Posts Tagged ‘robert mayer’

Now three exciting weeks into the 2010-11 season, we’d like to start what hopes to  be a weekly catch-up with some Cyclones alumni now playing elsewhere. Have a request? Let us know!

– 2010 Kelly Cup co-MVP Robert Mayer was thrown into the fire as the starter in Hamilton, and has become the Bulldogs’ starting goaltender in the absence of starter Curtis Sanford, out with a larynx fracture. Mayer is 3-2-0-1 with a 2.94 GAA and 0.878 SPCT. He should return soon to the backup position as Sanford returns.

– 2008 phenom David Desharnais has not lost a step and has picked up where he left off last year; in 7 games with the Hamilton Bulldogs, he has 3-7-10, good for 12th in the AHL.

– 2008 Cup MVP Cedrick Desjardins is 2-2 with Norfolk with a 2.02 GAA and 0.922 SPCT. After an offseason trade he has settled into the Tampa system as their #3 goaltender. And look how much he’s grown up!

– The little big guy, Jean-Michel Daoust, is now with the Houston Aeros after signing a two-way with the Minnesota Wild in the offseason. He has five points through seven games.

Dustin Sproat has 5-12-17 through 15 games with Nottingham (England) — and 35 penalty minutes?

– 2002-03 forward and Miami product Evan Cheverie – brother of current goaltender Marc Cheverie – has 16 points in 14 games with Lillehammer (Norway).

-Dannielle

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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.

Sorry everyone, I said I was going to update the blog yesterday but I was so exhausted from Game 7 and our post game festivities that I just didn’t have it in me. Better late than never right?

In 2007-2008, the Cyclones had one of those historical kinds of years putting up 115pts in route to capturing the Brabham Cup, not to mention every other Trophy in the League sans 2; they weren’t allowed to win the National Conference Championship and David Desharnais should have won the Sportsmanship Award.

This year there were no regular season awards to lay claim to, no division title and a playoff seed that would have them face South Carolina and Charlotte without a home ice advantage. None the less, this years Squad will go down in history as the 1st team in ECHL history and just the 6th team in professional hockery to win a 7 game series after falling into a 3 games to none hole.

During the 1st two series against South Carolina and then Charlotte the Cyclones built up the statistical anomaly of winning had every odd numbered game while losing every even numbered game. The Boys had never defeated the same team in consecutive games, nor had They lost to the same team in consecutive games. And then came Reading…

The Royals came to town and were everything they were billed up to be. They were skilled and had a potent power play that had no trouble capitalizing on the oppositions mistakes. Defensively, they were more than capable and when there were breakdowns there was Matt Dalton in net to erase them.

The Cyclones played well enough to win the 1st 2 games of the series, but couldn’t solve Dalton and ultimately headed to Reading down 2-0 in the series. Game 3 felt like a must win for the Boys but again, Dalton came up big. Again, it wasn’t that Reading was out playing the Cyclones, it was more that Dalton was “in the zone” and even though the Royals had all the momentum it just felt like if the Cyclones could just crack Dalton they could extend the series. They only problem was there was no margin for error.

In game 4, Dalton crack and when he did the flood gates opened. The Cyclones, after scoring just 5 goals in the 1st 3 games of the series lit Dalton up for 6 goals to force a game 5. The 6 goals were scored by a Cyclones line up, which on paper, looked much less potent. The Cyclones leading scorer, Jimmy Kilpatrick, was made a healthy scratch by Coach Weber. During a pregame interview Coach said the decision was made because Jimmy was playing outside of the Team Dynamics and he would be back in the line up when he had his “attention”

In Game 5, Chuck made another surprising decision; not only was Kilpatrick still sitting in the stands, but playoff stand out Jeremy Smith would be replaced in goal by Robert Mayer. The offense continued to convert, putting 4 in the back of Dalton’s net before he was pulled to start the 3rd. Mayer was stellar, as was the defense in front of him. Mayer would post a 29 save shut out to send the series back to Cincinnati.

Oh, and then there was the brawl. Reading was obviously a frustrated team and by the 3rd period went from frustrated to frazzled. The Video doesn’t really show how things got started, but from putting together different accounts here is a composite account of what went down. Royals Captain Dinos Stamoulis began slashing every that moved. Ryan Del Monte took exception and slashed at Stamoulis’ stick, which was being waved at chest/head level. Del Monte was then atacked from behind by 2 other Royals players. At that point, everyone grabbed a partner and the chaos was on. Both teams would be fined, the Royals would have Stamoulis and Kwiet suspended for 1 game each and Cyclones lost the services of Ryan Del Monte as a result of the frackous.

