Posts Tagged ‘Brian O’Hanley’

If you’re a Cyclones fan the final week of the season probably left you a little wanting. The Teams performance on “Fan Appreciation” weekend wasn’t what we had come to expect based on the previous 70 games. We saw a team taking it easy, just going through the motions, and a goalie that looked a little fatigued. Despite this, the Boys created chances and on Friday night it was enough to squeak out a win. On Saturday, it was a different story. The ‘Clones had Their chances but Evansville goaltender James Reid had all the answers and probably played his best game of the season. In Their own end, the typically stellar Cyclones looked rather lackluster and most Icemen scoring chances converted. It was a disappointing way to end the regular season.

However, all season long we’ve heard the Cyclones push the mindset to “keep looking up.” They clinched the North Division title and had an outside shot at winning the Eastern Conference but that flew out the window with the loss to Reading on March 16th. They were assured of the 2nd seed during Their southern road trip so what did they really have to push for? They could neither move up nor down the standings. They could only watch while the dog fight for the remaining playoff positions were sorted out. Sure there were a few guys that were trying to play their way onto the playoff roster, but for the most part the final games were more about staying healthy over anything else.

Despite the slide at the end of the season the Cyclones finished the year 42-22-8 for 92pts. They topped the North Division and finished 2nd in the Conference. They saw quite a bit of roster turnover through the year, but maintained winning consistently. The real turnaround happened on the road where the ‘Clones posted a record of 20-11-5 for 45 points. It was Coach Skalde’s best year as head coach. It was good enough to earn the John Brophy Award as the ECHL’s coach of the year. We sure there’s some of the ‘Clones fan base that are rolling their eyes at this but the turnaround is astounding, and the award is well deserved. Congratulations to Coach Skalde and the Cyclones for a great regular season but it all means nothing now.

On Monday, a click over to the ECHL’s standing page displayed zeros. No wins, no losses, no power play conversions, and no penalty kills; all the the regular season accomplishments are gone. The only thing left is the ‘Clones 2nd place finish which assures them home ice advantage against all conference foes but Reading, which they can’t face until the Conference Finals. It all comes down to the next 2 months, 4 seven game series, a race to 16 wins. Only one team will end their year with a win. This is the time of year we live for as hockey fans.

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Before we dig into the Cyclones’ playoff roster let’s take a quick look at who didn’t make it.

Tyler Fernadez (F) – Tyler was the proverbial warm body. In game he was rather unnoticeable, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it’s not going to get you on a playoff roster either.

Jeff Rose (G) – We shouldn’t even have to explain this one.

J.T. MacDonald (F) – Family ties aren’t enough sometimes. He played well, but given the a la carte menu of players in the AHL that Skalde can choose from there’s just not room for a player of J.T’s caliber.

Jeff Winchester (D) – Jeff was a fill in player and performed admirably. He made good decisions and rarely got himself in trouble. The addition of Foss coupled with the defensemen playing in the AHL which can be added made Winchester expendable.

David Nicoletti (D) – Nicoletti came over from Europe mid-season and was solid for the ‘Clones. We think that had he stayed healthy he may have had a shot at making the post season roster but a foot injury from a blocked shot sidelined him down the stretch. He came back and played in the Friday night win against Evansville but was a scratch Saturday which makes us think he just wasn’t ready to come back and with the way the Cyclones play defense, filling shooting lanes and giving up the body to block shots, the last thing the ‘Clones need is s defenseman with a tender foot that any moment could block a shot and be back on the shelf.

Andrew Condoy (F) – In a regular ECHL season Conboy makes the roster. Since joining the Team he’s filled his roll well and aside from the Nathan Moon incident, avoided the goon like actions that he’s sometimes known for. Also, the addition of Justin Vaive made Andrew expendable.

Anthony Luciani (F) – Anthony being left off the list is probably the biggest surprise of the bunch. He’s a skilled guy but was hampered by injuries much of the season. While it’s a surpise, it’s not shocking with the likes of Hazen, McFarland, Shalla and Wilson all available for the post season.

