Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Who Spells Comets with a K?

Posted: 2012/12/19 by Mike in Uncategorized

Tonight the Cyclones will get Their first look of the season at the Fort Wayne Komets. The ‘Clones currently sit 2nd in the North Division, leading the Komets by 2 points, with a game in hand. Up front the Komets are lead by Brandon Marino (9g-21a-30pts) and Josh Brittain (10g-10a-20pts). Their lineup also boasts 1.56 points per game forward Ryan Lasch; and even though those his numbers could be screwed with just 9 games played for the Komets, the 5’9” forward who has bounced around Europe and logged a few AHL games will be someone the ‘Clones will need to keep an eye on. The biggest threat in the Komet lineup probably comes from Luca Caputi. The 6’3” forward was a 4th round pick by the Penguins in 2007, has spent much of his career in the AHL but has logged 35 games in the NHL. He’s producing at a 1.11 points per game clip over his 9 games played this season. After those 4 players there’s a relatively large drop off production wise which should play into the ‘Clones hands, provided they play with the defensive fortitude we’ve seen for most of the season.

The Komets, like the Cyclones, are carrying 3 goalies on their roster. Ken Reiter (2.88gaa, .914sv%) has gotten the most work followed by Charlie Effinger (3.07gaa, 9.07sv%). Monday Night at the Cyclone’s Coach’s Show, Head Coach Jarrod Skalde said he expected Michael Houser to make his 1st start. Houser was place on IR during San Antonio’s training camp and assuming there haven’t been any set backs the former OHL player of the year will make his debut.

The ‘Clones need to make big efforts on special teams tonight. The Komet power play coverts at 13.5% which is only better than Cincinnati’s frigid 12.6%. However, while the Fort Wayne PK out performs Cincinnati’s, 83.9% to 83.3% respectively, the Komets have been whistled for a total 634 penalty minutes which is most in the Eastern Confernce and 3rd highest in the League. The ‘Clones have just 363 total penalty minutes. Digging a little deeper, the Komets have been short handed a total of 137 times to Cincinnati’s 96. The team that takes best advantage of special teams play will have a leg up tonight.

With 3 games left before the holiday break, tonight’s tilt in Fort Wayne is a big game. A win and the Cyclones will be within a point of Division leading Toledo with 2 games in hand. A loss and there will be a bit of a log jam at the top of the division. Also, a win allows for a split in the weekend series while a loss, would force the ‘Clones into needing a sweep over South Carolina to potentially keep pace with the rest of the Division.

We’re looking forward to seeing this weekend’s match up with South Carolina. The Cyclones won the first tilt 3-2, but with a split in Greenville and dropping 2 games against Florida, hold 2-3 record against the South Division. We were impressed with Florida. They had good size and speed which more than made up for their statistically questionable net minding. Based on what we’ve seen of the South Division thus far, we feel it’s the strongest of the 3 Eastern Conference Divisions. The only weak team in the South appears to be Orlando.

We’ll be checking back in over the holiday break with some big picture thoughts on the Cyclones as well as set up the first 6 games after the break.


Tragically Unhip

Posted: 2011/03/08 by Mike in Uncategorized

The Cyclones didn’t do themselves any favors this weekend and after closing out the month of February strong, the Boys find themselves sitting back at .500 for the year and on the outside looking in on the playoffs once again. To make matters worse, Toledo has a game in hand on the Cyclones, so despite trailing the Cyclones by a point, Toledo’s maximum possible point total is 1 point higher than the ‘Clones.

If you missed out on the weekends games you didn’t really miss much. On Friday night the Cyclones dropped the decision in the season finale against the Wheeling Nailers. The game was lackluster for the most part, that is until the dust up that involved Carl Hudson having a go with Nailer’s net minder Peter Delmas. The Cyclones scored late to make a game of it but couldn’t get the equalizer. On Saturday, the ‘Clones defensive woes were highlighted throughout the evening. The Fish took an early 2 goal lead and despite being able to battle back to tie the game moving into the 3rd, the Cyclones’ defense was allowing Toledo’s forwards too much time and pace in dangerous scoring areas. The Fish took the lead back early in the 3rd and never looked back. The porous defense was rivaled by a lackluster offense that only mustered 1 shot on goal during a 3rd period 5 on 3 power play. The only positive not from the game was the dominance the Cyclones had during the 2nd period. The ‘Clones controlled the puck and play for the majority of the period. Unfortunately they came away with little to show for it. Sunday’s trip to Kalamazoo started the same way with the Cyclones giving up the 1st goal but managing to battle back. The wheels came off the bus again in the 3rd period and the Wings took the match going away.

