Director of Communications
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
713.361.7930 (Direct Line)
Reitz: Same Old ReitzySUGAR LAND, Texas -
AEROS TRAINING CAMP REPORT, DAY 2
When Aeros fans last saw fourth-year defenseman Erik Reitz, he was sitting in the press box during the playoffs for the final two periods of every game, after vigorously riding the stationary bicycle during the first period to stay in shape.
Reitz suffered a torn ligament in his right elbow in a post-buzzer fight with diminutive Milwaukee agitator Jordon Tootoo February 5.
I didnt want to have surgery at all, said Reitz, whose surgery would have been the Tommy John variety, where another ligament is put in the elbow in place of the damaged one. I went to a lot of doctors, and they all said it was like the MCL in your knee. It would have been 12 months from the day I had surgery until I could play again. I had already waited 1 ½ months. It took 2 ½ months to heal, then I started rehab. I figured Id just wait a bit longer, and it would heal.
Reitz actually began rehabilitating the elbow the final two weeks of the 2004-05 season, and continued the next two months in his native Detroit, then in Barrie, Ont., where he played junior hockey and finally in Los Angeles.
It was hard, Reitz said. At the beginning of the summer, I couldnt move it to a 90-degree angle.
But a painful exercise helped him correct that. Therapists put a heating pad on his arm and a five-pound weight in his hand. Under his elbow, they placed a box to keep the elbow from moving. Reitz said he had to slowly make his arm drop, sometimes holding it in one place for up to 15 minutes.
I worked out so hard this summer for five months, said Reitz, who was back on the ice in June. I havent played since February, but when I came to camp I was in shape. I went into camp (in Minnesota), played solid D and made a good first pass. They had too many guys on contracts. But next year, they have a lot of free agents. Hopefully Ill have a good year here and will be the first call-up.
Reitz said one thing is for certain the injury wont change the way he plays.
No, not at all, he said with a grin. Im the same old Reitzy. Aeros GM weighs in
There are several new rules in the American Hockey League this season, such as the return of touch-up icing and reduced goalie pads.
Maybe the one that has drawn the most attention thus far in Houston Aeros training camp is the elimination of the red line for two-line passes. In laymans terms, you can pass from inside your own defensive zone, all the way up to the other teams blueline.
The so-called home run pass is designed to help free up the game and increase scoring chances.
Its nice, said Curtis Murphy, a two-time winner of the AHLs Eddie Shore Award as the leagues top defenseman. You can look for a guy all the way down and open it up a bit. But theres definitely something on the other side you have to worry about. Its kind of a win-win situation.
According to Aeros general manager Tom Lynn, the defensive side of the rule is just as important as the offensive.
It could be exciting, Lynn said. Murphy especially likes to play a tight gap to jump in, so there will need to be a balance. On the defensive side, you end up giving up more odd man rushes than in the past.
Murphy estimates the long pass conversion rate at 50 percent; although in reality its probably lower.
Even if you try those a lot, half the times youre not going to connect and the puck is coming right back down, either icing or a turnover, he said. You have to think about the little things before you try to make those long passes.
Lynn isnt too worried about his most offensive defenseman.
Murph played college and in Russia without the red line, Lynn said. Hes played more without it than with it in his career.
Matt Foy scored on a breakaway in the Wednesday morning session off the long headman pass. Goalie competition good for all
It may have surprised some fans to see the Aeros ink goalie Seamus Kotyk to a contract on the eve of training camp. Josh Harding enjoyed an outstanding rookie campaign in 2004-05 despite missing two months with a concussion. Miroslav Kopriva (kop-CHEEV-kah) is a 21-year-old who has dabbled in the European professional ranks the last two seasons.
But, Lynn said, competition is never a bad thing.
We were trying to get the best goalie we could all summer, he said. The Wild likes to have competition for goalies. If you anoint a No. 1 or No. 2 goalie, even if its a good, hard-working guy, the competition is taken away. Were always trying to introduce competition to keep them on their toes.