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The ECHL officially released the playoff roster earlier this week. The parameters are pretty simple; there’s a 20 man active roster and 3 reserve spots. However, they added something new this season, presumably due to the number of players that started the in the ECHL because of the NHL lockout. Essentially, teams got to submit a list of players that were playoff eligible but on assignment in the AHL. These players can join the team any time before the Conference Finals. A full list of the playoff rosters and a more detailed description of the roster rules can be found on the Leagues website.

As for the Cyclones, they’ve currently named 8 defensemen, 10 forwards, and 2 goalies to the roster. Additionally They have 6 players on the “eligible” list. As they’ve played all year, here’s the breakdown from the goaltenders forward:

Goal tenders (2):

Brian Foster – He was a stud in 2010-2011, strapping the Cyclones to his back, dragging them into the post season. His sophomore year with the Cyclones was a bit lackluster. While we don’t think he’s shown the same for thus far this season as he did in 2010-2011, he hasn’t had to. The defensive play in front of him, has been the core of the Teams success. If Foster can simply maintain the form he had to start the year, the Cyclones will be tough to beat. If he can find the form he had in 2010-2011, even better!

Michael Houser – Houser has carried the load for the last 2 months. He looked sluggish in the final regular season game but with the week off before the 1st playoff game, he should be ready for Friday night in Toledo.

Defense (8):

Taylor Aronson – Aronson’s play over the course of the year earned him some AHL time and a place in the 6 man rotation.

Taylor Ellington – Ellington joined the ‘Clones via a trade with Florida. He’s got some offensive upside, especially on the PP. He’ll see plenty of time  in the 6 man rotation as well.

Jeff Foss – Foss missed most of the year due to injury. He was assigned to the ‘Clones just in time to get his 5 games in. He’s a solid defenseman, with good size and ability. We guess he’ll be in and out of the 6 man rotation depending on how his injury reacts to each game.

David MacDonald – MacDonald has been one of the core guys on defense all season. It earned him a place on the playoff roster. His play has slipped a little over the last few games though. He’ll probably be watching more games than he plays, especially given the other available defensemen.

Josh McFadden – McFadden spent a big chunk of the year with the ‘Clones. We like his offensive ability but he’s been a little soft on the puck exiting his own zone at times. We’ve got him penciled in as the 7th defenseman.

Chris Reed – Chris is a solid stay at home defenseman. His play earned him some AHL time and a spot on the post season roster. Stay at home type defensemen become even more important in the post season so look for him to log plenty of game time.

Charles Olivier-Roussel – He’s got size, strengths and skating ability. He’s easily one of the top 3 d-men on the team.

Brian O’Hanley – The question here is, which “O-H” is going to show up? We all know how he’s capable of playing, but we also know how he’s capable playing. If he plays as he did to start the year or as he did in 2010, he probably rates as the most complete defenseman on the team. If he plays like he did in 2011-2012 or he did this season, post NHL lockout, we don’t want him on the ice.

Forwards (10)

Mathieu Aubin – He’s the captain. He’s got a reputation for being a bit of a goof but his ability at the ECHL level is a given.

Josh Birkholz – He’s got got speed and can finish. He spent the some time recently with San Antonio so hopefully some time up in the AHL will make him that much better.

Mike Embach – Mike made a commitment to this team early in the year when he chose to remain a Cyclone even though it meant being placed on 21 day IR. He’s scored some big goals lately. We’re glad to see his commitment be rewarded with a roster spot.

Dan Eves – What more can be said about Eves? Coach Skalde has said it doesn’t matter who he’s lined up with, Eves makes them better players. He’s played all 3 forward positions not to mention defense when needed. Heck, he might even strap on goalie pads if asked.

Trevor Lewis – Acquired in a trade with Reading, Trevor is a motivated player. He’s got good hockey sense and, after missing time with injury and the failing to break into the Royals lineup, he’s got fresh legs. Lewis is a guy to keep an eye on this post season.

Mattias Lindstrom – The Big Swede. He may not score much but he’s a physical presence and probably one of the best shot blockers on the team.

David Pacan – David took home some rookie team honors and has game changing ability.

Michael Pelech – We’ve had a love/hate relationship with Pelech this season. We know what he’s capable of, but it seemed to up that his decision making has slowed down a bit. That being said we wouldn’t want to head into the post season with out him. Even when he’s a bit off, he’s still capable of putting some points on the board.

