Posts Tagged ‘Chuck Weber’

With the quarter mark of the ECHL season fast approaching we felt CycWords was long over due for an update. So without any further adieu or fanfare, here are our thoughts on the Cyclones 2012-2013 campaign so far:

  • The ‘Clones are off to a start which rivals the 2008 Kelly Cup Champion Squad who posted 17 points in Their 1st twelve games (The 07-08 Team would go on to win Their 13th game while this years Squad lossed). While the Team is chalk full of talent this year, so is the rest of the League so we have to give credit where it’s due, and that is on the shoulders of the coaching staff. When Jarrod Skalde replaced Chuck Weber to start the 2011 season he brought along a more NHL style game (ie offensive). The downside to this was ECHL caliber players seemed to struggle with this type of game and the caliber of players required would play in the ECHL long before being called up. This season, with no end in sight to the NHL lockout, it looks like Coach Skalde has a group of guys capable of playing within the systems he’s coaching. Matt MacDonald also deserves a lot of credit. He’s brought an emphasis to the defensive zone play we haven’t seen since Chuck left. If you haven’t had a time to watch Making the Cut yet, we suggest you give it a look. You’ll see a change in terminology which has brought not only individual accountability to the defensive play but team accountability as well. We know there is still a lot of hockey to be played but while a Division, Conference or even playoff birth can’t be won in October/November, they can certainly be lost.
  • We know he’s been gone for 3 seasons now, but Chuck Weber gave us so many sayings about what successful teams do, it’s hard to not keep bringing them up. Coach Weber always said he wanted his teams to be “hard to play against.” He wanted guys finishing “bumps”, blocking shots and passing lanes, and keeping their feet moving. When they played their game, they won more often than not. I see the same mentality in Matt MacDonalds defense (Shocking right?). Being hard to play against is about taking away time and space, and we see guys buying in not only at the individual level but we see it from the 5 player units on the ice. The next time you’re at a game, watch the defensive zone play; if you see shots being blocked, passes deflected and the puck being kept in safe areas, then you’re probably seeing a Cyclones win. Is it cliché? Of course, but only because it’s true. In the Cyclones 3 losses this season they have been beaten in puck battles, not blocked shots and simply been soft defensively. It’s cliché because it’s true.
  • All but 3 (1 win and 2 losses) of the Cyclones 1st 12 games have been decided by 1 goal. If not for the empty net goal scored in the losses to Greenville and Reading it would be 12 of 13. On the plus side, the Team is 8-3-2 and all of the games were winnable; except for the Reading game in which a late 3rd period goal gave the ‘Clones a chance but in reality They ere dominated by the Royals. On the flipside, The ‘Clones were a just a bounce of the puck away from being 3-8-2.
  • Special teams’ play can win games, but it can lose games as well. Chuck Weber had a formula; if the power play and penalty kill percentages are added together, 100 is about break even (special teams win as many games as they lose), 105+ and your special teams will steal a game here and there, 110+ and your special teams is winning games for you, less than 100 and you’re losing games based on special teams. Right now, the Cyclones add up to 89.2% (9.9% power play and 79.3% penalty kill), that simply isn’t good enough. Look at the scoresheet from the Evansville game, the Cyclones went 0/5 on the PP, while the Icemen score twice with the man advantage. A goal on the PP and the Cyclones are assured a point. One less goal allowed on the PK and Their assured a point. Do both and They tally another regulation win. The argument could be made for all of the games the ‘Clones have dropped points in. The Cyclones special teams…right now they ride the short bus.

All of that being said, the Cyclones are off to a great start. At 8-3-2 They sit on top of the North Division with 18 points ahead of Toledo by a point but with 2 games in hand. The 3rd place Fort Wayne Komets trail by 3 points. While the Cyclones have dropped their last 2 games They’re still in great shape for this point in the season. We’ll be keeping an eye on the special teams play. At this point that could be the key to Their success this season. If they can’t get it together, well that’s a whole different story we don’t want to think about at this point.

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Sorry for the long hiatus ladies and gents, sometimes life gets in the way of the things we’d rather be doing like updating CycWords. We’ll do our best not to let it happen again.

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We won’t spend too much time rehashing the end of the 2010-2011 season. Let’s just say it didn’t end the way we had hoped but when it was all said and done, it ended the way we expected. Sure, we were hoping the Boys would find their groove, ride the play of goaltender Brian Foster and put together a playoff run, but given they way the whole season played out, expecting the Team to recapture the magic of 2010 was too much to ask. The quick 1st round playoff exit was disappointing, especially after the scoring 9 goals on road to earn a split in the 1st 2 games only to see the offense go back on life support and tally just 1 goal the rest of the series. The Cyclones did manage to avoid the dubious honor of becoming the 1st team in Kelly Cup history to not qualify for the playoffs the year after hoisting the cup.

