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OKAY, SO. Tuesday, [personal profile] puckling asked me, in the name of opposition research, which players on the Houston Aeros she should watch out for when she goes to the Aeros-IceHogs game on Friday. Then, because I mentioned that some of the Aeros are pretty decent, facewise, she demanded proof, which I promised to provide as soon as I could get to a place with an internet connection. HERE YOU GO, PUCK.

Disclaimer: Last season, I didn't really get into the Aeros, because I already spend six months of the year weeping over the inadequacies of a Houston sports team and my dance card in that regard is FULL. But they play pretty good hockey, and they're right there, so I started listening to/attending games this season. My knowledge is recent and limited and has largely been acquired against my will, because the road to Aeros fandom dead-ends in the Minnesota Wild, and I cannot root for Zach Parise. I JUST CAN'T.


YOUR (HOT AND/OR TALENTED) HOUSTON AEROS

MIKAEL GRANLUND



Mikael Granlund has been hailed as the coming messiah for the Wild and is without a doubt, the Aero with the most expectations riding on his shoulders. Unfortunately, he's broken right now and won't play this weekend. Also, [personal profile] kyyrandi wrote a whole primer about him and Mikko Koivu, so if you're interested, she's got you covered. MOVING ON.

CHARLIE COYLE



Coyle's in his second year with the Aeros, after the Sharks swapped him and Devin Setoguchi for Brent Burns and a handful of magic beans that the trader promised would boost them to the Stanley Cup Finals. That didn't work out so well for the Sharks, but it's worked out pretty well for the Aeros, and not just because Coyle can hold his own in the “Hockey or Gay Porn?” game.



DREW BAGNALL



OH CAPTAIN MY CAPTAIN. At 29, Bags is one of the elder statesmen of the Aeros, and his job this season has largely been prospect-wrangling and sitting on people until they remember that taking penalties is bad and working together is good.



He is not always the greatest facewise, but look! Here's Bags with a puppy from when the Aeros did a Humane Society photoshoot!

CHAY GENOWAY



Genoway plays scoring defense and is listed on the roster as 5'9. This is a lie; he is maybe5'7, if he wears extra-thick socks that day.



He played at University of North Dakota with Tazer, and actually beat him out for Rookie of the Year during the one season they played together.

Also, Chay Genoway holds a special place in my heart because he's the first hockey player I ever talked to. Genoway was the first in line at the Aeros' post-game signing on Veteran's Day, and wearing a Remembrance Day poppy, and I decided that that would be my inoffensive talking point to minimize awkwardness.

Unfortunately, because I'm an American, and at that point in the evening I was a slightly inebriated American (drinking with soldiers on leave on Veteran's Day: bad plan), I somehow got it into my head that because the Commonwealth are all old stick-in-the-mud countries, they call Nov. 11th by America's old name for it, Armistice Day. This lead to some confusion:

Me: Hey, good assist tonight.
Genoway (not looking up): Yeah, wish we could win one. Here you go.
Me: Thanks. Happy Armistice Day!
Genoway (paying attention now): What?
Me: Armistice Day. Your poppy?
Genoway: Oh, Remembrance Day. What did you call it?
Me: Oh, shoot, I got it wrong. Veteran's Day? I thought you guys called it Armistice Day.
Genoway: Armiwhat?
Me: Armistice. You know, peace? Ceasefire?
Genoway (clearly very, very confused): Arrr- miss- tiss?
Charlie Coyle (sitting next to him, laughing his ass off): Man you're dumb.
Genoway: Shut up, I'm the one with the college degree.

Ladies and gentlemen, Chay Genoway.



MATT HACKETT



After Mikael Gralund (and Jonas Brodin, I guess), Matt Hackett is probably the Aeros prospect that people get most excited about. He's pretty good, and from what I've read, the Wild are tracking him to take over from Backstrom eventually.



At one point, this happened. No, I'm not sure why he's still the Goalie-In-Waiting after exhibiting such bad judgement in hairdos.



Also, he was the Flash for Halloween. SUCH GOOD TASTE IN SUPERHEROS, provided he's not going for Wally West in his “being a dick to Bart” period.

DARCY KUEMPER



Kuemper is Hackett's slightly-less-talented backup. What he lacks in talent, though, he makes up in a super-hot goalie stare.



Also, slightly, in goalie craziness. While he's not quite Braden Holtby, he does have a very particular ritual where he skates over to his stick-side corner of the rink, taps twice with his stick, skates back to the net, and taps his glove-side post with his glove. I really want to yell at him that the rink's not going anywhere, but have so far restrained myself.

OKAY AND NOW THE TEA-SHOP PEOPLE ARE KICKING ME OUT SO I HAVE TO GO BACK TO MY INTERNET-LESS HOME, BUT PUCKLING, THESE ARE THE ONES TO WATCH OUT FOR.
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