Archive for March, 2010

As I sit here typing up this latest entry I am also preparing to listen to John “The Hammer” Hamel call the last game the Boys will play at the Cambria War Memorial this season and probably the foreseeable future. It really is the end an era, for Johnstown and the ECHL. I was lucky enough to take a road trip to Johnstown during the 2008 Kelly Cup Championship Season; from pre-game beers and Baby Huey’s at Scotts by Dam (the taco’s are something else too)  to taking in a game at the fabled War Memorial, the city left quite an impression on me. I think taking in a game in Johnstown for any hockey fan, especially those with an affinity for the minor leagues. I was really hoping to make it back for one last hurrah but it didn’t work out. As Cyclones fans we know what it is like to lose our team so I hope to see hockey’s return to Cambria County sooner rather than later. Here is a link to a good article on hockey’s history and current situation in Johnstown.

The Boys now find themselves chasing the Division Title after giving up 2 points to Kalamazoo last night. Luckily, the ‘Clones have one more shot at the Wings, but they will still need some help from Toledo if they are to raise another Division Banner.

Last night’s game saw the return of Kevin Roeder and Matt Pierce. Both looked solid in their returns, Roeder had several good hits and Pierce was in and around the net. It’s good to see them back at this point to get a few games in before the Playoffs to shake the rust off.

In other news from last night, Curtis Sanford was injured during Hamilton’s game at Abbotsford. It will likely mean that Robert Mayer will be getting recalled. During the pre-game interview from Johnstown Chuck indicated the injury to Sanford was of the 7 to 10 day variety. The game in Abbotsford saw former Cyclone David Desharnais net 2 goals and included a rather humorous meltdown by Abbotford’s head coach.

It’s too early to guess at the playoff match-ups but it’s never too early speculate at the playoff roster which is due on April 5th. The ECHL hasn’t announced the rules for the 2010 playoff rosters yet but they haven’t changed the past few seasons so here is what we can expect:

Kelly Cup Playoff Roster
Requirements, Guidelines

April 6, 2009

PRINCETON, N.J. – Here are the roster requirements and guidelines for the Kelly Cup Playoffs as outlined in the 2008-09 Playing Manual issued to all ECHL coaches.

Amateur players who have completed a full season of college or junior hockey during the 2008-09 season can be named to a team’s playoff roster after their college or junior team has finished their season, including the playoffs.

For professional players who have played for any professional team in 2008-09 and former professional players to be named to a team’s playoff roster, they must have played (i.e. taken at least one shift) in five regular season ECHL games.

Former professional players who went back to full-time university status and regained amateur status shall be considered amateurs for the purpose of playoff eligibility and subject to the conditions of amateur players.

Players on two-way contracts with American Hockey League teams must have played (i.e. taken at least one shift) in five regular season AHL games in order to be named to a team’s playoff roster Veteran players on two-way contracts with AHL teams must have played (i.e. taken at least one shift) in 10 regular season AHL games. Players on two-way AHL contracts who are bought out or released from their contract during the season are still subject to the minimum playing requirement. Players on NHL contracts and one-way AHL contracts are exempt from the rule as are goaltenders. Each team is allowed two non-veteran players who are on two-way contracts with AHL teams that are exempt from the rule.

The League Office will decide any questions about eligibility and its ruling will be final.

ECHL teams must submit their Kelly Cup Playoff roster to the League Office by 3 p.m. ET on Monday.

The maximum number of players allowed on a playoff roster is 23. Playoff rosters will consist of a 20-man active roster and those players who are on injured reserve or recalled.

If in the event of injury, illness, recall or suspension by the League, a team is reduced to less than two goaltenders and 16 skaters, the team may sign amateur players under emergency conditions. Goaltenders that served as an emergency backup in the regular season may be used if they started out on the club’s roster as an emergency backup. Emergency backup goaltenders will not count toward the 23-man limit and may play at any time.

When the emergency conditions have ended the amateur player or goaltender must be removed from the roster.

Players who finish the regular season on injured reserve are eligible to play in the playoffs once their full injured reserve time has been completed. Players may be activated and placed on the team’s 20-man active roster with all roster guidelines (salary cap, veteran limits, etc.) in effect.

Players injured in the playoffs may be placed on injured reserve and replaced on the active roster with either a player whose injured reserve time has been fully served or a player who is returning from a recall. Players on injured reserve must remain with the member club unless otherwise approved by the League Office.