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Heading into the off season the front office had several questions to answer. The 1st regarded the future of the coaching staff. This one has clearly been answered with the announcement that former NHL veteran Andrew Cassels has replaced Scott Fankhouser as assistant coach. Our knee jerk reaction to this move was that it could indicate a short leash for Coach Skalde. After thinking about it for a bit we don’t think this is the case. Cassels, while having quite a resume as a player, does not have much experience as a coach. This isn’t a bad thing necessarily; we can recall a 1st year head coach who combined with a 1st year assistant coach here in Cincinnati who were pretty successful. As a former play it will come down to how well he can communicate the game.

The 2nd question deals with the affiliates. While no official word has been released, the front office is still using ” proud affiliate of the NHL’s Florida Panthers and Nashville Predators” in their press releases so we’re guessing there will be no change from last year. In addition, in a brief conversation with Coach Skalde at the recent Concrete Clones event, he mentioned he would be attending Florida and Nashville’s develop camps. The status quo had us a little worried but then July 1st happened. While Nashville didn’t do much, Florida’s front office was very active during the start of the NHL’s free agent season. It should lead to trickle down effect for the Cyclones. On a related note, the Florida Panthers have reached an agreement to be the parent club of the San Antonio Rampage after parting ways with Rochester; former Cyclones’ skipper Chuck Weber will head to warmer climates to lead the Rampage in their 2011-2012 campaign. As the rosters shake out up the food chain we’ll try to keep an eye on who may be making their way to Cincinnati.

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On the player front the Cyclones broke away from the norm in announcing the signing of forward Neil Trimm. Coach Skalde is pretty high on the Trimm as he enters his 1st season in the ECHL. Billed as a skilled forward Trimm had a break out year last season putting up 80pts (22g-58a) in 60 games but looking at his previous seasons we’re not ready to label him as a game changing player. In his 1st 2 seasons playing in the CHL Trimm did put up 74pts but he was also -33 in 103 games which raises some questions about his 2-way game.  Last year he put up a solid +24 to go along with those 80 points so perhaps he’s added some defensive responsibility to his game.

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In other player news, the League released the Qualified lists on Friday. The League allows each team to extend “qualifying” offers to 8 players from their protected lists, those players have until August 1st to accept the offer. If the player doesn’t accept the offer he essentially becomes a free agent. There are different rules applying to veterans so veterans are rarely qualified. You can read all the details in the posted link. The Cyclones qualifed Cory Conacher, Matt Pierce, Dan Eves, Brock Sheahan, Kevin Roeder, Eric Kattelus, Garrett Suter and Brian O’Hanley. The other advantage of qualifying players is that the qualifying team retains the players rights for 1 season if they aren’t playing in the ECHL. For example, if Cory Conacher signs and AHL deal with Rochester (which is no longer affiliated with the Cyclones) the Cyclones would still own his ECHL player rights so if Rochester choose to reassign him to the ECHL, they would have to assign him to Cincinnati or compensate the Cyclones if they wanted to assign him to their own affiliate. This was what happened after the 2008 season when JM Daoust was signed by WB/Scranton. Chuck had a strong feeling JM would be signed after the season so he qualified him to eliminate the chance that he would potentially get assigned to division rival Wheeling. This is a scenario which could end up applying to both Conacher and Brian O’Hanely.

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Also, according to eliteprospects.com there is an unsubstantiated rumor that Barret Ehgoetz is headed to Europe next season. This is one that we’re keeping our eyes on and as soon as we know more we’ll pass it along.

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That’s all we have for now. It’s the summer so we’ll be updating sporadically as news comes along. Enjoy the summer, the season will be here before we know it.

-Mike-

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-

The Cyclones are giving you one more opportunity to say goodbye to Chuck Weber and get another glimpse of the Kelly Cup. Cyclones and 96ROCK are joining up to have a send-off from 6-9 at Star Lanes at Newport on the Levee. Please come out and support the Cyclones and Coach Weber before he heads off to Rochester to embark on the next step in his career.

The Cyclones will be naming their new head coach on Thursday at a press conference at US Bank Arena.

Need a hockey fix? On Saturday (August 14th) at 7pm at Sports Plus, the Cincinnati Fire hockey team will be dueling with the Pittsburgh Police to support the Ohio Firefighters Cancer Support Network. There will be a game and other fundraisers going on during the game. Check out more info here:

– Although it was never a looming possibility, there is one more team to mark off the Chuck Watch map: Hamilton. The Canadiens have hired Randy Cunneyworth and Randy Ladouceur to be the head and assistant coaches (respectively) of the Hamilton Bulldogs this fall. Cunneyworth was formerly the head coach of the Rochester Americans, who are still in search of a head coach. According to Kevin Oklobzija of the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, things seem to be at a relative standstill on the Amerks side of things. The other two AHL openings remaining are Binghamton and Springfield.

