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Hey, remember this guy?

Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

Maybe this will refresh your memory…

(Photo courtesy of Kara Stabler)

Remember how he wouldn’t play in the NHL? Or probably even be effective at the AHL level? He’s too small. Has that stopped David Desharnais once?

He was undrafted, likely for that reason, but would go 126-248-374 in 199 games with Chicoutimi of the QMJHL.

And then he came to Cincinnati. Remember that? 29-77-106 in 68 games, 33 points in 22 playoff games, and I’m pretty sure a lot of hardware has his name on it from that year.

Then he  left us for the greener pastures of the American Hockey League, just as we expected any guy who’d throw up 106 points in the ECHL would, and in his first two years with the Bulldogs, the Little Engine Who Could had 136 points in 137 games. He broke the Bulldogs’ single-season point record in 2010. He was called up from Hamilton to play his first game with the Montreal Canadiens, rode in a limo from Hamilton to Pittsburgh for that game, and while he didn’t do much in his short stint with the Habs, it was proof of what we already knew: this kid was good.

This year started with another reassignment to Hamilton, and in his 35 games with the baby Habs, he put up 45 points. So long, Desharnais, the NHL has called for real this time. In eighteen games with the Canadiens this season, Desharnais has 5 goals and 6 assists. Last night against the Maple Leafs he showed poise, patience, and the experience of a man with more than 24 games of NHL experience.

Montreal can’t get enough of him. And honestly, we can’t blame them. We couldn’t either.

“Davey’s awesome,” confirmed Pouliot, who has played left wing alongside Desharnais since the speedy pivot was called up from Hamilton on New Year’s Eve. “When he first got called up he was so happy. He kept talking about how excited he was to be in the NHL and to be a Montreal Canadien and now he’s doing more than ever.”

“He’s a small player, but he never hesitates to go into high traffic areas. For sure he’s not going to play like [Milan] Lucic or a big guy like that, but he plays with no fear out there,” added [Habs head coach Jacques Martin]. “I have complete confidence that that’s the type of game David is going to bring for us.”

“It’s amazing. Sometimes I don’t even realize what’s happening,” explained the diminutive center with a grin. “At the same time, I have to keep performing well and I think I’m starting to hit my stride. I have confidence in myself. It’s a psychological thing I guess, but after I scored that first goal [on January 12] everything has gone well and I’ve just kept working and now here I am,” he marveled. “But the toughest part isn’t getting here; it’s staying here. I want to stay here and I’m going to work my [butt] off to make sure I do.”

— “Rave Reviews

He was told a few weeks ago to find a permanent place of residence. David Desharnais has, through blue collar hard work, through battling all night every night, earned his place in the NHL.

But he’ll never play in the NHL.

– 2008 Kelly Cup MVP Cedrick Desjardins, pulling backup duty for the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning while netminder Mike Smith is out, finally saw his first NHL action in a 4-1 win over his former employer, the Montreal Canadiens. He turned aside 27 of 28 shots in the victory; his one goal against was by former Hamilton teammate Max Pacioretty.

– Speaking of Hamilton, David Desharnais continues to rewrite the recordbooks. After being named AHL Player of the Week, he picked up 3 assists in last night’s win over Lake Erie to take sole possession of second place in all-time Bulldogs scoring. In his two-plus seasons with the Dogs, he has 182 points. He trails Corey Locke’s record by 47 points.

– 2010 Cup co-MVP Robert Mayer is now acting as the Dogs’ #1 netminder as Curtis Sanford is out with another injury. He is 7-6-2 with a 3.09 GAA.

– Chris Mueller, of early 2009-10 glory and member of our Christmas wishlist, was signed by the Nashville Predators and thrust into duty on Tuesday night. He played just over three minutes and was a -1. Jim Diamond over at Examiner.com’s writeup on Mueller: http://exm.nr/ftmsoK

Now three exciting weeks into the 2010-11 season, we’d like to start what hopes to  be a weekly catch-up with some Cyclones alumni now playing elsewhere. Have a request? Let us know!

– 2010 Kelly Cup co-MVP Robert Mayer was thrown into the fire as the starter in Hamilton, and has become the Bulldogs’ starting goaltender in the absence of starter Curtis Sanford, out with a larynx fracture. Mayer is 3-2-0-1 with a 2.94 GAA and 0.878 SPCT. He should return soon to the backup position as Sanford returns.

