AEROS SIGN REM MURRAY, GET TATICEK ON LOAN HOUSTON, Texas - The American Hockey League’s Houston Aeros have signed NHL veteran winger Rem Murray to a professional tryout offer, the team announced Saturday. In addition, the NHL’s Florida Panthers have loaned center Petr Taticek, the No. 9 overall pick in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, to the Aeros. Both players are expected to join the Aeros prior to Tuesday’s game in Omaha.
Murray, 33 (10/9/72), has spent eight seasons in the NHL, totaling 213 points (93-120=213) in 551 games. He played six seasons for the Edmonton Oilers. He last played in 2003-04, when he saw action in 39 games for Nashville before starting to feel the effects of cervical dystonia, a nerve disorder in his neck. He was in camp with the Detroit Red Wings earlier this month. Murray starred at Michigan State before entering the NHL. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound native of Statford, Ont., was Los Angeles’ sixth-round pick in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft (No. 135 overall).
Taticek, 22 (9/22/83), totaled 41 points (11-30=41) in 130 games over the past two seasons in the AHL with San Antonio. The 6-foot-2, 183-pound native of Rakovnik, Czech Republic, played two seasons of junior hockey for OHL Sault-Ste. Marie. Florida took him with the ninth overall pick in 2002. Taticek had been in camp with the ECHL’s Florida Everblades.
Houston Aeros (2-1-0-0) at Printable Game Notes
Grand Rapids Griffins (3-0-0-0), 6 p.m.
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Five things you need to know
- Aeros captain Kirby Law and alternate captain Erik Westrum have tied the best three-game scoring starts in team history. Law (3-4=7) and Westrum (2-5=7) each have seven points - one off the league lead and tied with David Oliver’s 1998-99 start (3-4=7) for the best in team history. Westrum, Law and linemate Roman Voloshenko have combined for 19 of Houston’s 31 scoring points through three games. Oliver and two others - Brian Wiseman and Cam Stewart - share the lead for most points after four games with nine. Law and Westrum are just one point off the AHL point lead, and each player has at least one point in each of the first three games.
- A night after knocking off 3-0-0-0 Peoria, the Aeros again have a chance to take a team off the list of unbeatens. Grand Rapids is also 3-0-0-0 after a 3-1 win in Hamilton last night. Jiri Hudler had two goals and is tied for the league lead with eight points (5-3=8). Hudler’s five goals are the most in Griffins history through three games, and his eight points tie him for the team mark set by Michel Periard in 1997-98. The Griffins are one of four teams without a loss of any kind. Only Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (4-0-0-0) has more wins without a loss.
- Why were the Aeros able to defeat Peoria last night? Because of a reversal of fortune in the third period. Goalie Josh Harding stopped just 26-of-32 shots in the third period in the first two games against San Antonio, but he was a perfect 17-for-17 last night in the third on his way to a career-best 47 saves. His previous best was 44, set last November against Cleveland. Harding has had to be strong in the third, as the Aeros have been outshot in the last 20 minutes by a 35-16 margin in the last two games, and 49-26 overall this season.
- Three of the Aeros’ veteran players are among the most durable in the AHL in recent years. Captain Kirby Law has played in 104 consecutive AHL games. He missed Philadelphia’s game 2/28/04 against Milwaukee, but because he was still on recall to NHL Philadelphia. Law has played in 83 consecutive games with the Aeros - 14 off Mark Freer’s franchise record of 97, set 10/26/96-12/5/97. Erik Westrum hasn’t missed an NHL game since 2003-04, when he finished the season with NHL Phoenix. He’s played in 83 consecutive games, including all 80 last season. Curtis Murphy, meanwhile, has played in 82 consecutive AHL games since missing the only game of his AHL career. He didn’t play in Milwaukee’s 2003-04 season-opener while attending Dan Snyder’s funeral. Counting his time in Russia in 2004-05, he has played in 142 straight games. Since the 2001-02 season, and counting his European and post-season games, Murphy has participated in 361 of his team’s last 362 games (99.7 percent).