As the Cyclones head south for a 7 game road trip that may not make the season, but could certainly break it, let’s take a look at the standings and where things stand.

The magic numbers (points needed to reach 87, 1 point more than Toledo, yes, Toledo can potentially earn.) for those above the bar are the following:

Reading – 10

Greenville – 10

Kalamazoo – 17

South Carolina – 17

Florida – 21

Wheeling – 22

Gwinnett – 24

Elmira – 26

The tragic numbers (points away from being eliminated) are:

Trenton – 12

Cincinnati – 25

Toledo – 26


The Cyclones really need 10 points out of this trip to really have a chance to make a run in the last 6 games. A record like 4-3 would be workable as long as the Boys beat Gwinnett in regulation. Even a 5-2 record on the trip could close the door if one of the loses is against Gwinnett.


If you feel like scoreboard watching, here are the games that have impact on the Cyclones destiny:

3/8 – Elmira @ South Carolina

3/9 – Toledo @ Kalamazoo

3/11 – Gwinnett @ Elmira (Can’t let this one go to OT), Toledo @ Trenton, Kalamazoo @ Wheeling

3/12 – Gwinnett @ Elmira, Wheeling @ Kalamazoo, Toledo @ Reading

3/13 – Wheeling @ Kalamazoo, Toledo @ Reading, Elmira @ Trenton


We’ll be back with more as soon a we digest the AHL Clear Day Rosters and some the the other recent signings by the Cyclones.



February was supposed to be moving month for the Cyclones. It was a month that would see them play 12 games in total, 10 of which would be at home. The Boys started the month 2 games above .500 (19-17-7) and battling for a playoff position and despite Their struggles at home this season there was no reason to think the Boys wouldn’t be making a move up the rankings. It wasn’t to be however as the Cyclones would post a .500 (5-5-2) for the month and finish right where they started, 2 games above .500 (24-22-9).

It all started innocently enough with an OT loss to South Carolina. It was a game the Cyclones probably should have won after leading 2-1 into the later stages of the 3rd period but take 5 of a possible 6 points from the South Carolina was a good sign. The wheels came off the bus in the next 2 games against Wheeling. The Nailers handed the Cyclones a 6-3 loss followed by a 6-3 loss. Then came the trades…several of them.

We’ll dive into the trades a little later but if you’re keeping score at home here is how it all went down. On February 7th the Cyclones acquired Paul McIlveen from Greenville for Chris Clackson. Then, not but 3 days later on the 10th, the Cyclones sent Sam D’Agostino and Christiaan Minella to Wheeling for Casey Pierro-Zabotel. Before the ink could even dry on the Pierro-Zabotel deal, Skalde acquired Samson Mahbod and Dan Eves from South Carolina in return for Ryan Del Monte. Things settled down until the end of the month when the Cyclones were required to send Paul McIlveen to Utah to complete the “future considerations” portion of the trade that brought Dylan Hunter to Cincinnati, er Milwaukee as the case may be (definitely more on this one later).

After the player swaps the over all play picked up and the Good Guys went 5-3-1 over the remaining 9 games. The can’t be considered a disappointment by any means, but it was a month that saw the ‘Clones leave some points on the table, as well as give some up to Division rivals like Kalamazoo.

And now on to the trades…

Clackson for McIlveen This was a big upgrade for the Cyclones. Clackson has a gritty, chippy nature to his game but in all honesty that’s about all he has. He isn’t a skilled offensive player and he’s average in his own zone. Basically, he’s that type of player Skalde already has a lot of…a grinder. McIlveen brought some more speed and offensive skill to the Cyclones. He is also a responsible defensively.

