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

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Read About Jim Mill In The Houston Press

As promised, here's the Press story with Jim Mill.

Just a few thoughts, which I couldn't get in because of space purposes. Mill and Chuck Fletcher are trying to assemble a team of high character guys. He mentioned that word a lot. They also want guys who can come up from Houston right away and play in the Wild system. So they're getting players that he, Fletcher, and coach Todd Richards are familiar with, thus the heavy emphasis on guys who played over in the Easteren Conference.

He is really high on Jon DiSalvatore, Pete Zingoni, and Duncan Milroy on the offensive end. He thinks they will work great in the style of play the Wild want. And he thinks Nathan Smith is going to be a great veteran presence who will teach the youngsters to play the right way.

They want very much Kevin Constantine playing a different style of hockey. Under the old regime, Constantine's marching orders were to make the team competitive, and teach the kids the fundamentals. The thinking was the other stuff, like the offense, could be taught in Minnesota. The current regime doesn't want to have to bring a guy up to speed on the style of play when he gets to the NHL. They want him to be able to jump into the lineup and skate with the regulars from day one. But they want the team to be competitive. So they've gotten guys who are used to playing an attacking style of play.

And no Matt Beaudoin.


artandhockey said...

Oh dear, I sense lots of revolving doors out TC/Slice and in at Minnesota.
This will be a year of 'change'(and uncertainty) - who will skate here, who will skate there?
For sure, NO dull moments ahead of us.
Thanks, I think? JR for update earlier on fave Beaudoin, now gone from Houston!BIG SIGH :-(

Andrew J. Ferraro said...

This will be a strange year, and I predict now that it will be the Wild's final year of having their affiliation in Houston.

I am not ready to say yet where I think they are going, but the answer may be fairly obvious. There is a nice building in a city a lot closer to MSP that has been begging for some decent ownership.

And from what I understand the rent up there may be a lot cheaper.

Ms. Conduct said...

I'm just gonna call you Gas Can Andy...

artandhockey said...

Cassandra sounds appropriate..like that famous Trojan Doomssayer!

CatTrick said...

After reading the Press article, I'm even more skeptical about the new management. Mill doesn't seem very sincere and, maybe it's my sense of loyalty to Locker (and maybe not), but he sure did blow off Corey's accomplishments and failed to recognize how far the Aeros ultimately went last season - due to their skill and hard work.

It isn't about tearing down what we had (and loved) last year in an effort to build up what Mill is promising to give us this year. And the Aeros won't win games just because Mill says they will.

Andrew, I sincerely hope your prediction is wrong. But from what's happened so far, we all know that loyalty won't be a Mill virtue.

Just noticed that my "word verification" is "cullous" ... just replace that "u" with an "a" ...

Andrew J. Ferraro said...

Clearly I am not a member of any sunshine club, but it is WAY to early to talk about how the Aeros will perform this year, etc.

As for the sincerity issue, well ... that is certainly your opinion, but it could have a large part to do with how the article was written.

Not saying it's bad, because it's not. John did a great job. But then again, I heard Mill giving John those quotes. Knowing John's take on the whole situation might affect that too. I get the impression that John thinks the Aeros are going to be worse because they failed to bring back the core of the team, and if I am wrong, John, please blast away in this forum. I think it would be good to talk about it.

When I analyze everything that has happened, I take a look at this from Jim Mill's angle. When I do that, everything he says makes perfect sense. And John did a great job of explaining the organizational turnover in his article.

And not to shun Locke, but his plus/minus numbers were atrocious. The Aeros were an AWFUL 5x5 team last year, and he and Kolanos and Schultz were a big part of that.

But that is a different story.

I think Mill is very sincere in his thinking. He was given guidelines of what he could and could not do and he used his hockey smarts to get done what he has gotten done.

And if the team is good or great, then people will say he knew what he was doing. And if they fail miserably or scuttle around .500 all season long and miss the playoffs, well, guess what? He'll have to be accountable for that too.

