Archive for the ‘Offseason News: 2010’ Category

We’ve been a little quiet over here at CycWords, but that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been a lot going on. Since our last update, the Team has added several players and made a trade. Elsewhere, NHL camps have started, cuts have been made, with more on the way and with AHL camps starting this coming week, it won’t be too long before we can start to look up the food chain to see who might be falling our way from the affiliates. Here’s a quick rundown:

The Team officially announced the signing of Jonathan Higgins and the return of Doug Krantz. From reading the press release, it appears that Coach Skalde is high on Higgins’ physical play and thinks he’ll adapt well to the pro game. It will be great to have Krantz back on the blue line this season. Doug, who missed out on much of last season due to injuries, has a cannon of a shot and played solid defense while at the same time never hesitating to join the offensive rush.

The Cyclones will continue to be a tough team to play against with the return of Chris Morehouse and the signing of Anthony Iaquinto. Morehouse, who won our “Unsung Hero” award last season, could be described as a professional agitator. He throws players off their game, and is more than willing to engage opponents in affairs of a pugilistic nature should the opportunity arise. He works hard and leaves it all on the ice. In case you need a reminder of what Mr. Morehouse does best, check out this little nugget posted on the Cyclones YouTube page. With the exception of the 08-09 season, the Cyclones have had 2 players bringing a physical element to the Team; Anthony Iaquinto looks to join Morehouse in this department. I’m all for the having these kind of gritty, tough-guy type players on the Squad provided they aren’t liabilities as players. Morehouse proved he can be capable as a player and Iaquinto’s Junior numbers indicate he can contribute as a player and not just as a tough guy.

Coach Skalde has made his first transaction as head coach of the Cyclones in acquiring Dylan Hunter from Utah in return for Brett Motherwell and the dreaded “future considerations.” From a player perspective the deal seems like a wash; the Cyclones give up Motherwell, who spent a chunk of last season in the AHL, for Hunter, who has spent most of his career in the AHL. It’s likely that both players will spent as much time in the AHL as they do in the ECHL this season. The question for the trade is, what will the Cyclones have to give up in order to complete the trade? Will it be a player, cash, or 4 broken sticks and a case of tape? Time will tell. Should Hunter spend any length of time with the Club this season, he should provide an offensive element that was lacking last season.

The Cyclones have agreed to terms with J.C. Sawyer and David Sloane. They guy that I’m excited about here is David Sloane. Sloane is a 2nd year pro who transitioned directly from playing collegiately at Colgate to the AHL and even got a taste of the brass ring when he suited up for an NHL game with the Flyers. Last year, his 1st full season as a pro, saw him split time between the ECHL and AHL. Sloane is a big kid, 6’4″ 220lbs, who should be highly motivated to improve his game and advance his career. The Sawyer signing doesn’t really do anything for me. Sure the guy puts up points, which from the blue line is a bonus for any team, but if you look a little deeper, it looks like he’s a defensive liability. At the ECHL level Sawyer is -34 for his career. Under Chuck Weber the Cyclones were known for playing strong defense, if Coach Skalde subscribes to this theory, it will be interesting to see if Sawyer bring his defensive game up to match his scoring prowess.

Our friends over at LetsgoAmerks.com were kind enough to post Rochester’s training camp roster. Some familiar names include Max Lacoix, Ryan Del Monte, Matt Pierce and Brian O’Hanely. Also on the list is former Wheeling Nailer Tommy Goebel, who I wouldn’t mind seeing don a Cyclones sweater at some point in the season. I haven’t seen any reports of cuts from the Panthers’ training camp yet.

The Nashville Predators have trimmed their training cut roster sending several to Milwaukee. The former Cyclones making their way to Milwaukee are Jeremy Smith and in all likelihood, Chris Muller and Mark Van Guilder.

-Mike-

Advertisements

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

Now that the Cyclones have a new head coach, news is starting to roll in a little more consistently. Before I get too far into this, a little house keeping.

The Cyclones announced their preseason schedule, which will consist of a home and home against the Wheeling Nailers. The home portion for the Cyclones will be held at Northlands Ice Center and seating will be limited to 600. Season Ticket holders will have first crack at the tickets and the remainder will go on sale to the general public on September 15th.

The Cyclones will be back on the radio this Season. They will return to Max FM 97.7 and 99.5 will carry 23 regular season games  and all road playoff games. Being on the radio, especially on a traditionally non-sports station will be great for the Team. I find it odd and disappointing that 11 of the 23 broadcast games will be home games.

And now on to the good stuff…

The return of Barret Ehgoetz should spell good things for the Cyclones. All indications are that new Head Coach Jarrod Skalde comes in with the blessing of former skipper Chuck Weber and now that Barret Ehgoetz has signed back on, it should go far to instill a sense of confidence in the Organization and help to convince other former players that returning to the Cyclones is a good option.

And with that said…

The Cyclones added 2 more to the roster with the return of Brock Sheahan and the signing of FNG Adam Bartholomay. Sheahan will be entering his 3rd year as a pro and his 2nd as a Cyclone. Brock may not be the type of guy that will light up the scoreboard but is a solid stay at home defenseman that will be great building block for the defensive core.

Bartholomay, has bounced around the IHL and CHL for a few years. He is a graduate of the USHL and played 2 years of Division I college hockey at the University of Alabama-Birmingham of the CCHA. Throughout his career he’s been about a .5 ppg player. The sound bite from Coach Skalde is that Adam is a versatile player, capable of playing both forward or defense, which at this level of hockey could be key given the nature of call-ups and the ever changing roster. The dual roll nature that is being cast on Bartholomay, reminds me of Billy Irish-Baker. BIB was a gritty, hardworking player who wasn’t the most skilled guy on the ice, but made the most of his ability and never lacked for effort. If Adam has this same mindset to go along with his skill set he’ll be a great addition to the Squad.

-Mike-

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.

The Chuck Weber era officially came to an end as the Cyclones announced Jarrod Skalde as the head coach. Skalde earned his stripes as a head coach with the Bloomington Prairie Thunder of the IHL where he posted a 60-74-7-11 record in two seasons with the club. In 2009-2010 he coached the Prairie Thunder to their best record in their 4 year span in Bloomington.

Skalde impressed when introduced at the press conference. During the question period, which was cut off from that video, Coach Skalde indicated he wanted to put an offensive team on the ice,  one that was defensively responsible and hard on the forecheck as well.

Skalde has played for a who’s who of Professional coaches, from Jack Adams to Ken Hitchcock to the late, great Herb Brooks. If Coach Skalde absorbed even 1% of the drive, passion and knowledge of these great coaches then the Boys should be just fine.

Thus a new chapter of Cyclones hockey begins. Coach Skalde has big shoes to fill. From his comments he knows the bar is set high here in Cincinnati and he seems to be relishing the challenge to continue the success that Coach Weber brought to the Cyclones.

-Mike

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.