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Pucks On The 'Net: Random Thoughts Edition

* Houston will get a NHL team. I'm certain of it, and was before there was any interest expressed from Texas. Obviously the odds of a team have greatly increased, but don't expect anything imminently. Gary Bettman will tell Houston to sit patiently and they will get a team. The league likes to have interested groups with deep pockets and a ready arena hanging around as leverage. Ottawa and Calgary are going through tough negotiations to get a new arena. So are the New York Islanders and, well, the Arizona Coyotes are forever a mess. Watch Bettman use this to his benefit to clean up a couple of messes and then milk $500,000,000 out of Houston as an expansion team in 3 or 4 years.

* What ever happened to the Quebec group that wanted an expansion team. They've gone very quiet.

* Winnipeg's Blake Wheeler really reminds me of Trevor Linden in his heyday. Big bodies, great leaders. Wheeler has the same look when using his body in the slot to drive the net. But Wheeler is a much better skater.

* If I had to pick the Stanley Cup finalists for 2018 right now, Tampa and St. Louis would be my choices. By no coincidence, those teams boast the top defensemen in the league - Victor Hedman and Alex Pietrangelo.

* I'm still upset that Jeremy Jacobs is in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Good to see growing support for Fran Rider. She is a true builder of hockey.


Anonymous said…
I still vaguely remember Houston's last major-pro hockey team, the WHA's Houston Aeros. They were a really good team that won 2 Championships, battled Soviets, and were a top contender in all 6 seasons (of the WHA's 7) they played.

Despite the NHL's mean spirited WHA-Blacklist, the Aeros had at least 2 Hall of Famers play for them during their glorious run, including Gordie Howe. Neither of the two arenas they used had luxury boxes, playing surface ads, or were named after corporations. Their biggest arena (The Summit) held under 15,000 and the most expensive WHA tickets sold for $10. Barely any WHA games were on TV and nearly all of them were on local stations only. However, the Aeros some-Howe survived 6 years in a FAR more unfriendly hockey environment than today's Texas supposedly is.

Even adjusted for inflation, the kind of money you say the NHL will get for a Houston EXPANSION team would probably have allowed the twice CHAMPION Aeros to pay the Howe's salaries, Bobby Hull's record breaking salary, Derek Sanderson's record breaking salary and put both Cheevers & Parent in net. And they probably would have enough leftover to sign Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, Darryl Sittler & Alex Delvecchio (All of whom were earning peanuts & were extremely close to jumping to the WHA. Until Detroit signed him for 100G. Delvecchio was about to re-join his longtime teammate Howe in Houston). The Aeros could have signed all of them, or built their own Summit Arena ($8 Mil). Heck, maybe even both.

With that money, the Aeros could have iced one of the best teams ever (9 Hall of Famers, all at/near their peak) and survived the entire run of the WHA in a sub-15,000 seat area without luxury boxes, corporate ads, a national TV deal and with $10 tickets!!!

Just something to think about when you spend $350+ for a nosebleed ticket, $100 for a toque, or sit at home and watch a mediocre game played by spoiled millionaires in a corporately named rink with 250 rink ads staring back at you. Fans were treated FAR better back when there supposedly was "no money" in hockey.

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