Archive for the ‘2009-2010 Regular Season’ Category

It’s time for CycWords to look back at the 2010 calendar year that was for the Cincinnati Cyclones and to prognosticate where they can go from here.

The year started strong for the 2009-2010 edition of the Cyclones, coming into the new year with a 19-11-1 record. The Boys used the 5-0 trouncing of the Johnstown Chiefs on January 2nd to springboard Themselves towards the All-Star Break and down the stretch. The Team would finish the season with a 44-25-3 record for 91 points which was good enough for the 5th seed into the Kelly Cup Playoffs. We all know how it all culminated with an improbable Playoff run which eventually saw the Cyclones hoist Their 2nd Kelly Cup in 3 years.

When looking at the 09-10 Cyclones, it’s not about asking about what or who, as much as it is how. How does a team with goal scoring deficiencies manage to compete for the North Division title and eventually win a Championship? They did it with a workman like intensity, grinding games out by outworking the opposition and play soundly in the defensive zone. They may not have been the biggest, hardest hitting, fastest or most skilled but as Head Coach Weber once said at a Coach’s Show, They were hard to play against.

The summer of 2010 brought major changes to the Cyclones. Coach Chuck Weber finally made the move to the AHL with the Rochester Ameriks and Assistant Coach Dean Stork answered the call to lead the Greenville Road Warriors. The move by Weber came as no surprise to Cyclones’ fans as it wasn’t a matter of if Coach Weber would move up the ranks but when. The surprise came in the departure of Assistant Dean Stork. Stork was considered the heir apparent to Chuck Weber to many.

Then on August 12th, 2010 the Chuck Weber regime was finally laid to rest when the Cyclones hired Jarrod Skalde to coach the Cyclones. While Skalde lacked a lot of coaching experience he had quite the resume as a player. As a player Skalde had played under coaching legends such as Robbie Ftorek, Ken Hitchcock and the great Herb Brooks. Would Sklade have the coaching chops to keep the Cyclones rolling successfully? There was a lot of lip service throughout the late summer but only time would tell.

Also coming to an end over the summer was the affiliation with one of hockey’s most storied organizations when the Cyclones parted ways the the Montreal Canadiens/Hamilton Bulldogs camp and instead signed a deal with the Florida Panthers/Rochester Ameriks.

Despite the change at the helm, fans would still have a lot to cheer for as the summer signings and affiliation would return no less than 14 players from the 2009-2010 squad. With players such as Barret Ehgoetz, Matt Pierce, Mathieu Aubin, Brian O’Hanely, and Brock Sheahan, not to mention the possible return of Jeremy Smith from Nashville, there was no reason not to think the Cyclones would be an early favorite to be battling for the Kelly Cup come May. The only real question mark would be behind the bench; would new head coach Jarrod Skalde be able to steer the Squad to another Championship run?

When the 2010-2011 finally began, the Cyclones didn’t come out of the gate flying, posting a 2-5-3 record in Their first 10 games. Cyclones fans have become accustom to sluggish starts but this season, something seemed different. The power play struggled, the penalty kill hemorrhaged goals and the play seemed haphazard at best. With the complete off season turnover to the coaching staff changes were expected, but this wasn’t what we were expecting.

The Cyclones began to show signs of life in November when they strung several wins together and with the return of Scott Reynolds and Dustin Sproat from Europe the Cyclones’ faithful had reasons to believe the slow start was a thing of the past. Unfortunately, the turnaround was short lived and in December the Team began to slump again and when the year came to an end the Cyclones found Themselves with a 11-12-7 record on the outside of the playoff picture.

***

Looking forward…..

There are a lot of unanswered questions as the Cyclones move into 2011 and the bulk of the season. Despite the loss to Toledo to start the new year and being on the outside looking in on the playoffs there is still hope for the Cyclones.

