|Nuts and bolts, nuts and bolts ... you know the rest.|
This is not my original thought, but I certainly do agree that the owners are losing the PR battle this time around. Gary Bettman has come across as very cold and completely unbelievable. It is kind of sad what has happened to the NHL in the last decade based on how great it was in the 1990s.
Too bad this generation of players will be remembered more for two lockouts and getting dropped ESPN.
If there is anything good to come out of the lockout its that Aeros fans will get to see NHL-caliber talent at Toyota Center. This is a great article about the responsibility that John Torchetti will have here in Houston. Great read.
For those of you who don't already know, the Aeros will have a three-day camp in St. Paul starting on the 28th, and they will play up to three exhibition games against Texas and OKC. All of them will be on the road, and when the Aeros send out their first release on training camp and the preseason schedule, I will certainly pass that information along to you.
During the last lockout, the Aeros also shared an affiliation with the Wild and Dallas Stars. And because of that, Aeros fans got to watch Mike Smith, Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Mikko Koivu.
I think it is safe to say that those guys have grown up to be great or really good NHLers, but their time in Houston was just so-so. I remember that year a lot of the future stars - including Koivu - played "not to get hurt," and I think the team suffered because of it.
I would expect some of that to a certain extent, but there will be much better talent on the ice at Toyota Center this time around.
Also in closing, I wanted to mention that I will no longer cover the Aeros for the Houston Chronicle. As I continue to chase the dream of being the world's finest PR guru, I have less and less time to share with the sports world and my lovely family. I have a new job, having left United/Continental after 14 wonderful years.
That being said, I will still be at the rink - I just won't be there for every single game. I plan lots of good things for The Third Intermission this year. I covered more than 400 home games since 2002, and I could not be more proud of the work I did for the Chronicle. Even as the coverage diminished, I made sure every game - both home and road - at least got a recap.
It remains to be seen as to who will take my place, but I will help them with anything they need to ensure a smooth transition. I'd be lying if I said I won't miss seeing my name above all the Aeros stories. It was both a thrill and a dream come true to put my mark on the history of the team and to work with great coaches like Todd McLellan, Rob Daum, Kevin Constantine, Mike Yeo and John Torchetti.
Off all the freelance gigs I've ever had, this was and will always be my favorite. Now, I get to spend more time with my wife and three kids and making this site even better. It already is the best non-team affiliated blog of any Western Conference team.
Let's keep it going, eh?