Now for another edition of your favorite hockey blog…
Looks like my pick of the Texas Stars to dethrone the Hershey Bears was off the mark, however when the Stars won the first two games of the Calder Cup Finals, I was looking pretty smart. Guess that’s why they play a best-of-seven. Anyway, the AHL and NHL seasons have been in the books for a couple of weeks now and that means it’s time to get ready for the draft and free agency.
The NHL draft is in Los Angeles beginning on Friday. You can watch it on Versus beginning at 6 pm CST. Round 1 is Friday night and the subsequent rounds can be found on the NHL Network beginning on Saturday at noon CST. The Maple Leaf Pub, a very proud sponsor of the Aeros, will have the draft on Friday night. So head to 514 Elgin St. and enjoy some draughts (responsibly) and the NHL draft! By the way, the Wild have the 9th overall selection.
As for the Aeros, Mike Yeo is the new head coach, named to the position last week. I think it’s a great hire. For what it’s worth, I loved working with Kevin Constantine, Troy Ward and Luke Strand (08-09) / Mark LeRose (09-10). They were so knowledgeable and hard working that it was unbelievable at times. Those guys truly cared about improving players’ skill sets and winning hockey games. There was a lot of pride on that staff to have their team play hard all the time. With that said, I’m super stoked to have Mike Yeo here. I think it’s exciting for the fans and I don’t think that can be understated. The man has a Stanley Cup ring for crying out loud and he’s a former Turner Cup Champion from his days here in Houston. This is going to be a great year for the Aeros, I can feel it!
On the assistant coaches’ front, here’s what coach Yeo told me when I asked about the hiring process on Monday:
"We are still in the process of putting our list together. We already have a good group of candidates and we will be starting the interview process with them very soon."
Obviously with the draft and free agency (July 1) approaching, the hiring of assistant(s) / coach(es) may get put on the backburner – slightly.
Here are some other hockey links / tidbits to chew on:
• Click here for my phone interview with Aeros’ GM Jim Mill from earlier this week.
• Goaltender Cory Schneider earned himself a two-year, $1.8 million contract a few weeks back, meaning he’ll be Roberto Luongo’s backup in Vancouver this season. That of course means the Manitoba Moose are looking for a new number one goaltender.
• In the last five Stanley Cup Finals, the home team has won each of the first three games.
• Quite simply, here’s the greatest commercial I’ve ever witnessed.
• The NHL’s TV contracts with NBC and Versus expires after this season, so it’s fair to think that if the NHL has another solid season ratings-wise, that ESPN might once again show an interest in the NHL. The decisive game six between the Blackhawks and the Flyers earned a 4.7 rating, more than four times the bleak 1.1 rating game three between the Senators and Ducks received back in the 2007 Stanley Cup Finals. It was also the league’s highest rated TV game in 36 years.
• Since the NHL lockout in 2004-2005, the salary cap has gone up 52% to $59.4 million. The cap floor (the minimum teams can spend) is now $43.4 million. That’s a 102% increase since the lockout. Hopefully it doesn’t get too far out of hand and put the NHL and its smaller market teams in a tough spot in a few hands.
• Check out my blog on the website of Sports Radio 610 where I argue that the Stanley Cup is the hardest championship to win in sports. My on-air co-host (for most weekend shifts), John Wessling, told me to blog about it after we raised the topic to the listeners and got into some heated debates. I blogged (and still want to add more to my “defense”) and he posted it. For those of you that don’t already know, you can hear me on SR610 on Saturday night from 7-11 pm and Sunday afternoons from 11 am – 3 pm. Of course, the schedule is tweaked sometimes, including this weekend.
• Speaking of John Wessling, he’s the feature act at The Improv in Houston on Wednesday, June 30th. Dude is funny. Check him out.
• One last plug: The wife of former Aeros’ assistant coach Mark LeRose is a pretty darn famous author. Here’s her latest book on amazon which has been out for a couple of months now.
I’ll have another blog up soon in addition to some more prospect profiles. So keep checking out aeros.com to stay current.
- Aero Joe