PUCK YES?

What the Seattle NHL expansion might mean for Houston

Hockey in Houston? Don't laugh; it could happen. Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Seattle will be the National Hockey League's 32nd team, and will begin play in 2020-21. But there is a lot of buzz that Houston might get a relocated franchise, presumably from the Pacific Division, to balance out the West. As of now, the Pacific Division would have nine teams, the Central seven. Pretty simple math. So the NHL might do some Game of Thrones like moving and change allegiances and rivalries. (Stick with me, this will make sense at the end).

There have been two teams mentioned as possibilities:

  1. The Calgary Flames. I hate this. Teams should never be taken out of Canada. In fact, there should be more. Canada is hockey heaven, and Calgary is a fantastic city. The problem is they play in a dilapidated stadium, and the city has refused to put any money in a new barn. It's exacerbated by the fact the rival Edmonton has one of the best new palaces in all of hockey. The hope here is a move to Houston is just a threat, and that the city eventually comes up with something. However, they just voted down an Olympic bid, so a new stadium might not be in the cards. It would ruin one of the great rivalries - the battle of Alberta - but from a competitive standpoint, this is a pretty damned interesting team. Maybe it's my inner Canadian speaking, but I would be disappointed if this were to become the Houston team. On the flip side, the oil industry brings a lot of Calgary natives to the city, so there would already be at least some fan base in place. (I am about to visit Saskatchewan next week, with a stop on the way through the greatest hockey city in the world, Toronto, and a trip back through Calgary on the way home). I love Calgary and want to see the Flames thrive there.
  2. The Arizona Coyotes. This one seems more likely. They have ownership issues. Stadium issues. It is a shame, because when the team was actually in Phoenix and not Glendale, the attendance was solid. This should be a much better market, and in a perfect world they would sort out the ownership problems and get back to Phoenix. It has already been reported that they are going to move to the Central, but if Calgary was the team to move to Houston, that's an easy flop because it does not have to happen for two years.

Would it work in Houston?

I am biased, but I believe it would. There are a lot of transplants here. That does not mean Blackhawks fans are suddenly going to become Houston Fill in the Blanks fans, but they will go to games.

A Houston team in a Central Division would have a natural rivalry with Dallas, and would join Chicago, St. Louis, Minnesota, Nashville, Winnipeg and Colorado in a very well designed Central Division. The Coyotes have some young talent, will likely have another high pick this season and could be fun by the time it happens. (Yes, I know they are playing well now, but hard to believe they can sustain it).

And if they are good...well we know Houston is a front-running town. Casual fans would get behind it. Remember how packed Toyota Center was for the Aeros playoffs?

Ideally, a team like Carolina or Florida would be the one to move, but there is no easy way to realign that group into a Central that makes sense. Regardless, Seattle getting a team is not bad news for Houston. There is a lot of smoke out there, so maybe there is some fire. A Song of Ice and Fire in Houston? (See, I told you it would make sense at the end).

It could happen.

THE WRESTLING REPORT

WWE makes a move on AEW

WWE PROMO

Born with a comic book in one hand and a remote control in the other, Cory DLG is the talent of Conroe's very own Nerd Thug Radio, Sports. Check out the podcast replay of the FM radio shows www.nerdthugradio.com!

So there's a ton that happened this week and not all of it on just Raw and Smackdown. Let's get to the big announcement first, NXT will be leaving the WWE Network and coming to USA Network and directly competing against AEW on Wednesday nights. Also, NXT will begin touring the country like the Red and Blue brands to give more exposure to these lesser wrestlers and help grow the brand overall. I've always said one of the hurdles an NXT call up has to deal with when they come up is that they aren't nationally known, so sure they pop in Florida where NXT films every month, but how do they play when they're seen for the first time in the Midwest? That's not going to be a problem anymore which will make some of these guys journeys much easier. The choice to compete with AEW I think is their mistake. I think if people have to choose between two things they don't know, they are more likely to give the complete unknown the try rather than the third WWE show, I might be wrong but that's just how I feel.

The other thing I wanted to mention was WWE did a house show here in Houston on Saturday and this is the perfect opportunity to talk about how crazy the WWE schedule is. This is an untelevised show, with guys like Randy Orton, Kevin Owens and Charlotte Flair among other big name stars doing matches, they were flying in from Orlando, doing this show and going right back on the road for Raw on Monday night. This is where the road takes its toll on WWE superstars. When it was reported that Dean Ambrose did 200 matches in one year and you start adding it up, even if he was on every Raw and Smackdown that's only 104 shows. The number of house shows these guys do is insane and it's part of how they make their business work but still, the travel and the wear and tear is incredible.

This week on the shows they began the King of the Ring contest, this is something they never should have gotten away from. King of the Ring is just one of those iconic WWE things that should always be an active part of the brand and I'm glad they brought it back. From both shows the things that stick out the most to me is the Kofi getting tough with Randy Orton, Bayley getting a little rough with Charlotte and I'm so damn tired of the Roman Reigns storyline. I do like Seth and Brawn winning the tag titles, and I hope they let this have a nice long simmer before these two match up for Seth's title eventually.

Feel free to check out my brand new comic book Another Day at the Office email me for details or buy a shirt from Side Hustle Ts where some proceeds help people struggling with cancer or listen to Nerd Thug Radio. Thoughts, complaints, events and comments can be sent to corydlg@gmail.com.

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