Lynn pointed towards the Wilds own goalie battles, between Manny Fernandez and Dwayne Roloson. Wild head coach Jacques Lemaire often doesnt pick his goalies until the morning of the game.
Fernandez and Roloson have benefited greatly from it, Lynn said. We went out and got the best goalie available to compete with the goalies here for ice time. Tryout players impress
In many AHL camps, tryout players are mere fillers, place-holders if you will, until the team gets more players assigned from their NHL affiliate. Thats not the case with the Aeros, Lynn said.
Houston, which may or may not receive another player from the Wild before its season opener October 7, has five tryout players in camp.
I think they all have a good chance of spending time in the AHL this year, Lynn said. In the past years, that wasnt the case. We had pure tryouts, and many knew they wouldnt come back. Everyone this year is here with a shot to play in this league. They can impress management enough to know they can come up during the year.
Defensemen Chris Cava and Darryl McArthur and forwards Olivier Proulx, Nicolas Corbeil and Derek Campbell are all in Houston on tryouts. McArthur, Corbeil and Campbell have all seen AHL action. McArthur, property of the Central Hockey Leagues Austin Ice Bats this season, played two games for the Aeros in 2002-03. Harding perfect
Second-year goalie Josh Harding impressed during Wednesday mornings end-of-practice shootout competition. He didnt allow a goal.
Team Green was comprised of Harding and Seamus Kotyk in net; defensemen Darryl McArthur, Kurtis Foster, Erik Reitz, Aaron Schneekloth and Ryan Stokes; and forwards Mark Rooneem, Olivier Proulx, Kirby Law, Peter Olvecky, Bryan Lundbohm, Josh Olson and Mike James.
Miroslav Kopriva was Team Whites netminder. The defensemen were Curtis Murphy, Clayton Stoner, Chris Cava, Colin Peters and Dustin Wood, while the forwards were Joey Tetarenko, Erik Westrum, Matt Foy, Bill Kinkel, Adam Courchaine, Roman Voloshenko and Derek Campbell.
The teams will remain the same for Wednesday afternoons scrimmage.
With Stoner leading a group of players on the ice for the first time due to travel delays, only Nicolas Corbeil and Anders Myrvold have yet to take the ice. Both are expected in town late Wednesday. Get your red-hot tickets
Aeros regular-season game tickets are on sale now at the following locations: Toyota Center Box Office, select area Randalls locations, by calling 1.866.GO.AEROS or via the Internet
. Single game tickets begin at only $11! The regular season opens a week from this Friday, Oct. 7 at 7:35 p.m. against San Antonio.
Tickets for the Houston Aeros' pre-season game against San Antonio THIS SATURDAY
at 7 p.m. are also on sale now at the Sugar Land Ice & Sports Center pro shop. Tickets are $7. Capacity at Sugar Land Ice & Sports Center, the Official Training Facility of the Houston Aeros, is 450.
The pro shops hours are as follows: Monday Closed, Tuesday 9:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Wednesday 3-9 p.m., Thursday 3-9 p.m., Friday 9:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-9 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Fans can also purchase tickets via phone with a credit card at 281.265.7469, or 281.265.7440 during the above times. As of Wednesday morning, about 150 tickets remained, so get your tickets early.
Lastly, season tickets will be sent via priority mail this Wednesday and Thursday. Houston Aeros Training Camp Schedule
Thursday, 9/29 10-11:15 a.m., 2-3:15 p.m. (scrimmage)
Friday, 9/30 10-11:30 a.m.
Saturday, 10/1 10-11 a.m. pre-game skate; 7 p.m. vs. San Antonio Rampage (pre-season) at Sugar Land Ice & Sports Center (Ticket information
Sunday, 10/2 5 p.m., at San Antonio Rampage (pre-season) at the Ice Center at Northwoods
---HOUSTON AEROS, BE A FAN---