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

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Injury update, TC lease non-update

I spoke with Aeros GM Jim Mill this morning to catch up on the myriad injuries and ask about the lease negotiations, since folks seem to be getting a little edgy about that lately (understandably).

I also wanted his take on Justin Fontaine's meteoric rise to the top of the scoring chart for Houston. The kid is just money all day long and while Jason Zucker got all the press for his record-tying OT game winner over the Heat Sunday, I thought Fontaine's performance was as important to even getting the team into the position to play in OT.

Mill said he's not surprised by his success at all. Fontaine came into camp stronger and in great shape after working hard all summer, and he's happy to see it paying off for him. And what a relief it is for Fontaine, and really his whole line (Palmieri and McIntyre), to turn it up to 11 right as Granlund goes out with that injury and really make up that offensive gap (and then some).

That said, Granlund is possible for a return against OKC on Thursday and/or Friday. He's practicing fully and at this point it's up to the Finn to decide whether he's game ready or not. It would be great to see him back, especially against the Oklahoma City Oilers. I'm as excited for these games as I was for the start of the season. Should be some phenomenal hockey, at least on one side of the puck if not both.

In other injury news, Mill didn't want to get too detailed but Brett Bulmer's left leg injury Sunday wasn't as bad as they'd feared, but there is still no time table on his return. Kampfer is out indefinitely and spending time in dark rooms and wearing sunglasses, according to his Twitter, so that one is just going to take the time it takes. Finally, also no time table for Rau's return.

Hopefully I asked about everybody. Obviously Brodin is still out for a while with that surgically repaired collar bone.

On the lease, the team continues to keep everything about it close to the vest, for obvious reasons, but Mill said they're still talking to the Toyota Center and he feels like there's still plenty of time. I asked if they were getting into "fish or cut bait" territory here and he said it's not that dire; that there's still time. Even though I've been told all along that something would happen in late Nov/early Dec... I guess like a concussion, this will take the time it takes and we'll all just sit in the dark for a while longer.

I know how I'm interpreting it, but there are many moving parts to consider and I'm probably not clever enough to know what they all are, so it's pure speculation. And since I'm too cranky today (and frankly, most days) to field calls scolding me for speculating on the blog (you win, Josh), I'll let you guys speculate in the comments. :)


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the updates and unfortunately I'm probably the antsiest of all the ticket holder.
Where would I be without center ice.
Good to hear about Granlund but surprised on Chad Rau. The foot injury must have been more serious than speculated.
Not that I'm vindictive but looking forward to someone (anyone) doing a number on Taylor Hall.

Forecheck said...

but Mill said they're still talking to the Toyota Center and he feels like there's still plenty of time

That makes me feel 1% better with 98% to go. At least they are talking.

It's the 800 pound gorilla (or snake, as someone said) that I am still worried about.

Anonymous said...

Do not know all the mechanics on these issues but one would think more revenue would be generated for TC with a tenant than empty or am I missing something here?

Forecheck said...

They need to generate revenue, but enough to cover costs. The TC is expensive compared to an arena half its size. Can the Aeros get a cheaper lease elsewhere? Probably. Will it meet all their needs? Dunno.

Then there is Le$, who views the TC as "his" barn. He doesn't control the Aeros , but he would control an ECHL , CHL, or National Lacrosse League team if he could buy one and kick the Aeros out. The Aeros are also the child of Chuck Watson, Alexander's old rival for whom there is still much animosity.

Anonymous said...

Its possible the TC could generate more revenue without the Aeros and filling that space with concerts. Without the Aeros it frees up 40 mostly weekend event nights, if they could get concerts in there that are full 10 of those nights that could be more money than 40 nights of 4-8 thousand people.

Just a thought

Anonymous said...

Ouch. These are painful comments.
Totally forgot about the Chuck Watson scenario.
From a business standpoint views of anon above make sense.
Sure wish there was some hidden facility in the Woodlands, Humble, Kingwood, Sugarland or Missouri City that is primed for leasing.

Anonymous said...

Does the Astroarena/Reliant Arena have ice making equipment or ability? I don't recall if they do or not but they did have indoor soccer in there for a year or two so I know they could put boards in there.

I also know/heard that at one time John McMullen looked at putting the Devils minor league team in the AstroArena back in the mid-80s when he owned the Astros and Devils.

I don't think Les cares much for hockey, it's all money for him. I really don't know how many more dates they could fill without the Aeros - they'd have to win business back from Reliant. Disney on Ice, the Globetrotters and some other tours that used to hit the Summit (like the Circus) have all moved to the Reliant complex. I figured Toyota Center just wanted high lease terms for one-off acts.

It would be a shame to lose the Aeros. But really I think it is as much how good of a deal they could elsewhere in the U.S.