Matt Smyth – Matt has been on a tear down the stretch. Brought in as a gap fill player, his contributions couldn’t be ignored. It earned him a roster spot. And while he may not make it all the through the playoffs, we’re glad to see him get a shot.

Justin Vaive – Vaive’s addition made Conboy expendable. He plays a similar to to Conboy but has a better skill set.

Eligible List (6):

Garrett Wilson(F), Josh Shalla(F), Cam Reid(F), John McFarland(F), Jonathan Hazen(F), Anthony Bitetto(D)

All 6 of these guys are game changing additionsm but the ‘Clones will probably have to do without any of them until after, or at least late in, the 1st round. Also, if you do the math you see the ‘Clones have 26 potential players which means if all 6 eligible players return, 3 from the current roster will have to be cut or recalled if affiliated.

We venture that with San Antonio playoff chances improbable, Wilson, McFarland and Hazen are the most likely to be re-assigned. Once the AHL releases their “Clear Day” rosters, there is an outside chance of seeing Cam Reid, but with Milwaukee in the heat of battle for a playoff spot, it’s unlikely.

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So there you have it, your CycWords look at the ‘Clones playoff roster. We’ll be back with a look at the 1st round match up with Toledo and look around the League before Friday.

As I write this up the Cyclones will be finishing up their morning skate and getting ready to hop on the bus for Johnstown, Pa for the 1st of 3 preseason games with the Wheeling Nailers. I had a chance to take in most of the on-ice training camp sessions and as of Wednesday morning the roster stood at 23.

Forwards (14):

Mathieu Aubin, Matt McIlvane, Garrett Wilson, Daniel Koger, Neil Trimm, Dan Eves, Josh Boyd, Vinny Scarsella, Mike Liambus, Bendan Hull, Shea Carey, Joe Devin, Erik Boisvert, Justin Vaive.

Defense (7):

Ryan Annesley, Ryan Blair, Maury Edwards, David Leaderer, Brian O’Hanley, Chris Reed, Garrett Suter

Goalies (2):

Mike Battaglia, Bryan Hince

The League allows an active roster of 20, however, with use of the IR teams can carry 22 or 23. In the ECHL, rosters are ever changing so the more the merrier and former head coach Chuck Weber was a master of rotating people on an off of IR. Using the 3 and 7 day IR 22 is a manageable roster number. Should someone become more seriously injured in the preseason the team could carry 23 using the long term IR.

Assuming there aren’t any additional additions (which might not be a reasonable assumption) I would expect 1 or 2 of the listed players to be cut.

There are some questions about who will be patrolling the crease for the ‘Clones this season. All indications are that either Chet Pickard or Atte Engren will be assigned by Nashville. On the  Florida/San Antonio side things are a little dicey. The Panthers have lost Scott Clemmensen for a few months so it’s not a question of who, but if the Cyclones will receive someone to start the season. Hince and Battaglia have performed well for training camp goalies, but I’d be surprised if both are still here once the season starts.

My other impressions from training camp, which the rest of you can see 1st hand on Saturday, is the size. There is no question Skalde brought in a group of big, physical guys. On Tuesday and Wednesday Skalde put together a line of Aubin (6’3″ 204lbs) – Matt McIlvane (6’ 207) – Garrett Wilson (6’3″ 206), that’s big, heavy top line. He followed that line up with Koger (6’2″ 195) – Neil Trimm (6’2″ 200) – Dan Eves (6’1″ 210). Also in the mix if former Miami forward Justin Vaive, who tips the scales at 6’6″ 225 and defenseman Ryan Blair at 6’4″ 210. There is no question this is the biggest Cyclones squad in we’ve seen in years. The Koger/Trimm/Eves line really stood out.

In addition to being big, it’s a strong skating squad. The quickness and tempo of practice was impressive.

There are still some a few issues I have with some of Skalde’s systems, long diagonal passes from the defense to a forward through the neutral zone for example, but there were some things that which looked promising. There is only so much one can tell from watching things play out without defensive pressure.