Game 6 told the story of the series as far as I’m concerned. Reading came out of the gate quickly and jumped to a 2 goal lead. The Reading players celebtrated each goal as if it were a Championship clincher. The Cyclones then struck back, scoring 3 goals in a span of around 1:30. Reading did tie the score late in the 1st but he seed of doubt had been sowed. I can remember looking at the Reading bench after Barret Ehgoetz’s goal at 10:26 of the first, the Royals players sat, seemingly emotionless, their faces dead pan while their coach stood there statching his head. Even when Reading tied the game late in the 1st there was little sign of positve emotion. During the 1st intermission, while Larry Courville was possibly still scratching his head, Cyclones’ Coach Weber was making another excellent coaching move. Robert Mayer didn’t have the greatest period giving up 3 goals on just 7 shots so Chuck decided to go with Jeremy Smith to start the 3rd and the shutout streak began.

Game 7, saw Smith continue in net and he continued to stimy the Royals. Dalton was strong in net, but the ‘Clones converted when Ehgoetz found the back of the net on a very nice pass from Dustin Sproat. It was all the ‘Clones would need as they continued to shut out the now struggling Reading offense.

The thing that I will remember from Games 6 and 7 were the crowds. While not the largest crowds to take in a playoff game at USBA they were two of the loudest. The only crowd with more energy that sticks out in my mind was Game 6 of the Finals in 2008. The greatest part was that it seemed everyone was there for the game. Sure, cheap beer is great but there was history being made and people seemed to know it.

Next up is Idaho, who as the regular season National Conference Champions recieved a 1st round playoff bye and have only played 10 games to the Cyclones 19. I don’t want to go into a rant on the playoff formula but I will say that the only thing worse than what they came up with would have been to just let all 8 National Conference Teams in. There had to be a better way.

Here are some things to keep an eye on:

– Idaho’s Adam Huxley and Cincinnati’s Hans Benson could provide some fireworks this series. Although, unless completely necessary Hans should try to keep his hands to himself. Benson plays a regular shift and has potential to contribute offensively, whereas Huxley is only really suited to collecting penalty minutes.

– Where oh where is Jimmy Kilpatrick? Does Chuck have his attention yet? I would look for a refreshed and motivated Kilpatrick should he return to the line up.

– The French express are going to have to pick it up. Mathieu Aubin has picked up his offensive game late in the Reading series and that needs to continue. Maxime Lacroix has been a streaky scorer this season. He plays as hard as anyone but sometime the points just don’t come. Now is as good a time as ever for him to start a scoring streak.

– The series will showcase some of the leagues best goaltending. Idaho will be going with Rejean Beauchemin, who has only played 3 playoff games thus far and hasn’t looked stellar but his regular season numbers indacte he is quite capable. The Steelheads  rookie sensation Richard Bachman is currently on assignment in the AHL. His availabilty could have a big effect on the series outcome. The Cyclones also boast 2 qualtiy netminders, who, thus far, haven’t shown any signs of playoff pressure effecting them.

– Secondary scoring will be key, as it always in the Playoffs. On paper, Idaho looks similar to Reading in that they get the bulk of their scoring from just a few guys. On the other hand, the Cyclones only have 1 player averaging more than 1 point per game, but it seems that every game the Boys get scoring from somewhere. Guys like Sproat, Eghoetz and Van Guilder will have to keep it going, but scoring  from guys like Will Ortiz and Josh Heidinger can make the difference in the Series.

– Special teams will continue to be a hot topic. The Cyclones’ power play has improved lately but still isn’t great. Idaho is converting at  just under 20% so staying out of the box for the Cyclones will continue to be key. The PK’s look to be fairly comparable with the ‘Clone killing just over 80% and Idaho killing just under 80%. Interestingly, both teams have posted 4 short handed goals.

– The numbers really don’t mean a thing. Since there was no interconference play this season, there really isn’t a way to compare the teams stat wise. Factor in that Idaho hasn’t played as many games as the Cyclones and those numbers become meaningless. In the past when American Conference teams would travel out west I could look at records and stats and make assessments accordingly. This season all we can really do is wait for them to play the game.

We’ve been operating off the grid over here at CycWords but with the Kelly Cup Playoffs well underway, We figured it was long overdue for us to weigh in.