Players who are on recall to the NHL or the AHL at the playoff roster deadline that a team wishes to have eligible to play must be named to the 23-man playoff roster.

If a player is recalled off a team’s active roster during the playoffs, he may be moved to inactive status or replaced with a player whose injured reserve time has been completed or by a player returning from a recall.

Questions regarding playoff rosters are determined solely by the League Office.

Basically, Chuck gets to pick 23 total players, 20 active and 3 inactive. One point of note is that emergency back up goalies do not count towards the 23 man limit so the Cyclones could stick with Mayer and Smith and simply use Lee Lansdowne as a back up should Robert Mayer be on assignment in Hamilton when the Playoffs start.

The Cyclones’ roster currently sits at 23 with 2 goalies, 9 defensemen, and 12 forwards. However, Dwayne Zinger will most likely not be named to the playoff roster due to injury reasons and there is concern regarding Jamie Coghlan which reduces the roster total to 21. That leaves room for Max Lacroix and Brett Motherwell when they return from assignment in the AHL. Assuming there aren’t any injury concerns, I don’t see Chuck adding any Junior or College players late as he did last season with Felix Petit.

It should also be noted that Chris Mueller is playoff eligible for the ‘Clones but I highly doubt he’ll be named to our roster. The Milwaukee Coaching Staff loves the kid and named him to their Clear Day Roster over the likes of Ian McKenzie and Mark Van Guilder.

What you’re left with is a Playoff roster that doesn’t look any different than the current roster. With the way the team has played the past few games one could argue that some changes need to be made, however, I lean the other way and going into the playoffs there is quite a bit that can be said in favor of having familiarity with your teammates.

-Mike-

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Lacroix Returned

Posted: 2010/03/13 by Dannie in 2009-2010 Regular Season
Tags: ,

With the reassignment of Ben Maxwell to Hamilton, the Bulldogs have reassigned Maxime Lacroix back to the Cyclones. It seems likely he’ll be in uniform tonight with the ‘Clones, as the move was made early yesterday.

UPDATED: Where Are They Now?

— Dannielle

After a week of score sheet watching and speculation it finally came to fruition, Mathieu Aubin will make his return to the Cyclones, fulfilling Bakersfield’s end of the trade involving Scott Marchesi and Mark Voakes. The trade was by far one of the strangest I’ve seen with Marchesi and Voakes being sent to the Condors on Tuesday, March 9th in return for “future considerations” at which point we all began to speculate that Aubin would be heading to Cincinnati. However, rather than hopping on a plane to Cincinnati, Aubin, instead remained on Bakersfield’s roster and even played in 2 games against Las Vegas. This move had me believing less in the likelihood of Aubin’s return and more in the theory that the trade was merely to make room for players returning from IR and AHL call-ups since the return of Krantz and Roeder is imminent and Clear Day Rosters were due out. There was also thought that the Condors did not send Aubin out promptly until Mark Voakes passed his physical. However, if this were the case I find it very odd that Bakersfield continued to play Mathieu. It is standard practice to “healthy scratch” a player who is going to be named in a trade deal while the deal is pending. What would have happened if Mathieu would have become injured? At this point I think it just came down to Bakersfield having 2 midweek games and wanting to have Aubin active and since the Cyclones weren’t playing it was agreed that Aubin could play but an injury would void the deal.

Regardless of the ins and outs of the deal, it’s complete and I think it’s a great move by Chuck. The Team has a lot of depth at defense so giving up Marchesi, a solid and serviceable defenseman, was easy to do. Voakes, while having loads of potential, unfortunately spent most of the Season on IR so dealing him is more like dealing something the Team never had.

Mathieu Aubin, who has bounced between the ECHL and AHL since turning pro, will be a good fit coming back to the Squad. He is familiar with Chuck’s systems and knows a few teammates (Barret Ehgoetz and Scott Reynolds) so he should be able to jump right in and contribute. He’ll also bring Championship knowledge and experience to the locker room.