There are still 10 games remaining before the All Star break and getting to .500 or better would be a great start. Based on last seasons playoffs when the Toledo Walleye secured the 8th playoff spot with a .535 winning percentage and 71pts and judging by the current Conference standings we figure 75pts (give or take) should put the Cyclones into the post season. In order to do so the Cyclones will need to win roughly 60% of Their games the rest of the way. The other potential saving grace is that the North Division leading Wheeling Nailers are still in reach.

If the Cyclones are to be successful they are going to have to recapture those hard to play against attributes that last season’s team was so successful with. The answer lies behind the bench with Coach Skalde. Can he adapt his systems which are more open offensively minded to be more defensive?

This weekends 3 game series with Florida will reveal a lot about just where the Boys stand this season. The Everblades are an incredibly offensive team and while the didn’t impress me with their defensive zone play they are quite capable of scoring in bunches. If the Cyclones are going to be successful against a team like the Everblades it will be as a Team and not through any individual effort. Should the Boys return home with 4 out of 6 points it will be a good start to making the push to the post season which has to start now.

-Mike-

Advertisements

You voted… we counted… and here are the winners of each category in the First Annual Cycwords Awards! :) To all who voted, tweeted, and pushed the votes for us, thank you! We had votes coming in from all over the US!

Most Valuable Player
Fan Vote: Jeremy Smith/Robert Mayer, 50% (61 of 122)

Most Memorable Moment
Fan Vote: Game 7 vs. Reading, 64% (58 of 90)

Best Forward
Fan Vote: Dustin Sproat, 40% (28 of 70)

Best Defenseman
Fan Vote:
Brian O’Hanley, 36% (25 of 70)

Most Improved
Fan Vote:
Brian O’Hanley, 43% (26 of 61)

Best New Guy
Fan Vote:
Maxime Lacroix, 43% (28 of 65)

Best Rookie
Fan Vote:
Jeremy Smith & Robert Mayer, 63% (39 of 62)

Unsung Hero
Fan Vote:
Chris Morehouse, 25% (17 of 69)
(nearly a four way tie between Morehouse, Del Monte, Benson, & Josza)

Biggest Disappointment
Fan Vote:
Dwayne Zinger, 43% (30 of 70)

Opinions? Disagree with the majority? Let us know! We want to hear it!

Now that the 2009-10 season has been nicely wrapped in shiny black and silver packaging, we at Cycwords thought it would be nice to have the fans & readers vote on individual awards for various categories across the board. Please keep in mind, this encompasses the entire season, October through May, not just the playoffs. We’ll leave the poll up for a week or until the votes stop coming, then we’ll tally it all up and compare readers’ votes to our own choices!

Please click each link below to vote for each category:

Most Valuable Player

Most Memorable Moment

Most Valuable Player

Best Forward

Best Defenseman

Best New Guy

Best Rookie

Most Improved

Unsung Hero

Biggest Disappointment

-Dannielle

P.S., Happy two year anniversary of our first Kelly Cup. :)

The weekend didn’t workout quite the way we were hoping but we’re in the playoffs and that’s what matters. Before I look ahead to playoff rosters and the 1st round match up with South Carolina, I want to mention Johnstown again. Mike Mastovich, who has been covering sports for the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat, the Chiefs in particular, penned two more articles which I feel are a must read. The Chiefs history in the ECHL goes back to it’s inception and includes some “Slapshotesque” moments, as well as moments marking Johnstown’s longevity in the league. I was glad to read that Johnstown packed the War Memorial on Saturday night. There are a lot of memories in that old building and as I mentioned in a previous post, I’m glad I got to take in a game there. I’ll never forget seeing the Hanson brothers line up against our boys and the look on Cedrick’s face after being “taken out.” It was all a show and Ceddy played his roll perfectly and was grinning ear to ear. Nor will forget seeing David Desharnais negotiate the “step” the players had to manage to get to and from the ice each period (let me just say that it looked to be about half his height.) It’s not unusual for the back up goalie to sit somewhere besides the bench in the game of hockey but Johnstown took it to a whole new level putting the back-ups on a folding chair amongst the crowd. I can still picture Dov Grumet-Morris sitting in the crowd entertaining the youth of Johnstown while the Cylones won yet another game, I could go on and on and I only went to 2 games there. There is talk of Wheeling playing a handful of games in Johnstown next season. If you’re a fan of minor league hockey and you’ve never been, you should try to make it if the Wheeling deal goes through.

