Thoughts on the World Cup of Hockey
I understand the historical significance of Canadas first-game jerseys. However, with the maple leaf on that color yellow, was I the only one that thought Team Canada was some pickles and onions away from a Whopper?
SummerScribes, September 3 edition
The NBAs complaint about the Olympics is that the players have only two weeks to gel. Meanwhile, after two weeks, the World Cup teams (with the notable exception of Team USA) look like they are in mid-season form.
Since ESPN is seemingly the only national media outlet left to try and save the NHL, it would have been nice for the station to spend half as much time covering the games on SportsCenter this week as they did profiling Jeremy Roenicks gambling problem.
Speaking of Roenick, its a good example of how 99 percent of NHL skaters could never transition into the booth. He seemed more out of place than Dennis Miller. I wanted Team USA to tie the game with Canada not only out of patriotism, but also because I thought there was a good chance Roenick would blow out his microphone and send Gary Thorne and Bill Clement into early retirement.
The Canadian media is in mid-season form, as is Team Canada coach Pat Quinn. Both chastised the US for running Martin Brodeur, which led into a fracas involving Mario Lemieux of all people. Did no one see Brodeur drag Steve Konowalchuk into the net?
A total of two former Aeros are now in World Cup play. In addition to Team USA goalie Robert Esche (who kept Tuesdays loss from being 7-1, and played well Thursday as well), Slovakia added Rastislav Pavlikovsky. Keep an eye on Finlands Mikko Koivu, because if there is no resolution to the NHL labor dispute, youll likely be seeing this monster at Toyota Center very soon.
Aeros sign three
The Aeros continued to stockpile talent with training camp less than a month away, re-signing defenseman Maxime Fortunus, and locking up rookie defenseman Dan Boeser and forward Mike Kompon. All three should bring a lot of energy to camp.
Fortunus matured on the ice through several stints in Houston last season, and a summer in the weight room for his wiry frame cant hurt. From all reports, Boeser will battle Mark Cullen and Ray Giroux for Man of the Year honors with his community involvement, and Kompon comes from an up-and-coming Miami (Ohio) program.
Chronicle in Education game on tap again
We were proud to announce this week the second edition of the Chronicle in Education Kids Day Game, February 8 at 11:05 a.m. against Utah. The kids and teachers alike had a smashing time last year. Perhaps enjoying it the most were the Aeros players, who scored three quick goals late in the first period with the help of 4,000 children.
For those of our season ticketholders that work and cant play hooky for a day (tell me youve never slipped out early to attend a baseball matinee on a warm April afternoon), please contact our office if you are interested in donating your tickets to help children who cant afford to come to the game on their own.
Utah loads up
With the lockout looming, Phoenix went out and signed six players with more than 500 games of NHL experience to AHL contracts. The most notable signings are former Stars winger Jon Sim, defenseman Rick Berry and goalie Zac Bierk.
Henderson to UHL
Former Aero Jay Henderson, a member of the 2003 Calder Cup winning team who won his third AHL title this spring with Milwaukee, signed with UHL Flint this week. Henderson looks to be a casualty of the NHL labor situation, as most teams will want their prospects playing in the AHL instead of league veterans. If the labor stoppage gets worked out mid-season, look for many an AHL GM to be calling Hendersons name.
Konopka lands with Ducks
Agitator Zenon Konopka, who had some epic middleweight battles with Erik Reitz last season, will likely see his juniors nemesis several more times this season. Konopka, who played for Utah in 2003-04, signed this week with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks and appears ready for a campaign in Cincinnati. Konopka and Reitz squared off many a times in the OHL.
Jay walks to Harvard
Bobby Jay, a longtime IHL player and most recently the general manager of the San Antonio Rampage, joined Ted Donatos new staff at Harvard as an assistant coach this week. Jay is a Massachusetts native.
Rampage add some help for Scott
Speaking of San Antonio, that deep breath of relief you heard last week was Travis Scott. The Florida Panthers signed goalie Patrick DesRochers, who has 200 games of pro experience. Scott played 64 games for San Antonio in 2003-04, and he started all 12 against Houston. Hell be a lot fresher down the stretch splitting time with DesRochers, who was 23-25-1 with Lowell last season.
Its time for a party
Mark Cullens favorite charity, Sunshine Kids, is presenting an exclusive showcase of bedroom vignettes designed by a select group of Houston Interior Designers from chic contempo to classic traditional from September 23-25 at The Resource Center at 7026 Old Katy Road. All contents of the vignettes will be available for purchase, with 40% of all sales going directly to the Sunshine Kids Foundation. For ticketing information, please contact Ginny Hall at 713.468.9888.
News from ticketing
As announced this week, the Aeros 7-game plan is for those fans on the go. Still save money, and invest less up front. But after your first seven games, we guarantee youll have so much fun youll want to come to seven more!
Its also not too late to become an Elite Fleet member and get 40 tickets for the price of 30. Dont forget, Elite Fleet members get guaranteed premium items (to be announced soon).
You can contact an Aeros ticket representative at 713.974.PUCK today to book a group outing. Aeros games work great for groups of co-workers, friends or families.
Tickets for Kids will be back again in 2004-05. Your company can make a tax deductible charitable contribution and help the less fortunate attend an Aeros game.
Finally, the Houston Aeros Fan Club is currently accepting membership applications. The club, which will enjoy monthly meetings with players and coaches, is open to season ticketholders and voucher holders.
This weeks question comes from Ashely, who asks:
Are we going to get Z back on the team this year?
Excellent question, Ashely. Its all going to depend on the NHL labor dispute. If theres a lockout, you can be sure Minnesota will want Zbynek Michalek playing in Houston. If there is a last-minute deal to avoid the lockout, Michalek will be battling for a job with the Wild alongside Ray Giroux and Erik Reitz.
To send a question to the SummerScribes E-mail bag, click here.
Congratulations to last editions winner, Walter Carter, who correctly reported that Chris Mason had lost more games to the Aeros (13) than any other goalie. There were lots of votes for Norm Maracle, who is actually third on the list with 10. Bruce Racine is second with 11.
This weeks question World Cup edition. We were speaking of Robert Esche, who played seven games with the Aeros in 1999-2000.
Following the 2002-03 season, Esche and Philadelphia teammate Roman Cechmanek shared the Jennings Trophy with New Jerseys Martin Brodeur for the NHL teams allowing the fewest goals. Esche was just the second American born goalie to take home the hardware since Tom Barasso led Buffalos goalies to that title in 1984-85. Who was the last American born goalie to be a part of the award-winning goalie tandem? Keep in mind a goalie must have played in 25 games to be eligible to share the award.
Send answers to firstname.lastname@example.org. The winner gets an Opening Night 2000 lineup card.
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