The only downside I can see with this potential line up is that some of these guys might not be around long. Several guys on the roster are on multi-way deals from the affiliates and several others spent time in AHL camps. If they start the season strong they might not stick around in Cincinnati very long as injuries mount up the food chain. Brian O’Hanley and Daniel Koger are already on Chuck Weber’s radar after having strong showing in San Antonio’s training camp.

Unfortunately there won’t be any audio or video for the 2 preseason games on the road against Wheeling so our first real look at the 2011-2012 Cyclones will come on Saturday. If anything jumps out from the scoresheet, I’ll be sure to pass it along.

 

-Mike-

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 Cycloneshockey.com we’ll weigh in with our thoughts on his response.

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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.

-Mike-

About a month ago I suggested the Cyclones would need to win about 60% of Their games from here on out and getting to .500 by the All Star break would be a good start. Well, the All Star break has come and gone, the Cyclones sit at .500 (17-17-7, 41pts) which is good enough for 8th in the Conference. The downside is that They are in a playoff position technically but are really on the outside looking in. The 2 teams chasing the Cyclones are the Kalamazoo Wings (40pts) and the Toledo Walleye (39pts), both of which have 2 games in hand on the Cyclones.

To make matters worse, it wasn’t that long ago when the Cyclones had 3 game series with Division leading Wheeling which could have flipped the standings. Instead the Cyclones won just 1 of the 3 games getting out scored 15 to 7 in the process.

The Cyclones have 31 games remaining, in order to reach the 75+ points which will probably be required to make the playoffs They will have to earn roughly 40pts. That doesn’t leave a lot of room for error.

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It wouldn’t be a season…if the Cyclones didn’t play the South Carolina Stingrays at some point. That’s exactly what the Cyclones will get this weekend as the ‘Rays come to town for a 3 game series. The rivalry, which dates back to the 07-08 season, usually takes place in the post season but with the post season in question for the Cyclones, the series will be a good test for the Cyclones moxie. The Sting Rays currently sit in 5th place in the Conference, 11 points clear of the Cyclones.

Lip Service…If you attend the Cyclones Coach’s Show or listen to Nick Brunker’s pregame segments you’ve heard things like “we’re built to win close games,” and “when we come out strong and make things difficult…” come from the Coach’s and players’ mouths. The problem is, all to often the Cyclones give up early goals and play soft in Their own zone and the game is out of reach. Until there is a hard effort on a consistent basis for 60 minutes They will continue to struggle.

Roster Changes…Over the past few games the Cyclones have seen a few new faces join the line up. First, Chase Watson came over in a trade from Trenton. Then David Sloane finally rejoined the team after spending the bulk of the season on IR. Also, in the midst of call ups and suspensions Jon Higgins and Tyler Fletcher joined the squad.

Watson, who was acquired from Trenton for the dreaded future consideration has performed admirably in his 1st 3 games with the Club posting 1 goal and 2 assists for 3 points.

Sloane, who spent most of the season on IR was a guy that CycWords had high hopes for. Unfortunately, he failed to live up to expectations and has since been released.

Higgins and Fletcher where both called up from Knoxville of the SPHL mostly to fill ins. Both were serviceable but have since been released.

Speaking of call ups…Dylan Hunter has been up in Milwaukee for some time and I don’t think he’ll be back anytime soon. With Jamie Lundmark leaving the Nashville organization for Europe there should be a semi permanent spot in the Admirals line up for Hunter.

Cyclones All Star Brian O’Hanley spent some time in Rochester prior to the ECHL All Star break where he notched his first AHL goal.

Former Cyclone Chris Mueller made his NHL debut shortly after we put him on out Christmas list. He tallied his 1st NHL point January 16th against the Chicago Blackhawks. He notched 2 more on the 18th in helping JP Dumont log a hat trick.

Catching up the success of current and former Cyclones wouldn’t be complete with mentioning David Desharnais and Cedrick Desjardins. Desharnais tallied his 1st NHL goal on January 12th against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Desjardins was called up to Tampa Bay over Christmas, mostly to get some NHL level practice in. When Tampa’s back up goalie was injured it opened the door for Cedrick to dress for the Lightning. Ceddy would ultimately play in back to back games, winning them both. His 1st NHL win came against the Montreal Canadiens.

