Photos courtesy of Fred Trask
I've just got some random things that I wanted to share from last night's game, but which I didn't feel quite fit into the story I wrote....
Barry Brust has been on an incredible hot streak (not counting shootouts), and if there is anything that I've learned, it's that Kevin Constantine likes to ride a hot goalie. We asked Constantine last night about how Nolan Schaefer has taken to this arrangement, especially since Schaefer was the number one guy last year, and the number one guy coming into the season.
Constantine said that both Schaefer and Brust are great guys and good friends. He also noted that he's not going to bench a guy who's on a streak like Brust, and that Schaefer realizes this. Especially since Schaefer had the chance earlier in the season to keep Brust on the bench, but couldn't follow through.
tine then said Schaefer should be expecting plenty of play as the Aeros are going to have a lot of three games in three nights coming up for the rest of the season. And when asked who to blame about the three-on-threes, he responded with Tom Lynn, the Wild's assistant GM and the guy who serves as GM of the Aeros.
Craig Valette was released by the Aeros yesterday. Valette had been getting lots of ice time on the checking line, and he seemed to be a good fit as a physical presence. Constantine said it was a space issue. Valette's PTO was over, John Lammers was back from injury, and Ryan Hamilton and Brian Lundbohm are supposed to be returning from injuries next week, so they just didn't have any roster room for him. He also said that the team liked what it was seeing from Mike Hamilton and they wanted to look at him a bit longer.
Just how maddening are the Aeros?
They destroyed the Hershey Bears last night, and the Bears are supposed to be one of the best teams in the AHL. Yet for the most part, the Aeros have struggled all season. They've had bursts of offense like this throughout the season, but they can't be consistent.
Krys Kolanos has been on-target all season, but Corey Locke and Jesse Schultz -- who were brought in with Kolanos for offense -- have only been effective in flashes. But Locke has 10 points in his last five games, and Schultz seems to be settling in with his teammates.
tine has told us in the past that this is a consist-
ency issue. Primarily a consist-
ency issue arising out of Minnesota's constant need for Kolanos on a short-term basis which deprives the Aeros of his services. The team, Constantine has said, has also been hurt offensively because of injuries to Ryan Hamilton and John Lammers.
One of the things I've noticed from my perch is that Marco Rosa doesn't seem to be playing with the aggressiveness when he has the puck that he had last season. Rosa always seemed to be on the attack last season, this year, it seems as if he's been more involved with trying to set-up Olvecky, Lammers, and Kolanos (who have all skated on his line) than he has with anything else. In the past couple of games, Constantine has been putting Jesse Schultz on Rosa's line and Schultz has been playing the playmaker.
I like John Scott. He seems to be a great guy in the locker room. He's always nice to us media guys, and he generally seems to be in a good mood. But he's not the most skilled of players. He seems to have realized this, and he seems to be coming to acceptance that his only path to the NHL is as an enforcer. That said, while he does his role, and will come to the protection of his skill guys, his heart doesn't always seem in it. Not like Mitch Love and Matt Kassian who appear to love getting into a fight.
But last night, when Scott finally got the chance to go off on Hershey's Greg Amadio (who Stoner tried to get in the first, and Scott tried to get in the third, both getting two double minors for roughing which is funny since I didn't think roughing involved the use of fists) he went at it. And he went at it hard. When Scott sets his mind to it, he can be an effective fighter, especially with his reach. He just needs to set his mind that way more often.
What's going to happen the rest of this season? Who knows. The only thing this team is consistent at this season is being inconsistent. It's about time for the Wild to recall Kolanos for a game or two. Another shootout game can't be far behind.
I won't see them in person again until December 26. Maybe last night's win will kick off a win streak. Then again, maybe not. That said, the team has earned a point in four of five games this month, and as long as they keep earning points, they're going to be in playoff contention.