Houston Aeros 1994-2013: Thank you for all the great memories and two decades of great hockey and entertainment.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

In The Houston Press, and Random Thoughts

My latest Aeros bit in the Press is now posted -- remember, it's through the Press that I get my pass press, so let them know you're appreciative.

Now a few random thoughts.

1. If you read my stuff in the mothership, especially during baseball season, or just listen to me talk, you know that I have a love/hate relationship with the Astros, one that has veered more to hate the past decade or so -- I'm a former employee, so my feelings of Drayton McLane are anything but happy, and his failure to hire anybody competent to handle any job since he forced out Gerry Hunsicker continuously make me angry. I'm really not fond of Ed Wade, who I can't believe is still allowed to work in baseball.

What's this got to do with anything hockey, well, reading the comments from some of you guys makes me feel downright giddy when it comes to the prospects of the Astros, and me feeling giddy towards the Astros just doesn't happen.

I know that's lot of you aren't happy with where you see the team heading. I'm not either, but, it's only seven games into the season. Don't press the panic button yet. Give Mike Yeo a chance to implement his system and his plans. I think the regime in St. Paul will give him a bit more leeway than they gave Kevin Constantine last system, primarily because Yeo's their guy, so maybe that will help a bit.

2. That said, the Aeros are a FARM CLUB of the Minnesota Wild, and the team exists to serve the needs of the Wild. So if they want the Aeros producing defenseman and goalies, then so be it.

This team is never returning to the Chuck Watson days -- I don't get your nostalgia for that guy because he's the guy who kept Les Alexander from bringing the NHL to Houston, yet I read about nothing but the greatness of Chuck Watson. In many ways, I consider Watson to be on par with Bob McNair as being one of those guys treated like a saint who has done nothing to actually earn the sainthood status. And things are a bit different, primarily being that, for most of Watson's ownership, the Aeros were in the IHL, and the IHL was a bit different from the AHL in that the IHL teams didn't have lots of NHL affiliations and they could do what they wanted.

But unless the team has independent ownership, like Chicago who basically does whatever it wants, then the team is going to have to deal first and foremost with satisfying the needs of the parent club.

3. Get over Krys Kolanos already. That's a myth that's not returning, no matter how much you bitch. It wasn't the Wild's fault he didn't come back, last year's staff didn't want him back, despite his performance for them. There's a reason he's generally with a different team every year -- and doesn't even have a contract at the moment. The entire Wild office, however, did want Corey Locke back, but he got a tremendous offer to sign with the Rangers.

4. Finally, just give the team a chance, for a bit. It's not showing record-wise, but I can see a better team on the ice than what there was last year. Just like, with the Astros, I can actually see a better team on the field now that they've cut ties with a bunch of guys and have made a try at start over with a new system.


artandhockey said...

John and others,
one gets what one pays for.

This refers to a)Locke and b)a blog recently posted showing Aeros' salaries in the last spot as is their rank in the west currently :-(

Re KK there always will be fans that will see him through rose colored glasses. I may offer as his excuse, he did suffer a horrible concussion early on in his career, so I would not be at all surprised if that has affected his behaviour since then.

Just look at the measly TV and press coverage even when Aeros made to Calder Cup Play offs UNDER Kevin Constantine.

So blaming Watson from keeping an NHL team from Houston.. get over that already, Houston cannot support one now, if it ever will.

And I remember well, how fans and in house media moaned and groaned.
But the COME BACK BOYS always seemed to regroup and and CAME battling back! Even with a horrible travel schedule!
Now, that one may have been THE season on the edge of our seats, with real heart stopper times!

And let me tell you, we have been to several NHL games - (and paid for our tickets and will
occasionally go again but at a lesser price) - we're not exactly the Gates ;-)!
The prices are outlandish! Where we sat there, we'd sit in luxury, heck, could probably get a suite here!

Having attended (and will, as often as possible) ECHL, and minor games, I can tell you it is LOTS OF FUN and exciting, and what's more most players will mix and mingle afterwards - plus a heck less expensive!

Now that I have gotten this off my chest :-) let me say, I read your well written blogs and reports, even if I do not always pay you and your colleagues the courtesy (;-) of a comment - be it a 'well done' or a 'get lost' one!

CatTrick said...