2 Return…When the Cyclones take the ice tonight against the Sting Rays They will have the services of Ryan Del Monte and Adam Comrie. Del Monte returns after playing 15 games with Worchester. His grittiness is something the Cyclones could really use right now. Adam Comrie, returns from a brief call up to Rochester.

There could be more help on the way…Nashville has reassigned Chris Muller and Matt Halischuk to Milwaukee. The Preds are inactive until after the NHL All Star break so this is most likely a short term assignment. However, if it is long term it could send someone out way. We’ll keep and eye on it and report if we hear anything further.

 

-Mike-

Sorry for the hiatus, but I have to be honest, I’m having a hard time getting excited about this Team. Don’t get me wrong, I will always stand behind the Boys and I knew this would be a bit of a rebuilding year with the turnover of the coaching staff but I’m having hard time determining what the identity of this years Squad is; all I can gather is that they want to be physical. Gone is the shut down, grind it out defensive Team we saw under Chuck Weber and in it’s place is a more open free flowing offensive oriented team. The problem is, the Team struggles with offensive and defensive consistency. Although I must admit that the recent game against Reading offered a positive sign of what the Boys are capable of despite it being a shootout loss. It seems to this blogger that the Team is stuck in limbo between what Coach Skalde wants to do and what the personnel is capable of on a consistent basis. The Team is built much like last years which didn’t set any offensive records but won game in the trenches. Until they find Their true identity as a Team They’ll continue to be a .500 hockey club.

There is still a lot of hockey to be played and the Squad isn’t in bad shape standings wise. It’s just a little over a third of the way into the Season and the Cyclones find themselves battling for the top of a tightly contested North Division. The Division lead could be on the line as the Cyclones welcome the Wheeling Nailers for a pair of games. The Nailers currently lead the Cylones by 1pt in the standings and also have 2 games in hand on the Cyclones. It’s needless to say that 2 wins by the Boys would be huge heading into the winter break.

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Since about a third of the season is behind us and the play of some of the individual layers is something that keeps excited about heading down to USBA, I thought it might be fun to hand out some player assessments.

#2 Carl Hudson – Since arriving from Rochester, Carl has been in and out of the lineup as he recovers from various bumps and bruises. While not a true stay at home defenseman, he isn’t quite offensive either. He plays a little on the chippy side and his +5 rating isn’t shabby over 17 games on a team which has trouble scoring at times.

#3 Benn Olson – He’s growing on me. His skating is a liability but when he keeps it simple he’s a serviceable defenseman earning a +7 rating in 23 games. His real roll is as an enforcer and it’s a roll is one that he excels at and seems to relish.

#4 Brock Sheahan – What can I say about Brock that hasn’t been said before. He’s a solid defenseman will to block shots and works hard along the boards. His consistent defensive zone play will be key as the Season progresses.

#5 Brian O’Hanley – Brian is thriving under Coach Skalde’s more offensive game systems. He’s racked up 17pts so far this Season while still taking care of business in the defensive end.

#8 TJ Fast – Despite trailing Brian O’Hanely in scoring by defensemen, TJ is probably the most offensive of the Cyclone defensemen. He has a big shot but his skating is his best asset although it can get him in trouble sometimes when he gets caught too deep or loses the puck.

#9 Mathieu Aubin – Mathieu’s weak point was always his skating but that is a thing of the past. He has more jump in his initial 1st step to go along with more open ice speed. He’s still physical, he still chirps and oh yeah, he leads the Cyclones in scoring. It won’t surprise me if he isn’t rewarded with an AHL call up at some point.

#10 Christiaan Minella – He’s listed at 6’2″ 210lbs but plays much bigger if that’s possible. He’s effort was something that impressed me all the way back in training camp. He throws his body around with aplomb and has found a scoring touch recently. Christiaan has all the attributes that will allow him grow into top performer at the ECHL level with an AHL upside.

#11 Barrett Ehgoetz – Barrett is 2nd on the Team in scoring (Dylan Hunter is currently on assignment w/Milwaukee) and plays in all situations. He is the Captain and anchor if the Squad and I can’t really picture the Cyclones without #11 in the lineup.