OK, now onto to what you’ve really surfed over to read about, THE PLAYOFFS!

The Cyclones ended the Season 44-25-1-2 for 91 points which was 3 points short of winning another North Division Banner. That honour will go to Kalamazoo this Season. I still think the inability to get the close games to OT really hurt the squad in the standings this season. Adding fuel to my argument is this little nugget; the only team with more wins than the Cyclones was Idaho, who won 48 and the Cyclones mere 3 points from OT rank dead last in the League. If there is a positive to take from this it’s that the Cyclones are great at winning games that go to extra time and in the playoffs where only the win matters.

The Boys 91 points earned them the 5th seed in the playoffs and a date with the South Carolina in the 1st round. Odds are the Cyclones will not have a home ice advantage for any round of the playoffs (I can not find information on how home ice will be determined for the Finals, whether it will be according to Conference seeding or more fairly based on point totals.) but for the 1st round best of 5 series I would rather not have home ice but get to open at home. It actually gives our Boys a bit of an advantage from a travel perspective as both teams will have to make the trip to South Carolina on Thursday but the Stingrays will have to make the trip north to start the series. In a condensed 5 game series that will see the teams potentially play 5 games in just 6 days the extra day of travel could be an issue.

As far as the match up goes, many were worried about a match up with Toledo, but I was concerned with South Carolina, despite the head to head records. It’s true the Cyclones went 3-1 against the Stingrays this season but we never really faced them with the full line up and goalkeeping that put them on top of the South Division early on. The Playoff rosters are due in Monday afternoon but they probably won’t be announced to the public until just before game time Tuesday. I’m not sure how many call-ups and injuries the Stingrays are dealing with right now, but if they are healthy and have players back from recall they will be a different team than the Boys have faced previously.

The Cyclones will have some decisions to make as far as Their roster goes. Chuck added two more college kids, Josh Heidinger and Will Ortiz,  for Saturdays game at Wheeling which I think raises some questions about the health of a few players. Since we are rolling into the Playoffs I’m not going to name any names other than the players who I know to be out of the playoff picture as far as potential injuries go. The Cyclones roster currently has 23 names on it and Chuck gets to select 23 players (20 active, 3 inactive) to the playoff roster. I think it’s pretty safe to say that Dwayne Zinger will not be healthy enough to make the cut and Jamie Coghlan is a long shot. That opens up 2 spots in the line up. The Cyclones have 6 players on assignment in the AHL Reid Cashman, Mark Van Guilder and Chris Muller are in Milwaukee, Brett Motherwell  is in Bridgeport while Maxime Lacroix and Robert Mayer are in Hamilton.

Chuck only has 6 healthy defensemen on the roster right now so logic would indicate that at least Brett Motherwell or Reid Cashman will be on the roster, if not both. Adding them both would give Chuck 8 D-men to work with assuming both make it back.

I think the biggest questions are up front, eight D-men leaves room for 13 forwards. My guess is one of the new guys makes it, but not both. There could be some questions regarding health of a few guys and the status of both Lacroix’s and Van Guilders assignments in the AHL. Montreal and Hamilton have had another bout of injuries so Lacroix’s return could be questionable. Van Guiler will most likely be back but, again, it’s a question of when. The only name on the list that is probably out of the picture is Mueller. I’m sure Chuck is in close communication with both Hamilton and Milwaukee in regards to when we might see the players in question.

With the exception of the new guys I think everyone on the current roster should make the playoff roster unless injured. Unfortunately, I think the addition of 2 new players at this point indicates that there is an injury that will keep someone off the playoff roster, and/or either Van Guilder or Lacroix are not expected back.

-Mike-

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-

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-