Sunday, October 22, 2006

If You Are Truly A Hockey Fan...

You Will Support The 2006 Cincinnati Cyclones Of The ECHL.


One of the more legendary gamblers of the Old West was named Canada Bill. His gambling immortality does not rest on his gambling prowess, nor his formidable wins or losses. He is remembered by a single line he once uttered on the Mississippi, a phrase recited by a myriad of gamblers since. Bill was losing his entire bankroll at Faro when a friend approached and said, "Bill, don't you know this game is crooked?" "Yes," answered Canada Bill, "but it's the only game in town."

Right here, right now, the Cyclones are the only game in town. You may have read my prior blog on Fan Loyalty Part One and Part Two. If you did, you know how much I respect that. But I'm here to say there are perfectly logical and very compelling reasons for all fans of all backgrounds to unite behind this team. Even if the reason seems selfish, there is a reason. Let me explain.

Obviously the easiest group to win over are the fans loyal to the entity we know as the Cincinnati Cyclones. Their reasons for supporting the club are clear. But if you are one of these folks who are prior Cyclones fans who are still on the fence about this incarnation - get off it. Come on out to the game.

Come out and prove to the ownership that all the old fans are still here for the Cyclones. They brought hockey back, reward them. If you want them to reward us with continued hockey, you have to show your support. That's the easy part.

Ducks fans, Robinson loyalists, Gardens supporters, it benefits you to support the Cyclones. Yes, it benefits you.

You want AHL hockey to return to the Cincinnati Gardens. You can show the NHL parent clubs who are potential partners that Cincinnati is a hockey town. If you sit at home on your ass complaining about ECHL hockey, Nederlander, USBA, and all that jibber-jabber then you hurt your own cause.

They don't want a town full of hockey snobs. They want a town of fans who will spend money for professional hockey. I believe it helps the Robinson's chances of securing an AHL franchise if the Cyclones have good attendance. People already going to games are more inclinded to continue to go to games.

Whining, sniveling, malcontents are more likely to keep whining, keep sniveling, and remain malcontent. The best thing to happen for the Robinsons and the Gardens would be sellout crowds at USBA this season. The more fans to try and lure, the better.

Maybe the AHL will return to the Gardens. Maybe not. Maybe the ECHL will stay at USBA, maybe not. Maybe the ECHL will go away to make room for the AHL downtown. One never knows, do one?

The point is that it is not helpful to anyone's cause to sit home on your rumps. If you're a hockey fan, the Cyclones are the only game in town. Get off your ass and your high horse and come see some games.

As Always:
This blog is my sole opinion. It may be based on reason and fact; or it may be purely my emotional preference but it is mine alone. I only claim to be perfect most of the time. You are entitled to disagree, and I invite you to do so - somewhere else.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Opening Night: Success!

I had a great time on opening night, I think it went really well, and it's a good indication of good things to come. That being said, I'll rattle off my observations, in no particular order, about their performance on the ice and off.

The overall production quality was good. There is room for improvement but they did a good job and definitely helped the overall atmosphere. Basically they just need to smooth things out. They need flow. At times, things seemed contrived, like "ok, we're going to do this ___ now" and then "ok, we're going to do that ___ now." But like I said, overall the helped atmosphere, they will get smoother with experience. I'm pretty lenient in judging this area because I know it's just not easy. They coudl have sat around and planned it all closely, but it's still different when the show starts. There's no way to really practice or rehearse -just get out there and do it. Hopefully they are being analytical of their production performance and improving as they go. But, I was happy with it.

Paul Horton was definitely trying too hard. Again, I believe he will get smoother, but he needs to take it down a notch or too. Same goes for "Mitts." Trying a little too hard - but I would rather have them over-doing it instead of being a couple of lame-asses with no hope for improvement.

I like Wildman's role. Still involved in the traditional ways but not the only voice on the PA all night.

I thought the attendance was "just right." More would have been great, but realistically the crowds are not going to be the same as the IHL days. I think management is expecting modest crowds, and planning their business model on moderate crowds. But if we had a super-packed house tonight, I would have been suspicious of too many free tickets being given out. I think tonights crowd was solid. Sure, it won't be that high every night, but I saw lots of familiar faces - people I don't know by name but I remember them as frequent flyers and season ticket holders. So I'm happer with a solid 4300 than a fluffy 5000. Does that make sense?