#12 Scott Lehman – Scott made and instant impression on the score sheet after arriving from Rochester. He’s listed as a defenseman but has spent time up front under Coach Skalde. He’s solid in the defensive zone but really makes his mark stepping up to join the offensive rush.

#15 Sam D’Agostino – Along with Christiaan Minella, Sam was one of the players that really stood out during training camp. The kid has wheels and has been a pleasant surprise registering some big points in games. Only a +1 he needs to pick up his defensive play and he could stand to be a little more physical but you can’t argue with Sam’s effort on every shift.

#16 Ryan Del Monte – Ryan has returned to the Cyclones after fulfilling a PTO with Rochester. Ryan isn’t a guy that will light up the scoreboard but he will provide the Squad with energy and a lot of grittiness.

#17 Chris Clackson – Chris is another grinder who has shown a bit of scoring touch. His play may not always be the prettiest thing going but it’s proving to be quite effective.

#19 Brett Robinson – Unfortunately Brett has been lost for the Season to injury. Brett wasn’t scoring with the same consistency as last Season but watching him play I felt it was was just a matter of time before he had that break through game to find his rhythm. Brett was skating well, attacking the net and playing with a chip on his shoulder as always.

#23 Matt Pierce – Matt has been plugging along pretty consistently. He earned a call up to Rochester which will hopefully bring his game up to a higher level.

#24 Kevin Roeder – Despite his size Kevin is probably the most physical of the Cyclone defenseman. This Season Kevin seems to be chasing the big hits a little less than last which will help his defensive play and his durability. He’s not shy about jumping into the rush under Coach Skalde and his willingness to provide a big hit comes in handy on the forecheck during dump and chase situations.

#25 James DeLory – I’m not sure where to begin and if someone can enlighten me as to how this kid is playing AA level hockey I’d appreciate it. His skating is a bigger liability than Olson’s. He doesn’t fight as well as Olson, at least as far as I’ve witnessed. The only upside that I can find is that he’s big, strong kid. He was finally put in front of the net on the power play during the game against Reading where he did manage to wreak some havoc.

#26 Dustin Sproat – Dustin returning to the Squad was a huge addition. He’s a heady player, who plays in all scenarios. He made an instant impression on the scoresheet and while not known for fighting he plays with an edge and isn’t afraid to mix it up. He earned a call up to Milwaukee last Season and with Rochester struggling I wouldn’t be surprised to Chuck give him an opportunity at some point.

#27 Scott Reynolds – Scott isn’t scoring with the verve he was last Season. He’s another player that plays in all situations and with as much time as the Cyclones have spent killing penalties this season I can’t help but wonder if that’s effecting his offensive play. He’ll need to find his scoring touch if the Cyclones are going to be a factor down the stretch. Then again, that can be said about all of this years Squad with not a single player averaging more than a point per game.

#32 Dylan Hunter(Currently on assignment with Milwaukee) – Dylan was acquired by the Cyclones in an off-season trade which sent Brett Motherwell plus future considerations to Utah. While Brett Motherwell has spent all Season with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Dylan has been in the Cyclones’ lineup. Last Season Dylan averaged more than a point per game for Utah. This Season he’s been flirting with the point per game average. He also leads the Team at +12. Initially I thought he was a bit overrated early on but that was when the team was struggling. As the Team dynamic improved so did Dylan’s over play.

Goaltending – After a rough start which saw numerous odd man rushes and a porous defense which saw all of the Cyclones goalies struggle the team play has improved and the Cyclone net minders have shown that they are more than capable. Marc Cheverie has seen 568 shots which is near the most in the League, he ranks in the 9th among active ECHL goalies in GAA, 10th among active goalies in SV%, and has racked up 3 shutouts. Jeremy Smith has spent much of the Season with Milwaukee and has post wins at the AHL level. Chet Pickard began to find his game after struggling for months before being called up due to the injury of Nashville’s Pekke Rinne. It will be interesting to see who gets reassigned to the Cyclones when Rinne returns.

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In case we don’t check in before the Christmas check out this little nugget from the Belfast Giants.

-Mike-

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-

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