Mathieu won’t be the fastest player on the ice when he makes his return to the Cyclones, but he will provide a much need presence in front of the net and along the walls. Several times over the course of the Season Coach Weber has commented on the Teams willingness to go to the front of the net or lack thereof as the case may be. Chris Morehouse can be seen in front of the net frequently, but all too often the Cyclone offense has consisted of cycling in the corners and quick shot attempts with little traffic in front. Mathieu’s size (6’3″ 204lbs) will make him a solid net presence for the Squad. While Mathieu doesn’t have breakaway speed, he does have a quick first step that makes him dangerous coming out of the corners. He also has very good puck skills in tight areas, which will add a net front finishing ability the Team has lacked this Season.

All in all, it was a great move by Chuck. The Team was able to fill a need and gave up very little in the process. With two rookie netminders, goaltending will remain a question as we head into the playoffs, but the roster looks solid and capable of putting a deep playoff run together.

-Mike-

Two short years ago when the Cyclones were hoisting the Kelly Cup above their collective heads, there were several players on the ice who drew a helping of their income from the powers that be in Hamilton and Montreal, including Kelly Cup MVP Cedrick Desjardins, Mathieu Aubin, David Desharnais, Jon Gleed, and Ryan Russell. Throughout most of the first two years of the affiliation between the two organizations and the Cyclones, and to a lesser degree, the third (2008-09), a healthy showing of NHL prospects have walked through the doors of US Bank Arena. Several have gone on to see a flash of hope in the NHL (Greg Stewart, David Desharnais, JT Wyman), and handful others are knocking on that same door.

This year, however, le bleu-blanc-et-rouge is sparsely represented in Cincinnati. Currently the only player in the locker room trickled down through those ranks is Robert Mayer, the rookie goaltender who replaced Jaro Halak in Habs’ practices during the NHL Olympic Break. Mayer, who has been called up to Hamilton on occasion, is the fifth-ranked (professional) goaltender in the system, behind two solid NHL and two solid AHL netminders. Jason Missaien also figures to be in the picture somewhere next year. All four years of the affiliation agreement, the NHL club has been represented by a goaltender, which doesn’t look to change anytime soon.

The only other Canadiens prospect to see action in a Cyclones jersey this year is Maxime Lacroix, the 22 year-old second-year player (and former Stingray). Lacroix has flourished in Cincinnati (22 pts in 33 games), while struggling to make any impact in Hamilton (1 point in 21 games). Presently he is on the Bulldogs roster, while they struggle with injuries and call-ups to Montreal.

Why has the trickle to Cincinnati dwindled? Neither the Canadiens or the Bulldogs have been able to field a completely healthy team, enabling players like Dany Masse and Andrew Conboy to spend time in the AHL, when both could have benefited from time under the wing of Chuck Weber. After choosing not to re-sign guys like Thomas Beauregard, Jon Gleed, and Mathieu Aubin, the extensive depth shown two years ago just isn’t there. And with guys like Greg Stewart being moved out of the system and a large number of the Bulldogs approaching restricted free agency in the summer (Desjardins, Russell, Trotter, Wyman, Trotter, Pyatt, Carle, and Desharnais following this season), the best hope for the Cyclones in regards to their affiliate to the north, is that there is a large crop of kids floating around the junior and university ranks waiting to jump into action next year.

— Dannielle

The AHL officially released the Clear Day Rosters today. According to the AHL regulations only players listed on Clear Day Rosters can play for the remainder of the AHL season and Calder Cup Playoffs unless call-ups, injuries or suspensions create an emergency situation. The roster also include a Residency List which contains the players which can play if the 22 man roster loses 3 players to any combination of injury, call-up and suspension.

Milwaukee Admirals:

Forwards:

Triston Grant, Ben Guite, Hugh Jessiman, Chris Mueller, Marty Murray, Wacey Rabbit, Mark Santorelli, Mike Santorelli, Dave Scatchard, Nick SpalingAndreas, Thuresson, Colin Wilson

Defense:

Jon Blum, Robert Dietrich, Scott Ford, Cody Franson, Teemu Laakso, Mark Matheson, Alexander Sulzer, Nolan Yonkman

Goalies:

Mark Dekanich, Chet Pickard

In Residence:

Reid Cashman (D), Dylan Hunter (RW), Ryan Maki (RW)

Hamilton Bulldogs

Forwards:

David Desharnais, Mike Glumac, Ben Maxwell, Eric Neilson, Max Pacioretty, Aaron Palushaj, Tom Pyatt, Ryan Russell, Grant Stevenson, Brock Trotter, Ryan White and J.T. Wyman

Defense:

Shawn Belle, Andre Benoit, Mathieu Carle, Alex Henry, Frederic St. Denis, P.K. Subban, Mike Vernace and Yannick Weber

Goalies:

Cedrick Desjardins and Curtis Sanford

In Residence:

Chad Anderson, Andrew Conboy, Olivier Fortier, Maxime Lacroix and Dany Masse

So that’s how it works and there are the rosters. What does it all mean for the Cyclones? First, we have to look at the players not included on the rosters, which are Ian McKenzie, Mark Van Guilder, Reid Cashman and Maxime Lacroix; Cashman and Lacroix are on their respective teams residence lists however. Since they are not on rosters or listed in residence, Mckenzie and Van Guilder will remain on assignment with Cincinnati for the remainder of the Season, unless Chuck can work some of his relocation magic. Although relocating either McKenzie or Van Guilder is unlikely. Cashman and Lacroix will most likely be back at some point, it’s just a matter of when. Both organizations are dealing with some injuries and call-ups right now so I don’t think we’ll see either play back in the immediate future. Odds are we’ll see Lacroix before Cashman since Cashman isthe only D-man on Milwaukee’s Residency list whereas Hamilton has several forwards who rank above him on the depth chart in Residency. Regardless, I doubt we’ll see either of them unless their clubs have their full rosters available to them.

I also want to mention that Chris Mueller IS on Milwaukee’s roster and Brett Motherwell is NOT on Bridgeports roster (I can not find the Sound Tigers Residency List).

The Cyclones Roster sits at 20 (10 forwards, 8 defensemen and 2 goalies). Three of those players, Krantz, Roeder, and Zinger are on long term IR. Krantz should be back very soon, Roeder probably won’t be too much longer but Zinger is most likely done for the year. That would put the Squad at 19 active players. Teams can essentially carry 22 players, 20 active with 2 on short term IR. With no guarantee of when Lacroix or Cashman may return, I would have to guess that Chuck would like to add some bodies to the line up for the stretch. Whether he will do that via trades in the next 24 hours or if it will be Junior or College players remains to be seen. Stay tunes.

I’ve received some questions regarding the trade with Bakersfield and I’ve been milling it over in my head. First, there is the question of what the future considerations are, they could be cash or a player to be named later. If it’s cash the deal is most likely done. If it’s a player there are windows as to when a player can be acquired. I’m not positive on this but if the ‘Clones do not receive a player before the trade deadline then I believe a player transaction would have to wait until the end of the Season. I would like to believe that this is some gamesmanship on Chuck’s part but the player that seems to be getting a lot of mention from a fans perspective, Mathieu Aubin, has been playing for the Condors the past few nights. It’s looking like the deal may have simply been to create some roster space for returning players, but then again, based on the roster numbers the Team doesn’t need the space. I can think of reasons of why players like Voakes and Marchesi would be expendable, but I can come up with just as many reasons to keep them. At this point, all I can say is that move has me a little confused, but I’m not about to question Chuck. It seems like he always has something up his sleeve and puts the team in the best position to win.

I guess we’ll find out tomorrow at 5.

-Mike-

– The Cyclones wrapped up their Southern road trip with a 2-2 record. The Boys took one game from Charlotte, played to a split with South Carolina and dropped the match up with Gwinnett. The .500 record isn’t bad but it’s not the 3-1 I was hoping for. The loss to Gwinnett is especially painful after dropping the 2nd game at South Carolina. The Cyclones now have just one game in hand on the Stingrays while trailing them by 3 points. The Cyclones are going to need some help if a Conference title is in Their future.  Luckily for the Cyclones a tie in points will play into the Cyclones hands since the ‘Clones hold the advantage in head to head match ups.

– Unfortunately for the ‘Clones, while They were battling to a .500 record down South, the Kalamazoo K-wings have been rolling. The Cyclones still lead the Division but the K-wings have closed to within 3 points with 3 games in hand. Reaching the playoffs shouldn’t be a problem for the Boys, but they can’t afford to take any nights off down the stretch if they plan on capturing the Division and Conference titles.

– Congratulations to Patrick Prokop for tallying his 1st goal as a professional Monday night at Gwinnett. If only it had been in a winning effort.