The 1st round match-up between the Cyclones and the South Carolina Stingrays had all the makings of an instant classic. The story lines were numerous, the headliner, of course, being the previous playoff history between the 2 Teams. When all was said and done the series met every expectation, going 5 games, with 3 games, including the 5th and decisive game, going to overtime. Sure, it was a bit stressful but once it was over; as a fan of the game…wow, what a series.

– With Robert Mayer still on duty in Hamilton, the Cyclones were forced to ride Jeremy Smith. He didn’t disappoint, eventually out dueling ECHL Goaltender of the Year Todd Ford. Jeremy had a solid regular season showing his potential and why he was a 2nd round draft pick, but if someone would have told me that he was going to play to that potential in his first professional playoff series, I’m not sure I would have believed them but I’m glad that’s how it’s working out.

– A quick note on Todd Ford. He’s a solid net minder for sure, but how the heck does he win the ECHL Goaltender of the Year award over Idaho’s Richard Bachman? Bachman played more games, had a better gaa and sv%, and posted 3 more shutout performances  than Ford. Who votes on these things?

– The FNG’s continue to impress. Ortiz has wheels and a serious cannon of a shot. Heidinger has proven to be a heady player regularly being in the right place at the right time. While the two, have been in and out of the line up, they have proven to be capable additions.

***

If the 1st round match up with the Stingrays had me worried, it’s safe to say the 2nd round series against Charlotte had me mortified. The Checkers possessed speed and skill on par with South Carolina but had the one thing that the Cyclones have struggled with all season; size. While this is one of the largest Cyclones teams in the Chuck Weber era and they look very similar to Charlotte on paper, Charlotte’s game was simply bigger and more physical. If there were any areas in which the Cyclones topped the Checkers it was goaltending and, as the series went on, coaching.

As far as the goaltending went, the Cyclones were still riding the back of Jeremy Smith while the Checkers went with Ryan Munce. Smith, who was a big question mark as a rookie going into the playoffs for the first time as a pro, continued to be the story and would ultimately be considered the MVP of the series. Munce, on the other hand, was Ryan Munce. I remember Munce vaguely from his time with Reading and Johnstown in 06-07 and Mississippi in 07-08, 08-09. My impressions haven’t really changed. He’s a solid net minder overall and can be great when he puts his mind to it, but has a tendency to be lethargic, relying on his defense almost too much on the weak side of the play. Not to mention he has a dismal record against the Cyclones (3-6, with one “no decision” as he was pulled after giving up 2 goals on 3 shots in just 2:51).

As the series wore on, it was clear that the Cyclones had an advantage behind the bench. Charlotte’s game plan never really changed; score in transition, forecheck hard and most importantly, be physical. It worked for them all season why change now right? It didn’t look like the Boys were going to be able to skate with the Checkers for 60 minutes each night, especially of the series went deep so it appeared early on that the game plan was to play defensively and capitalize on opportunities to keep the game close for the 1st 30 to 40 minutes then turn up the pressure late. It worked in game 1 and 3 but after having the Checkers squarely in their sights in game 4, only to have it get away from them before they knew it, it seemed like Chuck mixed it up a bit for the rest of the series. For games 5-7, the boys came out flying early on and it seemed to catch Charlotte off guard. Whether the Charlotte coach was unwilling or unable to change his strategy (the Checkers did score 1st in every game but game 7) it was clear that the slight tweak in strategy by the Cyclones changed the entire feel of the series.

– The officiating came under fire more than ever in this series. I’m not going to claim that there is any type of conspiracy because the boys certainly aren’t saints but there is one thing I want to touch on. The ECHL is officiated by one referee, so there are going to be legitimate penalties missed, but the referee should never miss a call when the infraction happens within a 20ft radius of the puck and the referee should always have the corner of his eye on the bench area during changes and after goals. Also, the whole notion of “it’s the playoffs so we’re going to let them play” is BS. When the NHL came back after the lockout with a new set of rules to limit interference to speed the game up, it was adopted by the minor leagues including the ECHL. More and more, I’m noticing that during the playoffs referees are letting things go that would have been a penalty during the regular season. If the rule book states that it’s a penalty, call it, if not it defeats the purpose of the rule changes. For example, during the regular season, if a player finished a check with his hands high in the other players face it was called roughing. During this series, most Charlotte checks involved finishing high and it wasn’t called. Adding fuel to the fire is this little nugget; during the regular season the Cyclones were the 3rd least penalized team (1138pims), Charlotte was the 3rd most penalized team (1554pims). Now suddenly the Cyclones (202pims) are the 2nd most penalized team in the League, trailing only Utah (272pims). Charlotte is 3rd with 192pims. Perhaps the outcome of the series had something to do with karma…..

