Yes, it’s about time for us to take a close look at the Cyclones playoff chances. Granted, there are still 26 games for the Cyclones to play and if They can keep it close there is a good chance they can be in control of Their own destiny over Their last 6 games which will be against Kalamazoo and Toledo; two of the teams They will be battling for a playoff slot down the stretch. That being said, it will be an uphill battle for the Cyclones.
The Cyclones sit in the 8th and final playoff position. However, a quick look at the numbers show that They are really on the outside looking in right now. Based on winning percentage the Cyclones sit in 9th position.
The Cyclones have struggled to find the consistency to keep them above .500 all season. If that continues the Cyclones will finish with around 72 points on the year and will be hitting the links early. The Kalamazoo Wings are winning sit at .523 which projects out to 76 points at the end of the year. The Elmira Jackals and Toledo Walleye come in at .511 which will bring them home with 73+ points. The battle will be tight and for the Cyclones, it has to start now. By our estimation the Cyclones will need to earn 30 points over Their last 26 games to have a shot at the post season. Is it impossible, of course not. In fact, it would require the Boys to post a win percentage of about .577 over Their last 26. That’s a record of 15-11 which is very obtainable.
Breaking those last 26 games down it looks like this; 14 games within the North Division, 11 against the South and 1 against the Atlantic. The games within the Division break down to 7 against Kzoo, 6 against Toledo and 1 with Wheeling. The games with the South start with 3 with Florida, 1 against Greenville (all at USBA) before the southern swing which includes 3 games each with South Carolina and Greenville and a single tilt with Gwinnett.
The games against the South Division will be key, of the 8 teams They have left on the schedule, the 4 South Division teams are the only ones the Cyclones have winning records against (3-2 vs FLA, 2-0-1 vs SC, and 1-0 vs GWT).
The games within the North Division are more of an open book, with the exception of Wheeling the Cyclones hold .500 records against both Toledo and Kzoo. Given there are 13 games remaining against those 2 teams it’s imperative the Cyclones swing those season series in Their favor. There is one more game against Wheeling and while every game is important in regards to making the playoffs, a win with Wheeling would be big for the Boys simply due to the recent results They’ve had against the Nailers.
When it’s all said and done, all of the above is just math and numbers, the games still have to be played. If Coach Skalde and the Cyclones can find the consistent play we feel they are capable of, They Cyclones should play at least a few more games into April.
We’ll have more regarding Coach Skalde and consistency in an upcoming post. I asked him what it would take for the Cyclones to find consistent efforts at a recent Cyclones’ Coach’s Show. Once the podcast is posted at Cycloneshockey.com we’ll weigh in with our thoughts on his response.
Other news and notes…
When Florida comes to town for a 3 game set starting Wednesday night, they will no doubt bring along their uptempo transition game. The Cyclones frustrated the Everblades during their trip to Florida and if They’re to do it again they’ll have to do it without Bryan O’Hanely who is still on assignment with Portland.
The Cyclones will have the services of Mathieu Aubin who has returned after a brief call up to the Lake Erie Monsters.
Marc Cheverie has been recalled to Rochester. It’s being reported that Amerks’ net minder Jacob Markstrom is out with a knee issue that isn’t serious but will require surgery but there is no time table set yet on when it will occur. Barring a move by the Panthers or Rochester odds are that Cheverie will be gone for at least while. This will give Chet Pickard the opportunity to prove what a 1st round net minder can do.
The Cyclones received permission from Florida/Rochester to deal Chris Clackson to Greenville for Forward Paul McIlveen. McIlveen will bring more experience into the locker room, but it’s hard to say if he can provide an instant jump start to the offense. Cyclones’ fans may remember McIlveen from the 07-08 South Carolina Stingrays and the 08-09 Elmira Jackals. His best season as a pro was 08-09 when he put up 55pts in 64 games.