I like when sports folks (management) stand behind what they believe in. There are SOME teams in this town that, no matter how sucky they are on paper, the fans are fed line after line about how the team is competitive because they want people to come back to the stadium. That comes off as really insincere to me ...

My point to this whole reply?

Wait until you see the team play.
John's article was really good.
Corey Locke was not as good as people think he was last year.

John Royal said...

My two cents.

I wanted to write a neutral article. That's what I'm supposed to do, after all. This wasn't an opinion piece. It was my talking to Mill and getting his thoughts on the team.

I know lots of you don't like the moves that have been made. I thought the best way to address this was to let Mill speak.

I agree with Mill about Locke. Locke was very good on the club last year. But Locke got a great offer, and the Wild thought they could fill his role cheaper with other players.

And I don't know where Andrew got the idea that this had a negative slant toward Mill. I did my best to write it neutral, and I liked what I heard from him. In fact, I did my best to keep it from going to far that way. I wanted this to be a straight news article about the team.

For what it's worth, I'm angry only about one thing, and that's Mitch Love. But the Wild don't think he fits, and the Blues think he can make it with them, so I understand the thinking on both sides.

I for one am looking forward to this season -- if I'm still around. Mill and Fletcher have some definite ideas about what they want to do. They want a style of play that I think the fans will actually like. They want that style played here so that the guys going to Minnesota can play right away.

The one thing I'm disappointed about is that I tried to get Mill to talk more about the improvements they have made on defense, and about how much fun that might be to watch, but he kept wanting to talk about the offense.

Andrew J. Ferraro said...

I think I may have screwed up a tad. I did not mean to say the article HAD a negative slant. Only that it could be perceived that way if people thought you were down on the organization.

I thought the article was great and I said I think you did a good job of letting Mill speak. The negative talk was more about perception. Sorry for not making that clear.

If indeed you are around, John, I think we (writers and fans) will have some great debates on this Web site. That, I can tell you, is something I really look forward to about this team.

artandhockey said...

Oh, Boy, you said it -
lots of heated discussions coming up. Hurray for blogs!
We all have feelings and
opinions ;-)!Some may be churlish... (THE word for this).

Will fur fly? You betcha, it will.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for those responses, Andrew and John. I'm the first to acknowledge that both of you know WAY more than I ever will. Any negative slant may well have come from my perception, which is still my opinion. I understand the issues you brought up and agree with you on some but not all. One I agree with is that John did a great job. Another is that the Aeros should be developed to play the way they will if they get called up.

I'm also looking forward to the new season, and I'll be around to (hopefully) contribute to some of those great debates, Andrew :)

Andrew J. Ferraro said...

That is one great thing about having a blog. It is not my job to give my opinion about the Aeros in the Chronicle ... but I certainly CAN do that here.

I have a pretty open mind ... in fact a very open mind too, so I will listen and talk with anybody about the Aeros.

That is how I learn ... Sometimes I am swayed ... sometimes I am not. That is the way it should be.

CatTrick said...

Ooops, I posted as "anonymous" instead of "CatTrick." I "inged" up (my verification word)...

CatTrick said...

Andrew, it's also great to be a blog fan, with an opportunity to express my new-to-this-whole-hockey-experience opinion. I think I have a very open mind, too, and find that open, honest dialog with fellow Aeros fans makes for a great learning experience.

Anonymous said...

Andrew - that is a huge statement and borderline irresponsible of you (IMO) unless you give more information on why you feel that way. Obviously you have access to resources that the rest of us do not and I doubt you base this out of thin air. You must have something that makes you feel this way enough to voice your thoughts publicly.

I don't know crap about Jim Mill (except that he played a part in the release of Jerry Meins) or DiSalvatore or Milroy or Zingoni but I do know that they will not equal the offensive output of Kolanos, Locke and Schultz (even with their flaws) and it's a bit disingenuous of him to downplay the achievements of players on a team he was not involved with.

Lets looks at the numbers of the 3 guys mentioned and the top 3 guys we lost.

All are AHL CAREER averages so throw out the "career year" argument.

Locke avg .79 ppg reg season and 1.02 ppg in the playoffs.

