After 4 games the Cyclones have earned 4 points which places them in 3rd place in the North Division and 5th in the Eastern Conference. It’s still very early so there’s not much point in putting too much concern into the placings and with the Team improving from game to game there is no reason the Boys won’t have more wins than loses in the near future.
If there wasn’t already enough pressure on Coach Skalde to continue the success the Cyclones enjoyed under Chuck Weber, the ante was just raised as prohockeynews.com picked the Cyclones to win the North Division and repeat as Kelly Cup Champions. Time will tell if Coach Skalde can make this prediction come to fruition, but I for one prefer to be the underdog and over achieve than to be the favorite and..well, I don’t even want to think about that. It’s hard to say how things will shake out after just playing a few games but it’s no doubt the Cyclones are on the short list of favorites simply based on the battle tested core of returning players and solid goal tending.
The Cyclones will see the rest of the North Division this weekend as they head to Toledo on Friday before Their home opener at USBA on Saturday. While I’ll be looking forward to seeing the 2010 Banner get raised to the rafters I’ll be just as interested in seeing the Wheeling Nailers in person. After the 1st few games Wheeling appears to be rolling, Toledo seems to be faltering and the Cyclones and Kalamazoo played in 2 very tight contests, seeing the final 2 North Division opponents could give us a good idea of where the Boys stand; at least for the early Season.
News and Notes…
– The Cyclones released JC Sawyer this week. Sawyer was the 2010 ECHL Defenseman of the Year. There is no doubt the guy has the ability to put up points but the scouting reports on him indicate that he is a defensive question mark. I can’t help but wonder if Sawyer was brought in as an experiment; was his defensive ability questioned because of the systems he’s played in or was he really a liability? I can only guess as to why he was released but my observations from training camp didn’t put my worries about his defensive ability to rest.
– While JC Sawyer was heading out, Carl Hudson was heading in. Hudson was signed to an entry level contract over the summer by the Florida Panthers. He put up decent numbers at the collegiate level and is an open book at the pro level at this point. His potential may have impressed the Panthers enough to earn an entry level deal, but getting assigned to Cincinnati indicates that at this point it’s still just potential. He has a gritty side to him as well apparently as letsgoamerks.com wrote over the summer after the signing. After reading letsgoamerks.com and the associated comments, I’m interested in seeing this kid, to see if he can actually play and manage to keep his cool.
– Jeremy Smith is on his way back to Milwaukee this week but there is no need for Justin Axelson (or any other EBUG) to be ready to hop on the bus with the boys as they head to Toledo since Predators 2008 1st round draft pick Chet Pickard will be on his way here. This move appears very similar to the move that saw Smith spend time in Milwaukee while Mark Dekanich was sent down. Pickard has been struggling in the early season so some time in Cincinnati shuld give him time to work on some things and possibly give him some added motivation to perform at a high level. Pickard was a guy I was hoping to see last season but he out played Smith during training camp. If Chet comes down with the right attitude, it could be a short stay and be lights out for the opposition. The downside to the move is that Kelly Cup Playoff Co-MVP Jeremy Smith will most likely not be in the pipes on Saturday Night for the Banner raising. Although I’m sure if Jeremy gets some AHL playing time he’ll be just fine with the decision.