– 2008 phenom David Desharnais has not lost a step and has picked up where he left off last year; in 7 games with the Hamilton Bulldogs, he has 3-7-10, good for 12th in the AHL.

– 2008 Cup MVP Cedrick Desjardins is 2-2 with Norfolk with a 2.02 GAA and 0.922 SPCT. After an offseason trade he has settled into the Tampa system as their #3 goaltender. And look how much he’s grown up!

– The little big guy, Jean-Michel Daoust, is now with the Houston Aeros after signing a two-way with the Minnesota Wild in the offseason. He has five points through seven games.

Dustin Sproat has 5-12-17 through 15 games with Nottingham (England) — and 35 penalty minutes?

– 2002-03 forward and Miami product Evan Cheverie – brother of current goaltender Marc Cheverie – has 16 points in 14 games with Lillehammer (Norway).

-Dannielle

Recently, I had the opportunity to catch up briefly with Cyclones captain Barret Ehgoetz and find out a little about his offseason routine, and his thoughts on the new coaching staff!

CYCWORDS: What kind of summer routine do you have? Do you do mostly off ice or on ice workouts to keep in shape? And where did/do you spend your summer?
BARRET EHGOETZ: I like to stick to off ice workout for the majority of the summer. Especially after a long playoff run you need to take some time off to let your body recover. I like to get back on the ice about a month before training camp. I’ve spent a lot of my summer here in Cincinnati, but have returned to my hometown in Canada for a few trips. I also made trips to Orlando, Montreal, Toronto and France. So it’s been a busy summer to say the least.

CYCWORDS: What do you know about the new coaching staff? Have you met them? What do you think of them so far? Optimistic?
EHGOETZ: I have had a chance to spend some time with the new coaching staff and I’m looking forward to getting the season started with them. Obviously every coach has their own style so things will be different. However, they both seem keen about getting things going and are very excited to continuing building on the success that we’ve had here over the years.

CYCWORDS: Was playing anywhere else an option? A lot of guys are going overseas – did you ever consider that?
EHGOETZ: Over the years I have considered playing other places and have had offers to play overseas. For one reason or another I have decided to take a pass. I’m married and we have a house here in Cincinnati so unless the new coaches trade me, it’s pretty safe to say that I’m not running off anytime soon.

CYCWORDS: What is the best part of playing in Cincinnati? You obviously like it – you keep coming back for more!
EHGOETZ: I think the best part of playing in Cincinnati for me is the relationships that I have built with the people here over the years. From teammates and coaches to fans and the staff and management at U.S. Bank Arena it has been great. And I like winning too.

– Dannielle

Just about a month remains until AHL camps disperse and the ECHL fires the engines to begin the new year. At Great American Ballpark, the Reds are winding down a successful regular season (for the first time in, uh, a while) and they’ve borrowed the Cyclones’ winning ways, translating it into what looks like a lock to make the postseason. However, next door at US Bank Arena, the Cyclones are only just beginning their own long grind and are starting to lay down more pieces to their 19th season [for those keeping score at home, the last Reds World Series was won in 1990: the year the original incarnation of the Cincinnati Cyclones were born].

The Cyclones are up to 4 (announced) players with the August 31st signing of third-year Cyclone Brian O’Hanley. Earlier this summer, Cycwords readers voted Ohhhh-Hanley as Best Defenseman and Most Improved over a year ago with a 20-point increase over the year before (28pts in 70 gp). Note “(announced)” because according to SeacoastOnline.com, the team has signed former University of Vermont Catamount Jonathan Higgins, but there is no announcement from the Cyclones yet. He never put up more than 10 points in a season, and only once in his four year career at Vermont did he put up more than five (7, in 2010). As a forward, his stats leave much to be desired. Check out a YouTube video of his Catamounts’ 2009-10 season:

The coaching staff is now a little more solid with the addition of Scott Fankhouser, long time comrade of Jarrod Skalde. While the two of them lack a lengthy or successful coaching career, they both bring lengthy professional careers to the table, similar to what the Columbus Blue Jackets have done by assembling a coaching staff rich in playing experience.

In case you missed them, NHL.com has picked up a few tidbits about current and former Cyclones coaches:

Skalde to put lessons he learned as a player to work:

“When you can enter a situation where they’ve had success, the people in the organization are highly motivated, that’s an ideal situation for me,” Skalde said. “This organization works extremely hard. I’m looking forward to keeping this train on the track.”