- Through three games, the Aeros have only given up one five-on-five goal. Of the nine goals allowed by Houston, six have come while shorthanded, one was with the teams 4-on-4, and the other came with an extra attacker. The only goal at five-on-five against Houston was scored by Martin Podlesak on Opening Night.
Aeros at Griffins (Aeros are 24-23-7-2 all-time, Aeros are 10-15-2-0 at Grand Rapids)
- Tonight is the 57th all-time meeting between the teams - 28th in Grand Rapids
- Houston went 4-2-0-2 against Grand Rapids in 2004-05, including a 2-0-0-2 home mark and a 2-2-0-0 road record.
- Six of the eight meetings in 2004-05 were decided by one goal, including one OT game and two shootout contests. The other two games were each two-goal contests.
- Houston is 18-22-7-2 against Grand Rapids since starting off with a 6-1-0 mark.
- Since joining the AHL, Houston is 16-16-6-2 against Grand Rapids, including a 9-5-4-2 home mark and a 7-11-2-0 road record.
- Houston is 1-0-6 all-time in overtime against Grand Rapids and 4-3 in a shootout.
- The Aeros are 4-8-0 in their last 12 trips to Grand Rapids, with three one-goal victories.
Scouting the Aeros
The Aeros are off to a 2-1-0-0 start, and a victory tonight would give them three wins in their first four games for only the third time in their 12-year history...RW captain Kirby Law (3-4=7) and C Erik Westrum (2-5=7) lead the Aeros and are one off the league lead in points.....LW Roman Voloshenko, 19, became the youngest player in Aeros history with a hat trick last week, and he added two assists last night...The trio has accounted for 19 of Houston’s 31 scoring points...A year ago, G Josh Harding impressed in his rookie season, going 21-16-3 with a 2.01 gaa and .930 save pct. despite missing two months due to a concussion...He’s 2-1-0 with a 3.01 gaa this season in the early going...Promising youngsters include C Patrick O’Sullivan, considered by many to be the No. 1 prospect in the Wild organization...O’Sullivan played two pre-season games with the Minnesota Wild before suffering an injury...He returned to action last night with an assist...LW Peter Olvecky (ohl-VETS-kee), who turned 20 earlier this week, was named Slovakia Elite League Rookie of the Year after collecting 19 points (10-9=19) and 49 PIM’s in 45 games with Dukla Trencin while skating with Minnesota Wild’s Marian Gaborik...Olvecky has two goals in three games.
Scouting the Griffins
Grand Rapids, AHL affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings, returns 13 players from its 2004-05 team that went 41-35-2-2 and missed out on the final playoff spot in the West Division by six points...The Griffins now play in the North Division and will take on Houston only four times this season...Grand Rapids has outscored its opponents by a whopping 14-6 margin...C Jiri Hudler is tied for the league lead with eight points (3-5=8)...G Joey MacDonald, who played a startling 66 games in 2004-05, has been out after off-season surgery...G Drew MacIntyre, who backed up MacDonald for much of last season, is 2-0-0 with a .930 save pct...Grand Rapids has the AHL’s top power play unit at 37.5 percent (6-for-16).
2005-06 meetings (1st of 4 meetings)
Tonight Houston at Grand Rapids
October 21 Grand Rapids at Houston
October 29 Houston at Grand Rapids
January 6 Grand Rapids at Houston
Erik Westrum scored the game-winning goal with 47 seconds remaining and Josh Harding was outstanding with a career-best 47 saves, as the Houston Aeros handed the Peoria Rivermen their first loss of the season, 3-1, at Carver Arena. Kirby Law also scored, and he and his linemates Westrum and Roman Voloshenko accounted for five points (2-3=5). Peter Olvecky added an empty-net goal and rookie Patrick O’Sullivan chipped in an assist in his pro debut.