– Welcome back Mark Van Guilder! On Monday night he was playing a Game 7 for the Milwaukee Admirals in Chicago, 24 hours later he was in Charlotte, North Carolina playing in a game 6. That Game didn’t go so well, but Wednesday night’s Game 7 saw MVG net both Cyclone goals for the victory. Good Form!

***

The Cyclones will now face the Reading Royals. The two Teams only played 3 times this season with the Cyclones taking the regular season series 2-1. During the regular season the Royals played a very skilled game, but got most, if not all of their scoring from their top line. In playoffs, they appear to be a little deeper with 6 players averaging 1 point per game or more. After their top 6 it drops off quite a bit. The Cyclones on the other hand look like they have for most of the regular season, with everyone contributing, but no one running away as the hands on stat leader.

– Special teams could decide this series. The Royals power play is firing at 21.4% and if the Cyclones continue to skate short handed, the series could be over before we know it. On the flip side, Reading is the least penalized team left in the playoffs so it’s imperative the Cyclones get their power play to convert when they get the opportunity.

– Reading’s goalie Matt Dalton has played well posting a 2.88gaa and a .922sv% but I give the edge to Jeremy Smith who is a few points lower on the sv% at .918 but has the better gaa at 2.45.

– I only saw the Royals play twice this season and they reminded me of the 08-09 Wheeling Nailer. They have good speed, a lot of skill and like the transition game. Chuck had a great game plan to stifle Wheeling last season, so I’m guessing he’ll have something up his sleeve to slow down the Royals.

– The schedule for the Conference finals leaves a bit to be desired. After back to back games this Friday and Saturday, the Teams will travel to Reading for game 3 on Tuesday (5/4). The Teams won’t play again until Saturday (5/8). If needed Game 5 will be Sunday (5/9) in Reading with games 6 and 7 in Cincinnati on Tuesday (5/11) and Wednesday (5/12). The layoff between games 3 and 4 is a rough one for the boys, it’s not quite long enough to head home but a little too long to be away from home.

***

A few other playoffs notes:

– Curtis Sanford was dressed and backing up Cederick Desjardins tonight (4/29). My guess is Robert Mayer could be returned soon. The net is Jeremy’s to lose, but it will be nice to have a capable goalie ready in the wings for a change.

– As I’m sure most are aware of this by now but the the Cyclones have won every odd numbered game played and lost every even numbered game. If you’re going to have a pattern that’s t the one you want.

– Hammer dropped this little nugget the other night during the broadcast; the Checkers are the 3rd team the Cyclones have knocked out of the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the final time…ever. In 07, the Cyclones swept the Toledo Storm into hiatus. In 2008, it was the Johnstown Chiefs (although we didn’t know it would be the Chiefs last playoff game at the time). Charlotte will be leaving the ECHL for the AHL ranks next season on a sour note, losing their last Kelly Cup playoff series.

– Over in the National Conference, the Brabham Cup winning Idaho Steelheads are taking on the Stockton Thunder. I’ll be doing a bit of research as the series progress to get a handle on those potential match ups. Should the Cyclones get passed Reading, wouldn’t a match up against Stockton make for an interesting story line (the Cyclones franchise that first took the ice back in 1990 is now the Stockton Thunder)

-Mike-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Mike-

As I sit here typing up this latest entry I am also preparing to listen to John “The Hammer” Hamel call the last game the Boys will play at the Cambria War Memorial this season and probably the foreseeable future. It really is the end an era, for Johnstown and the ECHL. I was lucky enough to take a road trip to Johnstown during the 2008 Kelly Cup Championship Season; from pre-game beers and Baby Huey’s at Scotts by Dam (the taco’s are something else too)  to taking in a game at the fabled War Memorial, the city left quite an impression on me. I think taking in a game in Johnstown for any hockey fan, especially those with an affinity for the minor leagues. I was really hoping to make it back for one last hurrah but it didn’t work out. As Cyclones fans we know what it is like to lose our team so I hope to see hockey’s return to Cambria County sooner rather than later. Here is a link to a good article on hockey’s history and current situation in Johnstown.

