Archive for November, 2009

There has been a bit of discussion regarding the Cyclones’ goal tending situation and since this guy isn’t available, the Cyclones will be using two unproven youngsters this season. The Cyclones have been in this situation before, it was just last season that Coach Weber was forced into acquiring Martin Houle and then Ryan Nie when both Loic Lacasse and Kyle Gajewski got off to very shaky starts; and while Lacasse did come around, Gajewski was bad to the point where he was shipped out to anyone who would take him. At this point I think it’s safe to say that the tandem of Jeremy Smith and Robert Mayer is not Lacasse and Gadjewski.

The tandem has reminded me of the 06-07  Grumet-Morris/Desjardins tandem technique wise. Smith uses positioning and technique to cut angles and block the net in a similar manner to Grumet-Morris, whereas Mayer plays aggressively and uses his athleticism to react to shots much as Desjardins did in the 06-07 season. That, however, is where that comparison ends.

Both Mayer and Smith are well thought of prospects within their systems but it would seem that Smith would have more upside. Smith, a 2nd round pick of the Nashville Predator’s in 2007, has been the more consistent goalie for the Cyclones thus far. He’s under the watchful eye of goalie guru Mitch Korn, and is here to develop his game for the next level. Nashville has another youngster playing professionally in North Amerca; 1st round selection Chet Pickard is currently in Milwaukee. It will not surprise me if Nashville swaps Pickard and Smith at some point in the season so Pickard can get some regular playing time and they can get an idea of how Smith is progressing in regard to playing at a higher level.

My observations of Smith’s play are pretty positive. He is sound positionally and plays with solid technique, both of which will serve him well in the AHL and perhaps beyond. Weaknesses that I’ve noticed are his mental strength, his occasional break downs in regards to technique, and his reliance on technique versus his athleticism. When teams are able to get to Smith early it seems to rattle him a bit; this is a double edge sword as you want a guy in net that feels he can stop everything but at the same time you want a guy that knows how to shake off a bad goal. When his technique breaks down it leads to some soft goals, just as it would with just about any goalie, as we’ve witnessed on a few wrap around goals this season. Going hand in hand with technique break down is Smith’s reliance on it and his lack of scrambling. There have been times when the technique goes south, he doesn’t control a rebound quite as he should or a guy just makes a good move to get him out of position, it results in a goal that looks incredibly soft since he  doesn’t typically flop or scramble. With each game, I see Smith improve as he gains confidence in his team mates and in his ability to play at this level, early goals haven’t seemed to effect him as much. I have also seen him make some diving, scrambling saves recently as well.

Robert Mayer, an undrafted prospect of the Montreal Canadiens, is also here to develop his game; but for different reasons than Smith perhaps. Most of the blogs, websites and other articles I’ve read regarding Mayer suggest that Montreal have not been thrilled with his progression. With 2 other young goalies behind him on the depth chart, it seems that there is some pressure on Mayer to develop the consistency that is needed to progress professionally.

Mayer definitely has the athleticism to keep the puck out of the net. He also seems to have a good head on his shoulders. In order to find the consistency he needs to progress, he needs to play better in regards to position since his aggressiveness can get him into trouble, as he sometimes over plays and finds himself out of the crease. As we saw with Cedrick Desjardins in 07-08, adding the position and technique to an athletic, reactionary game can lead to some growing pains for a goalie. Cedrick did lead the Cyclones to a Kelly Cup but his play early in the season was inconsistent as he emphasized his position and technique. If Robert can adjust and learn to play position first and reaction second, he be just fine. Until that happens, however, his play is likely to be inconsistent.

The 2009-2010 Cyclones are coming together well, but when it’s all said and done, how well they do and how far they go will ultimately be determined by the play of Smith and Mayer.

-Mike-

If Wednesday’s 4-1 triumph was the teams most complete game of the season, then Frday’s 6-5 victory was their most bi-polar. Kalamazoo came out with a lot of jump and had the Cyclones playing from behind early. The resiliency of the Squad was again noticeable as the Boys answered right back and lead 3-2 at the end of 1. The 2nd started the same way as the 1st and before the Cyclones knew it they trailed by 2 again 5-3. Once again the Guys battled back and started the 3rd all square at 5, when, for the second time in as many games, Scott Reynolds (who had family in town)  received a pass from Barret Ehgoetz behind the K-Wings defense and scored the game winner.

-The game was a bit more chippy then Wednesday’s tilt. Absent from the Cyclones line up was Hans Benson and that may have opened the door a bit for the K-Wings to think they could take some extra liberties with the smaller Cyclones. It certainly didn’t help that Referee Steve Patafie was only calling capital crimes and it looked like the game was going to get out of hand at any moment.