I also liked that most fans stayed in their seats most of the game. I expected to see people walking out with a couple mintues left, when the game was definitly in-hand. But the crowd stayed in their seats until the stoppage at 17 seconds. That tells me the fans were interested in hockey.

I'll ask Twister about YMCA. Basically he will also smooth out and only get better. I think he has the personality to be a great mascot, with practice.

I actually think they played better in the offensive zone. Maybe they did not score on some power plays, but the Ice Pilots ran a very aggressive penalty kill. It was impressive. They kept pressure up. I thought the Cyclones also had an aggressive power play style, that will chew up teams not prepared to attack. Some of the missed opportunities will get better as the team plays together more.

It is ECHL hockey. They aren't going to have the skills of AHL or IHL players. I thought it was a big drop from the heyday of the IHL. But, I don't think it was a huge drop compared to AHL just because AHL play is more beholden to grooming systems, styles, and individuals of the NHL, not necessarily to build a winning team with the players they have. So, the level of play was actually better than I expected.

I think they need the most improvement first and foremost in breaking out of their own zone. Then they also need to clean up the neutral zone play. Once they established themselves in the offensive zone, they were powerful. I noticed some good set plays, and they generated good opportunities that they just didn't capitolize on.

That takes us back to ECHL skill level. They are going to whack and hack sometimes when higher skilled players would have taken possession or made a better pass. They are going to bobble the puck more and be less able to handle bad bounces, etc. That's OK with me, I knew what to expect and my expectations were exceeded.

Man, I'm really rambling. Are you still reading? Continue...

I like Daust and Gajda, they are definitely the fireball, shooter type players with a goal-scoring mentality. But I thought they were sorta puck hogs. They need to work on making more plays and they have the opportunity of the old "total is greater than the sum of the parts."

I thought Ftorek was the best man on the ice. Definitely the best skill and playmaking. He can grind but also had soft hands. I enjoyed watching him the most.

The jerseys were fine. I'm OK with plain. Sometimes I think they get carried away with multi-panel jerseys.

I was satisfied with the music but they can definitely do more in this department. I'm on an alternative kick these days, listening mostly to 97.3 and there is some good stuff that could be used. Stuff that's upbeat and appropriate, that everyone can enjoy. I like that they did the standards, but they could mix it up more. They did play "The Middle" by Jimmy Eat World when the score was tied - that was a good choice but they should have played the part where it says "Everything will be alright, alright..."

That's all that comes to mind off the top of my head. I'll be there Saturdy night, unless something unexpected happens. I'm also working an angle to drive the Zamboni for them some.

I'll depart with a question....

If the Gardens folks can try to lure and NHL team with an AHL franchise into theri building, is there any reason why the Nederlander folks can't do the same thing?


This blog is my sole opinion. It may be based on reason and fact; or it may be purely my emotional preference but it is mine alone. I only claim to be perfect most of the time. You are entitled to disagree, and I invite you to do so - somewhere else.

Monday, October 16, 2006


You heard it here first. Twister has been signed to appear at all 36 Cyclones home games, plus playoffs. Terms of the deal were not disclosed as per club policy.

While his identity must also remain secret, you may remember him as the Jester during the Crown days. He will be a true skating mascot and he's hungry to get a shot at the big leagues - just like the players in the ECHL.

Hungry and fiesty.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

14 Days Since My Last Post

I'm sorry again for not posting lately. I have a couple of posts "in the pipe" leading up to the start of the season. Wahoooo!!!

I've been really busy, switching to night shift, and my mother has been in the hospital, so posting has not been a priority. Please keep checking for more titilating posts.

Somebody from Alberta on Shaw Cable found the site searcing "zamboni driving" through Google blgo search. Whoever you are, please email me:

Sunday, October 01, 2006

It's October!

I'm feeling good. It's October 1, opening month of hockey season and we have professional hockey in Cincinnati. That's a good feeling!

Is it ideal? Well, probably not. Ideal to me would be the old IHL. We had players on the bubble of the NHL, just a notch below. They had veteran experience and near-NHL skill level. We got that good of hockey at minor-league prices. That was ideal.

Ideal is gone - whether it's my version of ideal or some else's. But the ECHL Cyclones are here and that's just fine with me. I see plenty of advantages.

My next post will be a breakdown of what I think are reasonable expectations of this incarnation of the Cyclones.

Let's play hockey!