Saturday, February 19, 2011

"I'm On The 'Clones" Music Video

Music Video

Take a look. This is awesome. Hockey Players For Kids is awesome.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Pink = Good in 2011!

This past "Pink In The Rink" weekend was certainly good for our Cyclones! Perhaps a corner has been turned. I have to say I like the trades. I hate to lose the guys we lost but as mentioned in a prior post, we have to believe. The coach's job is to do what he thinks he has to do in order to win hockey games, playoff series, and ultimately championships. Leadership often involves making difficult decisions; it is a burden for leaders to bear.

Friday night I think Florida had a bit of a sloppy game but the Cyclones were definitely firing on all cylinders. Saturday the Cyclones faced some adversity but still managed to control the game and win. The new guys certainly contributed, and brought some new skills and elements to the game. That's what good trades do. I sincerely hope the guys we lost do the same for the other teams and advance their own careers.

We can all see these observations, and may have different opinions. As the Cyclones Insider I strive to bring what you do not see - and I love to champion the work of the behind-the-scenes guys. Promotions like paining the ice are a big deal. Here is a glimpse inside what it is like to put it on.

The actual pink coloring is a resin like the white paint ice base. It is mixed with water and formulated to not insulate so it has minimal effect on the quality of the ice. It is applied in the same manner as the white. The resin is mixed in a 100 gallon barrel mounted on a wheel cart. Also on the cart is a water pump powered by a gasoline engine and a reel of 1" diameter rubber hose. The mixed resin is pumped through the hose to a "wand" made of brass with misting spray atomizers, similar to the sprayers over produce in the grocery.

The wand is dragged backwards around the ice so the crew isn't stepping in the fresh, unfrozen paint. After the pink is applied and allowed to freeze good, clear water is pumped through the wand to seal in the pink. It is important to do this in small doses and not melt the frozen resin and cause it to float up. After several passes, it is save to bring on the Zamboni and apply more water. We shoot for at least a quarter inch of clear over the resin for the safety of the skaters.

If the resin comes to the surface, skates could catch in it and trip a player, affecting the game and possibly causing an injury. But, we don't want it too thick because the ice will become soft and it will take longer to cut out. A few years ago it took about 10 hours with two Zamboni machines. We probably had the ice too deep this time and the pink too dark, thus all the added cut time.

Now let's talk about the schedule. The crew had to paint the ice on Thursday after team practice and have it all finished before the teams practiced Friday morning. One crew member had to stay all night "flooding" with the Zamboni.

After the game Friday, somebody could have possibly stayed all night Friday night to cut out the pink. But, cutting is a bit more technical than just flooding so fewer of us are qualified to do it. The pink would have had to be cut out, the ice leveled, and more flood coats applied in time for the Saturday morning practices.

So, it was decided to leave the pink in for Saturday's game. The crew's weekend got a little brighter when it was announced that Linkin Park had to cancel their show on Sunday. Bad news for Linkin Park fans but it gave the ice crew a much deserved day off.

Cyclones practice was moved to Northland Ice Center on Monday and Tuesday so the pink could be cut out of the ice. It took about 7 hours with one Zamboni to get all the traces of pink up, then a few hours of flooding on top of that to restore the ice depth and level it up.

Sunday, February 06, 2011


I can only speak for myself and not the rest of the Cyclones staff, but I'll admit that it's hard to get excited this year. Catch anyone in a candid moment, and they would probably admit it. The team has played fairly average hockey. We see moments of brilliance in between spans of average play and as many flubs as moments of brilliance. Maybe more. That's reality. I don't like it but I'm not unwilling to admit it. It is frustrating. That's hockey.

When the Cyclones returned in 2006, one of the things I said is that it's fair for a fan to expect a .500 record. To go plunk down their hard-earned money, it is reasonable for fans to expect at least a 50% chance of seeing a win. And, the fan's can reasonably expect to be entertained. Sweet goals, hard hits, occasional fights are all reasonable expectations.

The Cyclones have delivered.

Yes, I say, they have. We have grown a little spoiled in the last 4 seasons. After the 2008 Kelly Cup we expected 2008-09 to be a "rebuilding year" but the Cyclones went to Conference Finals; then they returned to - and won - the Kelly Cup again in 2010. This is something that hasn't happened since the IHL Mohawks in the 1950's. How cool is that? Very cool.

I'm going to be a stinker here; but I can't help myself. The Mighty Ducks only had 3 winning seasons out of 8. The Cyclones have had only two sub-500 seasons in the first 17. Granted, they have been through several incarnations over two leagues, but I'm looking at it in terms of the product delivered. That product has been consistently strong, across the board. Can the Reds say that? Not lately. Can the Bengals say that? Do I need to answer?

This year they are teetering on .500, so maybe they'll give us their 3rd ever losing season. Plenty of time left; however, so maybe they'll give us a good run-up to the playoffs; maybe they'll give us a strong playoff performance. Heck, maybe they'll win it all again.

It's just too soon to tell. But again I stress it is all a matter of relatively. We have grown accustomed to very strong, winning, even championship teams. So, it seems "bad" to slip to an "average" year.

Everyone, let's hang in there for the rest of this season. The players need every fan there showing up, making noise, and supporting their team. This year isn't over. It is a 72-game season.

That's hockey. Hockey fans are not bandwagon fans. Stay True. Believe.

Good things will happen. If not this year, then next year is just around the corner.

Interesting Playoff Chart

According to this, as of today the Cyclones have a 40% chance of making the playoffs.

Interesting way to express things. Our boys had better step up their game and play consistently!