D’Agostino and Minella for Pierro-ZabotelThis trade wasn’t very popular as both D’Agostino and Minella young, solid ECHL level players, but fan favorites as well. D’Agostino is one of the quicker players the team has seen in a while and Minella brings energy and a natural physicality to his game. It was enjoyable to watch their games grow as the season progressed. The downside with the two is that their usage is limited. Neither Sam nor Christiaan saw extended power play or penalty kill time. This made the top 5 forwards see a lot of minutes and could have contributed to some the break downs that lead to late goals. Enter Pierro-Zabotel. Casey has the potential to be a game changing player. He brings plenty of offensive skill to the Squad, but more importantly, is proving to be responsible defensively. There were rumors out of Wheeling questioning his work ethic, but we haven’t seen anything in his game to raise any questions of this sort. Casey is strong on face offs and is capable of playing power play penalty kill minutes. Basically he adds quality and skill to the Cyclones cadre of forwards. Sam and Christiaan could have made for good building blocks for next season and it has disappointing to see them go, but solid ECHL level roll players like Christiaan and Sam aren’t that hard to find in the off season while players of Casey’s quality are and in the culture of the ECHL where contracts for players and coaches are typically 1 year deals, there is a lot of pressure to win now. There is no doubt the Cyclones are a better team with Casey on the Squad. We wish Sam and Christiaan the best of luck wherever their careers land them. Thanks for all your hardwork guys.

Ryan Del Monte for Samson Mahbod and Dan EvesAfter making the 2 for 1 deal for Pierro-Zabotel, and with a few of the guys a little nicked up, Skalde found his bench a little on the short side so in a move that was slightly reminiscent of sending Voakes (who was injured for much of the year) out West for Mathieu Aubin, Skalde stuck a deal with South Carolina sending Del Monte to the Stingrays in return for Dan Eves and Samson Mahbod. In the end this deal benefits the Cyclones pretty well. Mahbod’s fills the void left by the loss of D’Agostino, in fact he’s probably a step faster and has better hands. Mahbod Averaged more than a point per year through 5 seasons of play in the QMJHL. He’s bounced around in his first pro year, but has shown signs of what his potential could be putting up 20 points in 32 games. Eves brings in size and energy to replace what was lost when Minella was dealt. Eves is a 3rd year pro who had break out year last season for Trenton putting up 45 points in 59 games but has struggled to reach that pace this season. We were big fans of Del Monte’s game here on CycWords but let’s face it, he saw limited action with the Cyclones due to AHL opportunities and all indications where he would be getting more opportunities at that level. Essentially, the Squad was able to add to decent players for Del Monte who was a question mark on the season, not because of his play on the ice but because we were never sure if he’d be with the Team or in the AHL for a spell.

McIlveen fulfills “future considerations”This is the one that has the fan base screaming, unfortunately it was up to Utah and it could have been a lot worse. Over the summer, the Nashville Predators traded Ian McKenzie to Atlanta for defenseman Grant Lewis. Ok, no big deal there, but it created the need for Nashville/Milwaukee to add a depth forward and Dylan Hunter was the guy they wanted. The catch was Dylan Hunter’s player rights belonged to the Utah Grizzlies so the deal had to be made at the ECHL level. It’s our understanding, here at CycWords, that the Cyclones where basically asked to make the deal by Nashville/Milwaukee. The Cyclones ship Brett Motherwell off to Utah, done deal right? Sorry, Motherwell had all but signed an AHL deal with Bridgeport and Utah knew there was a high likelihood that Motherwell would never see time in a Grizzlies sweater, so they ask to have “future considerations” added to the deal. This is where the proceedings get ugly. From what we’ve been told, the deal stipulated that Utah would get a forward. The player could not be affiliated and the Cyclones could protect 2 of their non-affiliated players. The player that Utah wanted was Mathieu Aubin, luckily he impressed enough in his stint with Lake Erie that they wanted to keep him close and signed him to a deal. The Cyclones probably pushed for a cash buyout ot some point but Utah wouldn’t have it. They also inquired in to Dustin Sproat and Barret Ehgoetz. Skalde knew that Egho probably wouldn’t have reported and felt Sproat was just too important to the Squad so those 2 were protected. Apparently the deal was close to being completed shortly after McIlveen was acquired but Utah balked. Apparently the AHL deal Aubin signed raised some eyebrows and Utah wanted to get verification that Reynolds, Pierce and Robinson were indeed done for the year, feeling that we had put them on long term IR to protect them. In the end, McIlveen was the top performing, unaffiliated forward so that’s who they took.