A teenager no more
- Aeros left wing Peter Olvecky turned 20 on Tuesday, leaving Roman Voloshenko as the only teenager on the team.
- Olvecky, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound native of Trencin, Slovakia, scored a goal in last Friday’s season-opener, while fellow 19-year-old Voloshenko tallied a hat trick.
- Olvecky followed the impressive first week up with an empty-net goal in last night’s 3-1 win at Peoria.
- There were 12 teenagers on AHL rosters on Opening Night, and the Aeros had two of them.
The Aeros finish off the five-game road trip Tuesday and Thursday in Omaha. Houston returns home for a brief three-game homestand 10/21, 10/22 and 10/25. Grand Rapids comes to town for the first game, and then Manchester makes its first ever visit to Houston. Arch-rival Chicago invades Toyota Center for the finale.
Making their mark
- Matt Foy, who spent the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons in Houston and was in the Aeros’ training camp a week before the season began, scored his first two NHL goals in Minnesota’s 6-0 whipping of Vancouver on Wednesday night. Foy, 22 (5/18/83), scored a power play goal in the second period, and from behind the net banked a shot in the net off Vancouver goalie Dan Cloutier’s skate in the third period. The 6-foot-2, 219-pound native of Oakville, Ont., also hit the post on a breakaway earlier in the game, ruining a possible hat trick.
- Foy is the second Aero in the past week to score his first NHL goal. Jeff Hoggan, a member of Houston’s 2002-03 Calder Cup championship team and Foy’s teammate the next season, scored for St. Louis on Saturday.
- Former Aeros winger Derek Boogaard (2003-05), who had nine points (1-8=9) and 466 penalty minutes in two seasons with the team, picked up his first NHL assist last night in only his third game with Minnesota.
Seven Aeros have seen NHL time
- Seven Aeros have played a combined 141 NHL games. More than half of those games have come from Joey Tetarenko, who has seen 73 NHL contests. Others with NHL experience are Anders Myrvold (33 games), Erik Westrum (15), Kirby Law (9), Kurtis Foster (5), Josh Olson (5) and Curtis Murphy (1). Erik Reitz was recalled to the Wild for three days in 2003-04 but didn’t play, while Josh Harding backed up for one game while still an amateur.
- Six Aeros saw action in 2003-04, the "last" NHL season, with Westrum leading the way with 15 games played. Everyone on the above list except for Murphy played at least two NHL games in 2003-04.
Wild roster has 11 former Aeros, including eight from 2004-05
- The Minnesota Wild opened up the season last week with 25 total players on the roster, counting injured reserve. Eleven of those played for the Aeros at one point in their careers, and eight in 2004-05 alone.
- Counting Dallas’ John Erskine and Phoenix’ Zbynek Michalek, 10 players off last season’s team began the season in the NHL.
- Other notable Aeros opening up the season in the NHL are Robert Lang (Detroit), David Oliver (Dallas) and Jeff Hoggan (St. Louis), a member of the Aeros’ 2002-03 Calder Cup winning team.
Law earns the ’C’ again
- Houston Aeros head coach Rob Daum has named Kirby Law the team’s captain for the 2005-06 season. This will mark Law’s second straight season as the captain. In addition, Daum named Curtis Murphy, Kurtis Foster and Erik Westrum alternate captains. Murphy will wear the "A" during all games, while Foster will don it at home and Westrum on the road.
- Aeros defenseman Anders Myrvold spent the 2003-04 season in Grand Rapids.
- Grand Rapids’ Darryl Bootland and Eric Himelfarb and Houston’s Joel Ward both hail from Toronto.
- Houston’s Ryan Stokes played 13 games for OHL Barrie in 2002-03. The Colts’ leading scorer that season was Grand Rapids’ Eric Himelfarb.
- Grand Rapids’ Kyle Quincey played two seasons at OHL Mississauga with Houston’s Patrick O’Sullivan, and one with Ryan Stokes.
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