passive of a player. He has a big body, and needs someone to teach him how to throw it around.
Tyler Weiman- I saved him for last because he's the one people are probably most interested in. He played outstanding tonight, as his statline will show that he stopped 27 of 29 shots and the two goals were ones anybody would have given up. The first goal was on a bang-bang pass & shoot (on the PP too, I believe, but not 100% on that) where the defense left a man wide open and he just tucked it home. Weiman was a little slow to react, but had he been any quicker it still would have gone in. His glove was fantastic all night, as nothing, not even shots destined for the boards, was getting behind him. He was in perfect position all night, and the second goal he gave up was a direct result of stopping 4 in a row and sliding across the crease back and forth several times as the defense completely abandoned him. Because of all the sliding, there was just enough room for Aeros forward Jason Ryznar to sneak the puck into the five hole (lollll) and break the Weiman Wall. A great showing by the kid and as a result of his hard work, received a standing ovation when he was announced as the #3 star of the game. If there was any offense whatsoever for the Monsters, he probably would have stolen this game for them.
Now, on to the non-hockey related tidbits that I feel the need to include.
For Mike, there is indeed a 4th stripper, and you correctly called which one it was. Well done, sir. The other 3, well, maybe later.
It was "Chillypalooza" at the Toyota Center today, as Aeros mascot and wunkerkind Chilly The Dog celebrated his 13th birthday (more on that later). Because it was an event day, the first 3k people were given something free. In this case, a children's book, which I absolutely love. It's super awesome, and the main character (a dog named Douglas) cracks me up throughout all 20 picture-filled pages.
On a more unfortunate note, one of the TC (Toyota Center) ushers was a huge jerk to this guy and his son. During warm-ups, he had gone down to the glass and was holding his son and pointing out all the different things happening on the ice. The kid looked like he was having the time of his life, but the usher couldn't handle anybody in his section experiencing any happiness, so he went down and told them they had to get to their seats. Naturally, they had tickets at the top of the section and the kid started bawling as they went back up. Sad story. The usher is new, so he got a ton of dirty looks and people saying less than friendly words to him over the incident.
Speaking of warm-ups, that drill the players do at the end when they all crowd around the goalie and try to bang one home is always one of my favorites. Today, however, Cash managed to keep the puck out of the net for a solid 45 seconds before they finally scored it. Loved seeing the goalie fight back in that drill.
The first intermission featured epic entertainment. First up was the on-ice entertainment of MITES VS. MASCOTS. Mascots from various Houston sports teams and attractions (the aquarium has a mascot named "Sharkie", apparently) all flocked to the TC for Chilly's birthday celebration and took on a group of kids in the meantime. It was pretty awesome as I was standing and cheering for Sharkie, the MASCOTS goalie and he was pushing shots away left and right before his defense bailed on him (literally) to go hang out with the cheerleaders and the MITES pounded 4 quick goals on him. Clutch, the Houston Rockets mascot, somehow lost his Rockets clothes, revealing a pink thong. While trying to run off, the Houston Dynamo mascot, Diesel Dynamo, sprinted over and tackled him and knocked his head off, which was hilarious. Diesel followed that up by pushing one of the kids onto the ice, which resulted in a MASCOT brawl as some defended the little kid and others defended Diesel. My friend called it the "Fur Pile", which is a double entendre. Anybody familiar with furries will understand why this was so hilarious. High quality entertainment! Final score was 4-0, MITES, btw.
The second piece of LOL worthy entertainment came in the dance contest they do, as the super cool guy got beatdown by a little kid who does the best sprinkler I've ever seen. The guy was attempting to bump n grind on the kid, which was awkward enough to make the crowd boo him when it came time to vote on who rocked more. I'm still loling while typing all this, actually.
Apparently, popular emo band Fall Out Boy (No arguing that they're an emo band. If you defend them, your razorblades aren't sharp enough) apparently has made a cover of Michael Jackson's "Beat It", which is stupefying to think about if you happen to be my age and experience the insanity around them when they made it big. My note actually says "Please kill me." Ahahahahahahaha.
The basic trivia game they played tonight was especially awesome because the chick answering the question was so horrifyingly stupid. The question was "How old is Chilly in dog years?" Because it was his 13th birthday, and they TOLD HER A DOG YEAR WAS SEVEN YEARS, the answer ending in 1 should have been automatic, but no, she was INSISTENT the answer was 13. When she got it wrong, she seemed totally baffled and heartbroken. Unbelievable. She probably has a driver's license, too.
All right, I'm all out of notes, so I'll leave you with a quote from a sign at the game tonight:
"Hockey is my religion, and I'm in church."