The whole deal was a mess from the beginning and Skalde feels the deal could lead to some changes to the CBA to create structure to what “future considerations” are to keep things fair for all parties. Here’s the issue at hand; sure Motherwell never played for Utah, but there was a chance that Hunter could have stuck with Milwaukee from the beginning, never seeing time with the Cyclones. If this had been the case, the Cyclones would have still owed Utah a player. How is this a fair deal? As it stands, Hunter has seen limited time with the Cyclones due to assignment in Milwaukee, so how is fair for Utah to expect one of the Teams top forwards in return?

To conclude, it’s our understanding that the deal was created by Nashville/Milwaukee to fill their needs. Also, had the deal gone down a week or so earlier as was expected, McIlveen would have seen only limited action with the Cyclones and his loss wouldn’t seem so bad. Essentially the Cyclones gave up Chris Clackson, who is actually affiliated with Rochester, to fulfill the deal with Utah.

In other news…

The NHL trade deadline has brought another player to the Squad. The Florida Panthers had some dealings with the Washington Capitals and acquired the rights to Jake Hauswirth. Hauswirth is a big kid, 6’5” 205lbs and from what I recall from out games against the Stingrays he skates pretty well and should be a solid edition to the Squad.

Monday, March 7th is Clear Day for the AHL. We’ll have more information on Clear Day in an upcoming post.

The ECHL trade deadline is Friday, March 11th.






As we get ready to roll into March and the real push for the playoffs we thought it would be good to bring up the magic numbers that will give everyone an idea of where things stand. First and foremost the Eastern Conference standings currently look like this:

1 *Reading Royals 55 35 15 2 3 75 0.682 192 165 0-2-0-0 7-3-0-0 818
2 *Greenville Road Warriors 58 35 20 2 1 73 0.629 197 157 3-0-1-0 6-3-1-0 805
3 *Kalamazoo Wings 56 30 20 2 4 66 0.589 202 188 9-0-0-2 8-0-0-2 926
4 South Carolina Stingrays 57 32 21 2 2 68 0.596 163 163 3-0-1-0 6-2-1-1 771
5 Florida Everblades 59 30 25 1 3 64 0.542 200 185 0-1-1-0 4-4-1-1 1045
6 Wheeling Nailers 56 29 24 0 3 61 0.545 185 166 0-8-0-1 1-8-0-1 932
7 Elmira Jackals 55 25 23 6 1 57 0.518 200 200 3-0-0-0 5-3-1-1 1169
8 Cincinnati Cyclones 55 24 22 6 3 57 0.518 159 180 0-1-0-0 5-4-0-1 1020
9 Gwinnett Gladiators 57 25 25 2 5 57 0.500 167 198 3-0-0-0 5-5-0-0 1002
10 Toledo Walleye 55 25 26 3 1 54 0.491 179 206 0-3-0-0 4-6-0-0 956
11 Trenton Devils 57 21 31 1 4 47 0.412 179 208 0-3-0-1 4-5-0-1 995


With that out of the way, here’s how the “magic numbers” break down:

Reading – 14

Greenville – 16

Kalamazoo – 23

South Carolina – 21

Florida – 25

Wheeling – 28

Elmira – 32

Cincinnati – 32

The “magic number” represents the number of points needed to reach 89 points which is one more than Toledo (currently in 10th place but can potentially score more points than Gwinnett bases on 2 fewer games played). The number decreases by 2 each time the team wins or when Toledo (or whichever team is in 9th place based on total available points) loses. The number decreases by 1 when the team or 9th place team loses in OT/SO. When the “magic number” hits 0 the team can not finish lower than 8th and is in the playoffs.

There is also a “tragic number” for those teams on the outside looking in. The “tragic number” is essentially the number of points the team is away from being eliminated. They are as follows:

Trenton – 22

Gwinnett – 32

Toledo – 33

The “tragic number” reduces by 2 when the team loses or the 8th place (currently Cincinnati) wins in regulation and by 1 when the team loses in OT/SO or the 8th place team loses in OT/SO. When the “tragic number” hits 0 the team has been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.

For example, if the Cyclones beat Toledo in regulation, the ‘Clones “magic number” becomes 28 based on the Cincinnati win and Toledo loss. Toledo’s “tragic number” would become 18. That’s the proverbial 4 point game that we talk about at times.