– Per the Canadiens’ official page, four former Cyclones have re-signed one-year two-way deals: David Desharnais, Cedrick Desjardins, Ryan Russell, and JT Wyman. Wyman, 24, and Desharnais, 23, made their NHL debut with Montreal last season. Wyman, who saw limited action with the Cyclones in 2008-09 in an attempt to convert the winger to a defenseman, had a strong season for the Hamilton Bulldogs, earning himself a 3 game call up, and played his debut against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Desharnais enjoyed a six game stint with the Habs, tallying an assist. He jumped immediately to the AHL after his outstanding 2008 season, putting together 58 and 78 point seasons back to back with Hamilton. His 78 points broke the Bulldogs’ single-season point record held by Jason Chimera. Desjardins and Russell have been limited to AHL duty, but have seen great success in their two seasons apiece. Desjardins, 24, the 2008 Kelly Cup MVP, shared the 2010 Harry “Hap” Holmes Memorial Award with teammate Curtis Sanford, awarded to the goaltending tandem owning the lowest goals against average. Russell, 23, has scored 39 goals in 153 games in the last two years and was a combined +43. He scored the shorthanded overtime game winning goal for the Cyclones in game 5 of the American Conference finals to send them on to the Kelly Cup Finals where they would ultimately win in 6 games. According to Capgeek, all four will make league minimum at the NHL level, and between 60,000 and 65,000 with the Bulldogs.

We didn’t go on a permavaction, but we have been enjoying some much needed relaxation time. Have a couple updates to nibble on:

The ECHL wrapped the Board of Governors Meetings in Las Vegas and the Cyclones Front Office walked away with some hardware;  Ticket Rep Josh Burdine was named Ticket Rep of the Year and Kristen Ropp was names Executive of the Year. Also, hang on to those American Conference Champions T-Shirts; the League has decided to rename the Conferences. The American Conference will now be known as the Eastern Conference and the National Conference will be called the Western Conference. Personally, I think they should have called the American Conference the ECHL and then called the National Conference “Those other teams that think they are better than they are.” There were two Division name changes as well, the old American Conference Eastern Division will now be the Atlantic Division and the former National Conference Western Division is now the Mountain Division.

– Assistant coach Dean Stork was named the head coach of the new Greenville (SC) Road Warriors. Congratulations to Coach Stork. He’ll be coaching the former Johnstown Chiefs in their new home. Best of luck to him – but not too much!

– Nothing is official as of yet, but latest rumblings about Head Coach Chuck Weber are hinting toward his future home being behind the bench of the Rochester Americans. Weber told Kevin Oklobzjia of the Rochester Democrat-Chronicle that he’d love to coach the Amerks. According to the article, Mike Santos, formerly of the Nashville Predators, was named Assistant GM of the Panthers (Rochester’s affiliate). Prior to joining the Panthers, Santos worked in player development for Nashville — in close quarters with Milwaukee & Cincinnati.

ECHL announced the players receiving Qualifying Offers. As expected the Cyclones qualified the maximum (8) number of players. Jamie Coghlan, Brett Robinson, Matt Pierce, Kevin Roeder, Chris Morehouse, Brock Sheahan, Brian O’Hanley, and Brett Motherwell were all given qualifying offers by the Cyclones. If signed, these 8 players will give the Cyclones a good building block for the 2010-2011 season. Whether or not these players will sign if Coach Weber moves on is another story we can’t speculate on. Absent from the list are notables such as Dwayne Zinger, Scott Reynolds, Dustin Sproat and Barret Ehgoetz. Reynolds and Sproat have signed with teams over seas while Ehgoetz and Zinger are both veterans.

– If you haven’t heard by now, we’ll go ahead and fill you in, John “the Hammer” Hamel is no longer with the Cyclones. There was no official statement from the Cyclones but it was all over Twitter and was confirmed by John on his personal Facebook account. It came as a shock to most fans and John will be missed. Taking John’s place will be Nick Brunker. Nick hosted the Cyclones Coach’s Show this past season and will have big shoes to fill. Best of luck to both John and Nick!

Reid Cashman has signed to play for EHC Linz in Austria. He is the third member of the team to depart for Europe, joining Dustin Sproat and Scott Reynolds who are in England and Croatia, respectively. EHC Linz is part of the Erste Bank Hockey League, home to Reynolds’ Zagreb team, and former goaltender Grumet-Morris’ HK Acroni Jesenice team. Ironically, EHC Linz is also home to Alex Westlund, who was a goaltender for the Cyclones in the early 2000s.

Also, Chuck Weber’s name has popped up into rumors involving the newly-vacated assistant coach position in Minnesota. Read more and check out yet another interview over at the Chuck Watch page. Please feel free to bookmark that link as we update it regularly with new information!

We’ll be back SOON with the awards results. Promise! Stay tuned!

-Dannielle