-I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but, in reference to Lloyd’s goal in the second, can Dwayne Zinger move any slower in transition? Again, I’m holding judgment because I really want to like this guy. Is he healthy?

-The Penalty Kill was just 2 for 5 and no longer leads the league.  They still kill off 86.7% of the short handed situations, and that’s not too shabby.

-Scott Reynolds still has a knack for game winners.  In 2007-2008 Reynolds scored 13 goals all season, 4 of which were game winners.  In 17 games this season Scott has 7 goals, 3 of which have been game winners.

-After getting to see Kalamazoo in person, they are an offensive team, but is only truly potent in transition. 2 of their 5 goals were of the power play variety, one of which was on a beauty of a pass through the goal mouth. The goals that weren’t PP goals were all in transition play or break aways. I wasn’t really impressed with their play in the offensive zone 5 on 5. The Kalamazoo wings sellout and leave the defensive zone very early and the Cyclone forwards were able to take advantage by creating turnovers off the half wall creating some really good odd man scoring chances. The secrets to success against Kalamazoo at this point would appear to be puck control, not letting their forwards get behind the Defense on transition and just locking down their transition play in general.

-Mike-

In their first trip to Cincinnati the K-Wings certainly weren’t flying, as the Cyclones came up one short of providing the 3156 in attendance with some Thanksgiving BBQ. The 4-1 victory was probably one of the Cyclones most complete game of the season.  The Boys took it to Kalamazoo early and didn’t let up, the lone K-wings goal was a Power Play tally that ‘Clones net minder Jeremy Smith probably wants back. The effort saw 7 different Cyclones tally points as the Boys out shot the K-Wings 45 to 26. The Defense played well, stifling the K-Zoo forwards on the few occasions they were able to mount an attack. From zone to zone, the game showed what this years team is capable of when they keep their feet moving and play for a full 60 minutes.

-Dustin Sproat keeps rolling, as does Scott Reynolds. When the Cyclones get Voakes healthy and if Chris Mueller returns from Milwaukee, the Cyclones will have legitimate scoring threats on each line; something they haven’t had since the Kelly Cup Championship year.

-Not so lame duck. In a previous post, I raised some questions about Dwayne Zinger after watching him play some questionable games. Last night Dwayne played an excellent game. I hope it’s a trend that continues and that previous efforts were a fluke.

-There was a distinct lack of chippiness in last nights game. Could it be the beat down Zinger put on Lloyd a few games back? Or perhaps the return of Hans Benson? I’m thinking it’s a bit of both. Zinger has proven his value at standing up for teammates and now with Benson back in the fold the Boys certainly have a little more edge to their game. Factor in a little Ryan Del Monte and Brett Robinson (Brett says that his game has some edge and he likes to chirp a bit, but hasn’t done too much of it yet) and the Cyclones have plenty of edge to keep the opposition honest.

-McLean keeps getting better. I said previously that Mike was not living up to my expectations, but after a multi-assist night a few games back, Mike kept it going with a second period goal that I can only describe as disturbingly nice. It’s good to seem him get it going.

-Since the weekday series with Trenton that saw the Cyclones only manage 1 Power Play goal despite 19 chances, the ‘Clones have scored Power Play goals in their last 3 games. The Power Play is currently ranked 8th in the League at 18.6% which isn’t bad, but with the opportunities the Team is generating it would be nice to see the Unit convert around 20% to really make the opponents pay.

We would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. We thank you all for stopping by our little corner of the interweb.

-Mike-

Reports out of Montréal are that yet another Weber product — David Desharnais, 2007-08 Winner of All Things Shiny — has been recalled to the Canadiens. He’s the second one in as many days.

NHL.com has a nice writeup on rookie Matt Pierce‘s fishing habits, and how he’s coming into his own in his first pro season.

 

 

-Dannielle

Cashman — Cincy Bound?

Posted: 2009/11/24 by Dannie in 2009-2010 Regular Season
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Milwaukee received a defenseman from Nashville today, dropping Reid Cashman to 8th — he could be headed back our way. More to come!

-Dannielle

Wyman to Montreal

Posted: 2009/11/24 by Dannie in Hamilton Bulldogs, Montreal Canadiens
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Unconfirmed reports out of Montreal point toward former Cyclone JT Wyman being recalled from the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs. Wyman played 15 games under Chuck Weber last year in a pet-project attempt to convert the forward to defense. If Wyman cracks the lineup for Montreal (they play Columbus at 7:30pm tonight), he will make the second Weber-coached Cyclones product to make it to the National Hockey League (Greg Stewart, 2006-07, being the other).