Kolanos avg 1.03 ppg reg season and .55 ppg in the playoffs

Schultz .672 ppg reg season and .49 ppg in the playoffs.

The new guys
DiSalvatore .72 ppg reg season and .26 ppg in the playoffs

Zingoni .47 ppg reg season and .46 ppg in the playoffs

Milroy .52 ppg reg season and .49 ppg in the playoffs.

You can easily see that with those 6 guys compared we lost 2.49 ppg reg season and 2.06 ppg in the playoffs and we added 1.71 ppg reg season and 1.21 ppg in the playoffs leaving us short .78 ppg in the reg season and .85 ppg in the playoffs. a 31% reduction in reg season points and a 41% reduction in playoff points.

So say what you want about the guys we didn't sign, the new guys just will not score as many points and they are not upgrades in any way when speaking about offense.

As far as guys ready to step into the NHL we lost 139 NHL games worth of experience (mostly Kolanos) with those 3 guys and gained only 10 NHL games of experience with the 3 we picked up. So we are 129 NHL games less experienced and I don't think the Wild are going to be depending on these guys for anything in the NHL. They are pretty much career AHL types.

I think Mill is simply putting lipstick on a pig and trying to sell it.

I don't think we will be much of a threat and we'll definitely have a mediocre team at the best. I'll be talking to Mill about his being "fair to the fans". I hope he will be more fair to the fans than he was to his own employee, [cough] Jerry Meins [cough]

I'm not impressed Mr. Mill and your product on the ice better knock my socks off or you may wish Andrew is correct with his prediction.

Andrew J. Ferraro said...

I disagree that it is borderline irresponsible. It is nothing but complete conjecture and wondering aloud. Maybe you and I have different definitions of irresponsible.

Look the team has tried to move there before ... so if a better deal comes along to have their affiliate WAY closer, how could they not EXPLORE the option. Maybe AHL hockey in Des Moines will never work. I bet the Wild are going to investigate just that.

But to be fair ... and to clarify ... If I had to bet money on it, I wouldn't do it. And if you think anyone from either party will comment on it, you'd be wrong.

I can't recall anyone, including Jim Mill, saying the three new guys will be offensively equal to the the three new AHL guys. I would never say that and if I did, well, that my friend, would be more than borderline irresponsible.

And since you are anonymously able to generate detailed stats like that, please take the top three guys from the year before ... Joel Ward, Ryan Hamilton and Adrian Foster ... and see what you come up with compared to the three "new" Aeros.

Is the new team going to be as talented as last year? No. But they will be better defensively and they will very likely play better 5x5 hockey.

You can't tell what a team is going to do in September. There is just no way.You can make an educated guess based on expected personnel, but that is it.

Two summers ago, I thought the team was going to stink to high heaven. They were third in a very good division and made the playoffs.

Last summer, I thought the team was going to be a Top 4 regular season team. They were mediocre and finished third in a very standard/sub-standard West division.

Sure last year's team went farther ... and how they did it with Khudobin was defined with an AMAZING power play.

Also, from what we have all been told, Mill had NOTHING to do with Meins. That was Fletcher, unless I am missing something.

Just something to think about.

John Royal said...

Do I need to remind everybody of just how mediocre last year's team really was? I labeled the team consistently inconsistent, and most of you spent the season grousing and bitching about the team.

The defense was pretty bad, and because of that, Schaefer, Brust, Khudobin, and "your name goes here" spent the season constantly fighting an onrush of defenders.

The Aeros barely made the playoffs season, and if not for Khudobin and Kolanos carrying the team in the first round, the team probably would not have made it past Peoria.

I liked Krys Kolanos. He would always give a quote when asked -- except for after game 7 in Milwaukee where he was rather pissed -- and I liked Locke and Schultz. But Kolanos has been on a lot of teams -- in the AHL, NHL, and Europe -- and he has stuck nowhere. Jacques Lemaire didn't like him with the Wild last season, so even if the same group would have stayed in charge, he would have been gone this season.