Fankhouser knows coaching with Skalde was a good move:

“For him, it has to be daunting to come to a team that’s had such success. There’s no learning period of getting to know each other. It’s straight into business, straight into learning,” Fankhouser said of the coaches’ chemistry. “We definitely think alike, but I bring a different aspect. We definitely have the same mindset, but we have different perspectives that help each other.”

– Stork brings winning attitude to Greenville:

“The ’08 team, we had a lot of skill, a lot of talent,” Stork said. “This year’s team, we relied on work ethic, grinding the corners, and sticking to systems. We were more of a defensive-minded team. We didn’t give up much. We just competed and competed. We didn’t have much skill. We were a defensive-minded hockey club and got the goal when we needed it.”

Check back in a few days for an interview with captain Barret Ehgoetz!

– Dannielle

Leggo my Ehgo: Captain Barret Ehgoetz will be rejoining the Cyclones for a fifth season. Ehgoetz, 29, will be returning for his sixth professional season (prior to joining the Cyclones in 2006, he played for the Utah Grizzlies under then-assistant coach Chuck Weber). In his four seasons with Cincinnati, he has scored 81-152-233 in 271 regular season games (0.86 points per game), and 18-29-47 in 71 postseason games (0.66 ppg). According to cycloneshockey.com, Ehgoetz owns 21 team records, including: career scoring lead (233 points), games played (271), assists (152), shorthanded goals (eight) and shots on goal (696). In his time with the Cyclones, he has been consistently one of the best penalty killers, typically joined on a top PK unit with Scott Reynolds. His veteran presence and Selke-style play will continue to be huge for the Cyclones.

Catching a Predator: For the fourth consecutive season, the Cyclones will remain the ECHL affiliate for the Nashville Predators and Milwaukee Admirals. Last season, the Predators sent one player to Cincinnati (Jeremy Smith), Milwaukee sent four (Mark Van Guilder, Ian McKenzie, Reid Cashman, and Jason Jozsa), and one Cyclones player (Dustin Sproat) was given a PTO for the Admirals. With the move, the Cyclones formally announced their agreement with Montreal had come to an end.

Desjardins bids les Canadiens adieu: After four years as a member of the Montreal system, Cedrick Desjardins was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning for goaltender Karri Ramo. According to Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette, the Habs traded the 24 year old netminder as a “favor” to him. Ramo is currently playing for the KHL’s Omsk, so Kelly Cup Co-MVP Robert Mayer will likely make the jump to Hamilton as Curtis Sanford’s backup. With the Lightning organization, he rejoins former Bulldogs coach Guy Boucher (Tampa head coach), and former Bulldogs GM Julien BriesBois (Norfolk GM).

Who’s in Goal? As of now, Nashville has five goaltenders professionally active in their system, which once again allows them to place a goaltender in Cincinnati. Pekka Rinne’s position as Preds starter is the only certainty. Unless they sign a formidable NHL backup, that leaves the backup position to a fight between Mark Dekanich, Chet Pickard, and new signee Anders Lindback. Seth over at OnTheForecheck has a great write up on the Preds’ goaltending situation, and by the looks of things, Jeremy Smith is likely to rejoin the Cyclones in October unless he has a strong camp and earns his way into a role in Milwaukee.

As we tend to frown upon rumors and unfounded speculation here at Cycwords, we’ve kept mostly quiet on the head coaching front. But today, what had begun as a rumor gained a little steam. Although the formal announcement is slated for tomorrow afternoon (12pm, US Bank Arena), here’s what we know in advance:

The Bloomington PrairieThunder of the Central Hockey League today announced that Head Coach & Director of Hockey Operations, Jarrod Skalde, has resigned his position to pursue other coaching opportunities.

The thirty-nine year old native of Niagara Falls, who played parts of nine seasons with eight teams in the National Hockey League, coached two seasons in Bloomington compiling an overall record of 60 wins-74 losses-7 overtime losses and 11 shootout losses with back to back fifth place finishes in the International Hockey League. The team’s 2009-10 record of 31-34-5-6 was the franchise’s best record in its four year history in Bloomington. (source)

If his name sounds familiar, it should: In 2001-01, he played for the Orlando Solarbears, where a young lad by the name of Chuck Weber was an assistant coach. He also played 4 games as a Cyclone in 1992-93, and later played for several AHL & IHL teams, likely making stops in Cincinnati as a member of those teams.