Category Archives: ECHL

Sunday round-up

We’re drifting into summer now, so I expect to be updating less often, at least until the draft and the UFA madness that follows. I realize that the playoffs are just heating up, but I’m the sort who, once my team is out of it, I still watch, but don’t really get into it that much. And anyway, there are plenty of blogs out there written by fans of teams who are actually still playing, so I’ll let them cover the playoffs. I will say that Game One of the Pens-Caps series yesterday did live up to the hype as far as being an entertaining game to watch. Although who would have thought the most exciting moment would come courtesy of a goalie?

In the ECHL playoffs, the Cincinnati Cyclones progressed to the Conference Finals with a series win over Elmira. They have games Wednesday and Friday in Cincinnati. Those games would actually be next week, not this week. I’m going to Toronto that week and getting a little ahead of myself on the dates…

In other hockey goings on, the eminently forgettable 1986 film Touch and Go was on cable this morning. It stars pre-Batman Michael Keaton as a Chicago hockey star who falls for a single mother and her hoodlum son (who is played by Ajay Naidu, of Office Space fame!). Hockey is really pretty secondary, although there are a few action scenes, which are far from the best I’ve seen, but not utterly unbelievable. I’m pretty sure I watched this movie on cable way back when, although it was completely different from how I remembered it. I think I had it conflated in my head with V.I. Warshawski, another vaguely hockey connected film set in Chicago from the same era. And also with the Booker episode about hockey.

As far as the Jackets go, Jan Hejda and Alex Picard had surgery on their respective left wrists. And the team’s radio and TV broadcasters remain in limbo waiting to see if their contracts will be renewed. If it were up to me, I’d keep the radio guys — who have their quirks, but are beloved by the fans — and look for a new TV crew. But it’s not up to me, so we will see.

And of course, on Friday we heard the sad news of the passing of Ryan Salmons. If you’re not familiar with the Salmons story, read this, and keep a box of tissues handy. It was nice to read that Manny Malhotra and Jason Chimera went to visit Ryan towards the very end. Those are a couple of players I am often very frustrated with on the ice, but they have shown themselves to be class guys off of it. Kudos to them, and condolences to Ryan’s family.


And another…

Not exactly uncharted territory in this case, but the Cincinnati Cyclones kick off their post-season tonight as well. The ‘Clones are of course the defending ECHL Kelly Cup champs.

I only made it down to one game this year — last Friday. But those games are a fun time, and tickets (except for the front row) are only $12, so if you are in that neck of the woods, I heartily recommend checking them out. I honestly did not expect this team to last through last season when they were drawing a thousand people a game, so to have them defending a title and drawing some decent crowds at USBA (over 11,000 for the regular season finale last Saturday), is pretty cool.

And the CBJ’s new ECHL affiliate…

I wondered in this post if we would hear soon about a new affiliate for the CBJs in the ECHL, since Ottawa had partnered with Elmira. Well, I got the answer today in an e-mailed press release from the Crunch:

The Syracuse Crunch announced today that the Columbus Blue Jackets have entered into an affiliation agreement with the Johnstown Chiefs to serve as the ECHL affiliate for both clubs.

The Chiefs will enter their twenty-first year of play in the ECHL as the premier ‘AA’ affiliate for the Columbus Blue Jackets. Johnstown plays in the American Conference’s North Division and is the only original ECHL team in its original city. The Chiefs play their home games at the historic Cambria County War Memorial Arena, which served as the home arena for the fictional Charlestown Chiefs in the 1977 film Slapshot.

“We are very excited to be partnering with the Chiefs this year,” said Blue Jackets Assistant General Manager Chris MacFarland. “Developing players is crucial to the long term success of any team, and we feel Johnstown will be a positive place for our young players to learn the game and gain professional experience.”

I’ve actually been wanting to do a weekend trip some time to take in games in Wheeling and Johnstown, so this just gives me more incentive to do it.

Putting it all in perspective

If you haven’t been following the story of former Youngstown Steelhound Jason Baird, who was critically injured last month on his summer job as a landscaper, you should read this article.

Stretching real hard for a Sunday round-up

The Dispatch really had to reach for their obligatory Sunday CBJ story in order to rile up the Buckeye fans this week. We get a cute little human interest story about how Adam Pineault has been volunteering with a local fire company to learn more about firefighting. Good on him for his interest in helping the community when his hockey career is over, but lawdy, hockey season can’t come too soon!

Possibly of note, via Scarlett Ice, we learn that Ottawa has signed an ECHL affiliation agreement with the Elmira Jackals. No word on whether this means any change in the Jackets’ AA affiliations, since they were with the Jackals last season. Given that at any given time only a handful of Jackets’ prospects are playing with their ECHL affiliate, it’s no big deal, but hey, I’m just stretching like the Dispatch…

And no Yearbook sightings yet, but the Grandview Giant Eagle has the Hockey News Fantasy Guide. They don’t see an offensive revelation on the horizon for the Jackets. Projected point totals:

  • Nash 72
  • Huselius 59
  • Umberger 55
  • Modin 43
  • Voracek 43
  • Brassard 38
  • Torres 35
  • Chimera 31
  • Filatov 31

Hope they’re wrong about some of those, or it’s going to be another long summer filled with human interest stories…

Also of note, THN projects 43 points for Dan Fritsche and 66 for Nik Zherdev in New York, 22 for Gilbert Brule in Edmonton.

Now back to summer hibernation.

Cyclones win it!

Cincinnati is home to the Kelly Cup! Nearly 13k fans showed up at US Bank Arena for Game Six. Hopefully that strong attendance will carry over into next season, and hockey in Cincinnati will become more firmly entrenched after the near death experiences of recent years.

Congrats to the ‘Clones!

Cyclones can win it all tonight

Game Six of the Kelly Cup finals at USBA tonight. I wish I could be there, but work night + $4 a gallon gas = sigh. Hopefully a big crowd turns up and cheers the Cyclones on to Cincinnati’s first pro sports championship since 1990.