It’s important to keep an eye on the standings to see where teams stand, as the 8th and 9th place teams will change and the “magic/tragic” numbers will then be effected by other teams.

Get it?

Here’s how the schedule breaks down for the battling for the last few playoff spots:

Games remaining 17 17 17 15 15
Games left with group 5 8 7 5 9
Games left with CIN X 4 0 1 0
Games left with TOL 4 X 1 0 3
Games left with ELM 0 1 X 2 4
Games left with GWT 1 0 2 X 2
Games left with TRE 0 3 4 2 X
Games left with REA, GRV, KAL 8 5 8 6 11

So what does it all mean?

For Cincinnati, while the Division isn’t mathematically out of reach the ‘Clones will need loads of help and is unlikely. The ‘Clones could climb as high as 5th but given the inconsistent play that has plagued Them throughout the season it is much more likely for them to hold onto 8th or perhaps climb to 6th or 7th. The 3 games with Toledo will be key and could determine whether the Fish or the ‘Clones make a run for the Cup. The way the schedule plays out, the Kalamazoo Wings are quite the allies of the Cyclones as just about any K-Wings win (provided they aren’t against the Cyclones) will benefit the ‘Clones’ playoff chances.

Toledo will get Trenton 3 more times before playing 5 of 7 against current Division leaders. It makes those 3 games must wins for the Fish. The 3 game series with Cincinnati at the end of March could be even more important for the Fish than the ‘Clones. Toledo may have to take 2 of 3 to get in.

Elmira has been on a roll since firing Malcolm Cameron (go figure!) and hold the tie breaker with the ‘Clones based on wins (25 to 24). The Jackals have 4 more games with Trenton which could go along way towards getting them into the post season. However, time will tell if the Jackals current form is just a surge as a result of Cameron’s firing as often happens after coaching changes or if they’re really making a run. If they really have found their stride, they should sneak in.

Gwinnett probably has the toughest road to the post season of the teams battling for the final few spots. The Gladiators have played 2 more games than all but Trenton. Also, 11 of their remaining 15 are either against teams fighting for their playoff lives (5) or division leaders (6). The 5 games with the teams in the playoff battle will be must wins, any points dropped here could seal their early tee times.

The Trenton Devils are all but dead in the water. While they are good against the teams in the playoff battle (10-8-1), 6 of their remaining games are against Division leaders. They have a mathematical chance of getting in but they have to turn it around now and have no room for error.

The Wheeling Nailers should make it in. However, if their current struggles continue, which is very possible, it could get dicey near the end. Wheeling’s success is tied directly to their roster and with so many guys being called up, and finding success in the AHL, even if they make it, they aren’t likely to hang around long unless they get those guys back.

Reading, Greenville, South Carolina, Kalamazoo and Florida are all in baring monumental collapses down the stretch.

So there you have it. We’ll be trying to update the Cyclones’ magic number for you as it changes. We’ll be back tomorrow to look back at February and weigh in the the trades and other personnel changes. We’ll also be bring you the first draft of our playoff predictions later in the week.


I’m on ‘Clones

Posted: 2011/02/19 by Mike in Uncategorized

In the absence of any serious substance, which we hope to be getting back to soon, we thought we’d take a moment to plug Hockey Players for Kids and their video “I’m on the ‘Clones!”

The video was the brain child of HP4K member Scott Lehman (@lehmodriver) to raise awareness for Hockey Players for Kids. We’re sure most have you have seen the video but in case you haven’t, here you go…

We’ll be back soon with of our thoughts on the new personnel, the trades that brought them here and more.


A few more FNGs

Posted: 2011/02/10 by Mike in Uncategorized

Before I sit down to type up a bit on Coach Skalde’s responses at this weeks Coach’s Show here’s a little more news coming out of the Cyclones camp.

The Cyclones signed Todd Orlando to a contract on Tuesday. Listed at 6’7″ 225lbs Orlando definitely adds size to the Cyclones line up. Absent from hockey since 2008, time will tell if he can still play. A quick look at his stat page indicates the guy collects penalty minutes like kids collect candy on Halloween. Todd was not in action for Wednesday’s lose to Florida.