The Boys now find themselves chasing the Division Title after giving up 2 points to Kalamazoo last night. Luckily, the ‘Clones have one more shot at the Wings, but they will still need some help from Toledo if they are to raise another Division Banner.

Last night’s game saw the return of Kevin Roeder and Matt Pierce. Both looked solid in their returns, Roeder had several good hits and Pierce was in and around the net. It’s good to see them back at this point to get a few games in before the Playoffs to shake the rust off.

In other news from last night, Curtis Sanford was injured during Hamilton’s game at Abbotsford. It will likely mean that Robert Mayer will be getting recalled. During the pre-game interview from Johnstown Chuck indicated the injury to Sanford was of the 7 to 10 day variety. The game in Abbotsford saw former Cyclone David Desharnais net 2 goals and included a rather humorous meltdown by Abbotford’s head coach.

It’s too early to guess at the playoff match-ups but it’s never too early speculate at the playoff roster which is due on April 5th. The ECHL hasn’t announced the rules for the 2010 playoff rosters yet but they haven’t changed the past few seasons so here is what we can expect:

Kelly Cup Playoff Roster
Requirements, Guidelines

April 6, 2009

PRINCETON, N.J. – Here are the roster requirements and guidelines for the Kelly Cup Playoffs as outlined in the 2008-09 Playing Manual issued to all ECHL coaches.

Amateur players who have completed a full season of college or junior hockey during the 2008-09 season can be named to a team’s playoff roster after their college or junior team has finished their season, including the playoffs.

For professional players who have played for any professional team in 2008-09 and former professional players to be named to a team’s playoff roster, they must have played (i.e. taken at least one shift) in five regular season ECHL games.

Former professional players who went back to full-time university status and regained amateur status shall be considered amateurs for the purpose of playoff eligibility and subject to the conditions of amateur players.

Players on two-way contracts with American Hockey League teams must have played (i.e. taken at least one shift) in five regular season AHL games in order to be named to a team’s playoff roster Veteran players on two-way contracts with AHL teams must have played (i.e. taken at least one shift) in 10 regular season AHL games. Players on two-way AHL contracts who are bought out or released from their contract during the season are still subject to the minimum playing requirement. Players on NHL contracts and one-way AHL contracts are exempt from the rule as are goaltenders. Each team is allowed two non-veteran players who are on two-way contracts with AHL teams that are exempt from the rule.

The League Office will decide any questions about eligibility and its ruling will be final.

ECHL teams must submit their Kelly Cup Playoff roster to the League Office by 3 p.m. ET on Monday.

The maximum number of players allowed on a playoff roster is 23. Playoff rosters will consist of a 20-man active roster and those players who are on injured reserve or recalled.

If in the event of injury, illness, recall or suspension by the League, a team is reduced to less than two goaltenders and 16 skaters, the team may sign amateur players under emergency conditions. Goaltenders that served as an emergency backup in the regular season may be used if they started out on the club’s roster as an emergency backup. Emergency backup goaltenders will not count toward the 23-man limit and may play at any time.

When the emergency conditions have ended the amateur player or goaltender must be removed from the roster.

Players who finish the regular season on injured reserve are eligible to play in the playoffs once their full injured reserve time has been completed. Players may be activated and placed on the team’s 20-man active roster with all roster guidelines (salary cap, veteran limits, etc.) in effect.

Players injured in the playoffs may be placed on injured reserve and replaced on the active roster with either a player whose injured reserve time has been fully served or a player who is returning from a recall. Players on injured reserve must remain with the member club unless otherwise approved by the League Office.

Players who are on recall to the NHL or the AHL at the playoff roster deadline that a team wishes to have eligible to play must be named to the 23-man playoff roster.

If a player is recalled off a team’s active roster during the playoffs, he may be moved to inactive status or replaced with a player whose injured reserve time has been completed or by a player returning from a recall.

Questions regarding playoff rosters are determined solely by the League Office.

Basically, Chuck gets to pick 23 total players, 20 active and 3 inactive. One point of note is that emergency back up goalies do not count towards the 23 man limit so the Cyclones could stick with Mayer and Smith and simply use Lee Lansdowne as a back up should Robert Mayer be on assignment in Hamilton when the Playoffs start.

The Cyclones’ roster currently sits at 23 with 2 goalies, 9 defensemen, and 12 forwards. However, Dwayne Zinger will most likely not be named to the playoff roster due to injury reasons and there is concern regarding Jamie Coghlan which reduces the roster total to 21. That leaves room for Max Lacroix and Brett Motherwell when they return from assignment in the AHL. Assuming there aren’t any injury concerns, I don’t see Chuck adding any Junior or College players late as he did last season with Felix Petit.

