Workin’ For The Weekend – Houston. Texas. Head North “Texas Flood”

Stevie Ray Vaughan is more than a musical genius. He’s more than a guitar virtuoso. He’s more than soul snatched too early in life. No, he’s so much more than that. He’s the champion of the blues. Not in the musical sense, but in the all encompassing movement of soulful, intellectual, raw, and powerful transformation of pain. Some will squeeze SRV into various genres from rock to blues to jazz. In a short but fiery seven year career with his band, Double Trouble, his debut album/song calledTexas Flood stands as tall as Big Tex at the Texas State Fair (may he rest in peace).

It’s a track that’s oozing with pain, soul, heartache, and grit. In that same vein, SRV manages to capture the hard working Texas man that simply longs to be home where things are good, the sun is bright, and it’s familiar.

I don’t long for Texas sunshine, but I do long for a little dose of the state — in the form of two teams playing in my own backyard.

The mighty South Division of the AHL. Texas, Houston, San Antonio, Oklahoma City, and the not-so-South Charlotte Checkers. It’s a solid division. Lots of NHL impact from the lockout. It’s also where our beloved Barons will spend the majority of their season beginning Friday and Sunday against Houston and Texas.

Houston, a team that OKC saw in preseason only weeks ago, lives and breathes on the prospect, one Mikael Granlund. He’s their leading scorer, most intense prospect, and center worth watching in the coming years. But names like Zucker, Palmierie, and Coyle contribute nightly in ways that spreads the offensive output across several lines, and various types of forward play. This always makes them a dangerous.

But it’s defense that has stung the Aeros to date. Starting tender, Matt Hackett, is 1-4 out of the gate. And when they rely on him, he has to be infinitely better.

Marco Scandella is a dandy defensive player with offensive play making talents. He’s tied for second in assists in the league with six through five games. But even he struggles to take hold of a strong defensive front.

Houston remains a good power play team (7th in the league), but one of the worst on the kill at second to last. It should be a good series, and that’s a good thing given how often these two will meet in November.

Then there’s Texas, the only AHL team I watch as much as the Barons. The Stars are right at .500 and directly behind the Barons in the division and west conference standings. The league clearly wants a good rivalry to brew between the OKC team and the one from Cedar Park. It hasn’t happened yet, where the teams really feel the rivalry, but perhaps it’s inevitable. After a terrible season a year ago, the Stars want to roar back to life. Playing the Barons well might be a good start. And that’s something the Stars haven’t done in the last two seasons, the Barons are 12-6-0-02 against Texas.

Oleksiak, Smith, and Chiasson are interesting prospects in the Stars organization, and to some extend have proved valuable early. Young, but valuable. But more familiar faces carry the team. Vincour, Eakin, Benn, Morin, and Petersen are peppered throughout the lineup, and all are fully capable to mount an attack on the South Div, but they haven’t just yet. But, like a few others in the West, they really struggle on the man advantage. But as we’ve seen in OKC, one night can change the percentages early in the season. Add to that the worst penalty kill in the entire American League, and things get scary.

The nuts and bolts of both hockey teams are pretty solid, but neither club has proved itself to be an elite team in the same way Lake Erie has done. This spells trouble for both Texas teams. Might the flood of losses becoming Texas’ way? Stevie Ray thinks so.