According to the AHL’s transaction page the Pittsburgh Penguins have reassigned Casey Pierro-Zabotel from Wheeling to Cincinnati. That is all the information I have on this right now. As soon as I hear anything more I’ll be sure to pass it on.


According to Shawn Rine, who cover the Nailers for The Intelligencer,  the trade has been confirmed by Pittsburgh and the trade went through Nashville.


Rine is now reporting via Twitter that the deal involves Christiaan Minella and Sam D’Agostino.


Yes, it’s about time for us to take a close look at the Cyclones playoff chances. Granted, there are still 26 games for the Cyclones to play and if They can keep it close there is a good chance they can be in control of Their own destiny over Their last 6 games which will be against Kalamazoo and Toledo; two of the teams They will be battling for a playoff slot down the stretch. That being said, it will be an uphill battle for the Cyclones.

The Cyclones sit in the 8th and final playoff position. However, a quick look at the numbers show that They are really on the outside looking in right now. Based on winning percentage the Cyclones sit in 9th position.

The Cyclones have struggled to find the consistency to keep them above .500 all season. If that continues the Cyclones will finish with around 72 points on the year and will be hitting the links early. The Kalamazoo Wings are winning sit at .523 which projects out to 76 points at the end of the year. The Elmira Jackals and Toledo Walleye come in at .511 which will bring them home with 73+ points. The battle will be tight and for the Cyclones, it has to start now. By our estimation the Cyclones will need to earn 30 points over Their last 26 games to have a shot at the post season. Is it impossible, of course not. In fact, it would require the Boys to post a win percentage of about .577 over Their last 26. That’s a record of 15-11 which is very obtainable.

Breaking those last 26 games down it looks like this; 14 games within the North Division, 11 against the South and 1 against the Atlantic. The games within the Division break down to 7 against Kzoo, 6 against Toledo and 1 with Wheeling. The games with the South start with 3 with Florida, 1 against Greenville (all at USBA) before the southern swing which includes 3 games each with South Carolina and Greenville and a single tilt with Gwinnett.

The games against the South Division will be key, of the 8 teams They have left on the schedule, the 4 South Division teams are the only ones the Cyclones have winning records against (3-2 vs FLA, 2-0-1 vs SC, and 1-0 vs GWT).

The games within the North Division are more of an open book, with the exception of Wheeling the Cyclones hold .500 records against both Toledo and Kzoo. Given there are 13 games remaining against those 2 teams it’s imperative the Cyclones swing those season series in Their favor. There is one more game against Wheeling and while every game is important in regards to making the playoffs, a win with Wheeling would be big for the Boys simply due to the recent results They’ve had against the Nailers.

When it’s all said and done, all of the above is just math and numbers, the games still have to be played. If Coach Skalde and the Cyclones can find the consistent play we feel they are capable of, They Cyclones should play at least a few more games into April.

We’ll have more regarding Coach Skalde and consistency in an upcoming post. I asked him what it would take for the Cyclones to find consistent efforts at a recent Cyclones’ Coach’s Show. Once the podcast is posted at we’ll weigh in with our thoughts on his response.


Other news and notes…

When Florida comes to town for a 3 game set starting Wednesday night, they will no doubt bring along their uptempo transition game. The Cyclones frustrated the Everblades during their trip to Florida and if They’re to do it again they’ll have to do it without Bryan O’Hanely who is still on assignment with Portland.

The Cyclones will have the services of Mathieu Aubin who has returned after a brief call up to the Lake Erie Monsters.

Marc Cheverie has been recalled to Rochester. It’s being reported that Amerks’ net minder Jacob Markstrom is out with a knee issue that isn’t serious but will require surgery but there is no time table set yet on when it will occur. Barring a move by the Panthers or Rochester odds are that Cheverie will be gone for at least while. This will give Chet Pickard the opportunity to prove what a 1st round net minder can do.

The Cyclones received permission from Florida/Rochester to deal Chris Clackson to Greenville for Forward Paul McIlveen. McIlveen will bring more experience into the locker room, but it’s hard to say if he can provide an instant jump start to the offense. Cyclones’ fans may remember McIlveen from the 07-08 South Carolina Stingrays and the 08-09 Elmira Jackals. His best season as a pro was 08-09 when he put up 55pts in 64 games.