The same thing with Locke who the Wild refused to call up despite numerous injury problems and a lack of scoring punch throughout the season. So if Lemaire and Riseborough are still around, Locke's also gone. So bitch all you want about Mill and Fletcher, but most of the guys who are gone would have been gone no matter who which regime was running the team. So take off your rose-colored glasses already.

And anon, while I like reading your use of stats, I'll remind you that a lot of these guys are guy who played for Fletcher and Richards in the past several seasons, or guys that they have actually watched play a lot of hockey in the Easter Conference.

And this is important to remember. They don't want guys who have been up to the NHL. They want guys who can play in the NHL. There's a difference. Fletcher and Richards know what they need on the Wild, and they know the type of players they need for that team.

So bitch all that you want. Just take off your rose-colored glasses. And remember this. There is one constant: Kevin Constantine. If he could get that team from two seasons ago into the playoffs, then he can get this team into the playoffs.

Forecheck said...

Hey Mill - You say you want aggressive offense? Then sign Matt Beaudoin.

John Royal said...

Artandhockey, I just hit the wrong button...in short, I lost your comment. Would you mind resubmitting. I apologize. It had several good points. Not sure I agree with them all, but still good. So sorry about that. Really, really sorry.

artandhockey said...

This is from artandhockey. I lost the original post, but found it in my mailbox, so I'm including it here.

Yes, IMO Beaudoin was consistently undervalued. Maybe he did not score as much, but he was a sturdy, universal player, aggressive, unafraid to hit and be hit if needed, played every game, fast skater, most often in the right place to shunt the puck into net or to Locke, etc. etc.
JR, I do agre with you... many a days T3I and another local blog teemed with grousing and complaining, me included..coining "Lost on Ice Boyz" phrase. Pouliot passing the puck to ...the 'others', pucks out of control and or lost. Falk, in the beginning, very tentative. "Goal by the seat of his pants" (Lammers) :-). Puck bouncing off helmet into net (believe that was Love's), puck 'slinking' through net-no goal for Noreau, horrible schedule, lots of miserable travel.. and on and on.
And yet, the boyz came back time after time so give us heart attacks :-). Khudobin proved his mettle, despite 'someone's' :-D)(you know who you are), initially negative, assessment.
Yes, KC is a constant, but you all have quoted Mills, etc. say, that the coaching directions from Minnesota are changing and KC needs to change to that, too.
Anyway, CHANGE, is the current watchword US wide, so why not for the AEROS.
IT WILL be very, very interesting for sure to see how it all works out.
(and debris is the word on this comment-how apropos :-)

artandhockey said...

Oh dear, my memory is not what it used to be. ;-)
I'll try, just not verbatim.

IMO, Beaudoin was undervalued, he was a sturdy, reliable (never missed a game), speedy skater, universal type player, often in right place at right time, never avoided to hit or be hit(miraculously never injured as I recall)...NO, he did NOT score quite as much as KK and Locke (these two were around the whole season, Nr. 25 just came aboard January...do the math).
I do recall many a times T3I and another local blog teeming with bitter moans, groans and complaints, me included, coining the phrase 'Lost on ICe Boyz'.
'The goal by the seat of his pants' (Lammers), goal off helmet (Love I believe), pucks lost or 'passed to the foe' (Pouliot). Falk, at first bumbling around, getting tougher after January, Khudobin proving his mettle, despite someones' initially negative remarks-you know who ;-)! Noreau losing points - elusive puck 'slinks through net' and is not counted! And yet, the boyz came back time after time...overcame murderous travel schedule, late planes, no or insufficient rest...giving us all 'heart attacks' of all kinds...LOL
Yes, Kevin Constantine is a constant. But keep in mind that Mills, etal so often refer to Minnesota's NEW direction of coaching and KC will have to toe the 'northern' line!
It will be VERY, VERY interesting. And T3I a major forum for discussions and 'verbal' fights! LOL
The current watch word US wide is CHANGE, and so CHANGE it is for the Aeros.
And the 'word' for this does not fit so neatly as the one before, sorry JR :-)
Hope I did remember the salient points :-D ?