It should also be noted that Chris Mueller is playoff eligible for the ‘Clones but I highly doubt he’ll be named to our roster. The Milwaukee Coaching Staff loves the kid and named him to their Clear Day Roster over the likes of Ian McKenzie and Mark Van Guilder.

What you’re left with is a Playoff roster that doesn’t look any different than the current roster. With the way the team has played the past few games one could argue that some changes need to be made, however, I lean the other way and going into the playoffs there is quite a bit that can be said in favor of having familiarity with your teammates.

-Mike-

It’s been a while since our last Cyclones game/team oriented post, sorry for slacking off.

-Since our last post the Boys have rolled out a 9-3-0-0 record which is good enough for 2nd in the North Division and 3rd in the American Conference. The Cyclones currently lead Toledo Walleye by 1 point and trail the Kalamazoo K-wings by 1 point. The ‘Clones have one game in hand on Toledo and Kalamazoo has played one game less. That means tonight’s (1/13/10) game is pretty important.

-The Cyclones took 3 straight from Trenton but the 1st two  left a little to be desired. Sure a win is a win, but the Boys blew four 2 goal leads between the first 2 games allowing Trenton to force the game into a shootout. Luckily, once in the shootout Jeremy Smith came up large and Dustin Sproat was clutch and the Cyclones prevailed.  In the Sunday matinee, the Cyclones went with Robert Mayer between the pipes and he posted a shutout. The Cyclones also posted wins against Kalamazoo (2), Johnstown and Reading during the stretch. The losses came against Toledo and Wheeling (2).

-Speaking of Jeremy Smith, he was forced to carry the load for a few games in the absence of Robert Mayer who was on assignment in Hamilton and performed admirably for a rookie. This year Coach Weber is seemingly experimenting with some goalie strategy. We are familiar with his tendency to alternate goalies which was established in the first 2 seasons. The came last years train wreck between the pipes. This year it seems like Chuck is using a bit more strategy with his two young goalies. When they’re are both here Chuck has done everything from alternating them; rewarding a good game with another start; playing the hot hand; and now it’s been mentioned that he may even be starting his goalies based on their past performances against the opponent.

-Speaking of call-ups and reassignments, it’s been a revolving door around here the past few weeks. We’ve seen Mark Van Guilder come and go twice; Jason Josza and Hans Benson were both called up to the AHL and have since been returned. The Cyclones have received Ian McKenzie from Milwaukee. If I recall, Milwaukee was kind enough to return Reid Cashman to us for about a game before he was recalled again. Currently both Mike Mclean and Dustin Sproat are on assignment with the Admirals.

For the first time under Chuck Weber the Cyclones will be sending 2 to the ECHL All Star Game. Matt Pierce is currently 4th in rookie scoring and when you throw in his +14 rating (which is 11 better than rookie scoring leader Justin Donati, 3 better than 2nd placed Maxime Gratchev, 21 better than 3rd placed Maxime Tanguay and 11 better than 5th placed Pat Galivan) along with his lack of penalty minutes (8 on the season) , it really shows the impact he’s had for the Cyclones and is certainly All Star worthy. Jeremy Smith is putting in a solid performance for a rookie netminder and is sitting near the top of the leader board in several statistics. I think nods should be giving to Scott Reynolds (14g-18a-32pts +14) and Dustin Sproat (11g-17a-28pts +5) who are playing very well and should have been considered as well.

-The special teams are still a case for concern. The Power Play Unit is having trouble converting and is second to last in the league. The answer is not doing as the fans suggest when the yell “SHOOOOT!!” at every opportunity, but to stay with what they’re doing and to be patient. Unless you’re down by 1 with less than a minute to go there is no reason to rush and force things since it really makes no difference when you score on the PP. The Boys are getting chances they just aren’t finishing. The Penalty Kill has slipped to 5th in the league, which is still pretty good. The problem I see is it’s inconsistency. It seems that when they are playing well they will shut everyone down, but when they aren’t on top of it then it is almost as if a goal is eminent. The call ups of Sproat and McLean have probably effected the PK a bit since they were often the 2nd Unit forwards.

That’s all for now. I’ve got a few more topics rolling in my head which I hope to bring you over the All Star Break if not before.
-Mike-