I'm having a bad day ... it may be relevant to state that before I make my comments. I COULD be overreacting, but I thought the statements directed (in 2 separate posts) to the Kolanos fan or fans (no, it wasn't me) who mentioned KK as a possible resolution to the team's less than prolific ability to score goals, were harsh and mean-spirited. I interpreted the comments as tongue-in-cheek observations that Kolanos - or even another high-scoring forward - could help the team win some games. Isn't this blog based on opinion, interpretation, and speculation? It's not like any of us (to my knowledge) have the power to get KK's agent on the phone and have Kolanos here by the weekend ... or ever. People constantly mention former Aeros with fondness for their particular skills. Like him or not, Kolanos put up some good numbers and scored some impossible goals. I just think the responses were rude, based on the light-hearted nature of the original posts, and that's my opinion.

artandhockey said...

You will note that in my comment I referred to KK 's behavious, not his skill in scoring!
Otherwise I agree,

CatTrick said...

RE: artandhockey comment: "... measly TV and press coverage ..."

If I relyed solely on local media coverage, I wouldn't even know the STANLEY CUP playoffs took place, let alone the Aeros' close bid for CALDER CUP.

CatTrick said...

@ artandhockey

My first post was not in response to your post ... your post was not up when I wrote my comments.

My comments regarding Kolanos were based strictly on his on-ice perfomance.

Forecheck said...

A few extra point above and beyond what was posted at the Mothership.

1. John, I think you give Watson too much credit for keeping the NHL out of Houston. If not, I'm glad Watson did so. I can tell you how many NHL tickets I am willing to buy. One hundred dollars+ is too much to pay for any event that is on HD-TV. And TV is better than the upper deck for free.

2. A competitive ECHL team is a better deal than a non-competitive AHL team. But a competitive AHL team is prefered. Problem is apart from a playoff run two seasons ago, we are on starting on year three (or more) of a non-competitive AHL team. And something like four of the last five.

3. I wonder why I am spending over $1000/yr on this between tickets, marginal food, parking, driving, and AHLlive.

3.5 . Speaking of marginal food, $10.50 gets you something approaching a Philly but no fries this year. You have to buy the fries separately this year. Have they not heard of deflation?

4. Even if KK was not the problem in the room he is rumored by some to be, he doesn't play defense well and has no shot at being in the NHL. So why would the Wild be interested?

4.5 Bad room? Try the Sens. Alfie and Kovalchuk's ego are apparently a bad mix.

5. A lot of this got started with Lemaire's obsolete system and the Wild's previous owners' cheapness. I was hoping for big changes from new ownership and coaching but all I've seen from the Wild recently is a continuing commitment to mediocrity.

6. I think this will be a good year NOT to have a lot of media coverage. I certainly wouldn't bring someone not exposed much to hockey to a game this year. I certainly didn't last year.

John Royal said...

A couple of points, if I may. It's kind of strange being on this side, because it's the club that is generally pissed off at me -- trust me, you have no idea how much trouble I get into.

@FC, I don't understand why anybody forks out the cash for AHL Live. I like hockey, too, but i just can't pay for something that doesn't want to work half the time, and whenever I try to use it, there always appears to be some kind of problem.

And I share your anger with the concession costs, and decreasing lack of choices, but I think that's probably more a result of Les Alexander than the Wild, though I've never actually seen the lease they're working under.

I want a good team as much as anybody. But here's the theory I'm working under -- if I ever get a lot free time, I'll expand it -- there is a new regime in charge, and they're having to restock something that was left to fall apart at all levels. It's a problem the Astros have been having where the organization stagnated. I just think it's going to take these guys some time to do what they want. Could they bring in some high-priced AHL talent here, probably, but that's not the philosphy that they want to operate under.

I don't think you will ever see ECHL here. It's AHL, NHL, or nothing. I don't think an ECHL team will be able to handle the leasing costs for Toyota Center, and thanks to Dr. Joel's House of Love, the best arena in the city is unusable. And frankly, I don't want to watch ECHL hockey. I don't care how entertaining it might be or how willing the players are to mix with the fans, but I don't like watching crappy hockey. I prefer 1-0, well-played shut-outs over 10-9 score-fests with no defense. And frankly, if you think media coverage stinks now, it will be virtually non-existent for ECHL or CHL.

And I know it's hard for you guys to see, but trust me on this, the back room situation is changing. There have been a lot of changes in the business/admin end of the team, and the atmosphere has improved tremendously with the departure of a few people. Hopefully, things will improve on your side, soon.

That said, I want to thank all of you for continuing to read us over here.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr.Royal, how many ECHL matches have you seen in your time?

Anonymous said...

Yes, do tell Mr. Royal!

Anonymous said...

Not going to get over Kolanos anytime soon !!
You need to get over yourself and quit trying to stir this crap up just to get people to read your so called thoughts.
Talent is what counts...goals are what count...and from what I can see, the Wild need to get talent in getting talent. Whoever scouts for them is lacking.