– When the Cyclones got back to Cincinnati, Mark Voakes and Scott Marchesi barely had enough time to do their laundry before packing for Bakersfield. The Cyclones received “future considerations” in the the deal. It comes to no surprise that a defensemen was dealt; Marchesi is a solid and serviceable D-man, but the Cyclones have an overstock of D-men and with Krantz and Roeder due back soon there will be quite the competition for D spots on the playoff roster. Voakes is quite the offensive weapon and his defensive play has improved. I’m sad to see him go, but he’s been injured much of the season and the Team had been playing well in his absence but regardless of Voakes’ potential he’ll have a “what if” hanging over his head. Moreover, you have to give up someone good to get someone good as Chuck always says.

That leads me to those “future considerations” we all love so much. It seems to me that Voakes is a bit much to give up if Chuck is just creating some roster space and getting cash back. It is possible, but I have to think there will be a player coming from Bakersfield at some point. That thought had me taking a look at Bakersfield’s roster. The name that jumps out at me is, of course, Mathieu Aubin. Aubin, a part of the 2008 Kelly Cup Squad made the move out wast to start the season and I think he would make a great addition to this years team. Mathieu may not be the most fleet of foot player out there but he is good along the wall and more importantly in front of the net, not to mention he has pretty good hands. I love the energy that Morehouse brings and he is certainly has no issue playing in the dirty areas of the ice but he lacks the finishing touch that someone like Aubin would bring. Will he be involved in the deal? Time will tell. I would certainly like to to see him back in a Cyclones sweater…

– The ECHL trade deadline is just days away at this point so the question remains if Chuck will make any other moves. My guess is we’ll know more tomorrow once the AHL announces the Clear Day Rosters.  Early word out of Milwaukee is that Ian Mckenzie, Mark Van Guilder and Reid Cashman will not make the Admirals list (also left off the list was Ryan Maki, who played for the Kelly Cup Championship Squad. I’m not sure the status of his contract or whether of not he can be assigned here.) Chris Mueller is speculated to make the Admirals Clear Day Roster which is great for him and not so great for us. None of this is final until the AHL officailly releases the rosters tomorrow but it is possible that moving Voakes and Marchesi was just to make room for McKenzie, Van Guilder and Cashman but I’m going to keep my fingers crossed about that Mathieu Aubin. I’ll update tomorrow with the official Clear Day Rosters for Milwaukee and Hamilton.

– Things seem to be going pretty well in Bridgeport for Brett Motherwell. The ECHL posted a nice article on him. Here’s a link to the full article from ctpost.com.

-Mike-

The NHL trade dead line has come and gone and as expected it didn’t effect us very much, if at all. Here is what we know:

Montreal did not make a move with either Carey Price or Jaroslav Halak. That means the Cyclones’ goal tandem of Jeremy Smith and Robert Mayer will remain intact. I think that is good news for Cyclones fans. Smith and Mayer have had their growing pains, but have been maturing to the pro game quite well. I think the tandem, when combined with the stinginess of the Team’s defense, is quite capable of a playoff run.

The Canadien’s also sent Matt D’Agostini to St. Louis for Aaron Palushaj. This move shouldn’t have any impact on the Cyclones. D’Agostini has spent much of the season bouncing back and forth between Montreal and Hamilton with no trickle down effect on the Cyclones roster. So even though Pulushaj has been assigned to Hamilton there is no reason it will effect the rosters any differently.

– The Bulldogs have also received center Olivier Fortier, who was Montreal’s 3rd round pick in the 2007 draft. Fortier had been playing in the QMJHL up until this point so he is a new face to the mix. There is no word as of yet on whether this will effect the ‘Clones in anyway.

On the Nashville/Milwaukee side of things…

– The Preds didn’t make any major moves but they did acquire some depth. The picked up forwards Dustin Boyd from Calgary for a 4th round pick in the 2010 draft. This shouldn’t cause any player movement since Ryan Jones was claimed by Edmonton after being waived by the Preds. Nashville also acquired defenseman Denis Grebeshkov from Edmonton for a 2010 2nd round pick.

– The addition of Grebeshkov will likely mean the reassignment of a few D-men. The Preds have already assigned Alexander Sulzer and Cody Franson to the Admirals. The move makes Reid Cashman Milwaukee’s 8th defensemen and according to the guys over at the Admirals Short Shifts blog likely means Reid will be Cincy bound.

– In a message relayed from the Short Shift guys via twitter, Admirals forward Dave Scatchard is going to be returning to the line up very soon which would likely send Mark Van Guilder back to the Cyclones.

-Mike-