Patience is Hard to Come By

The Cincinnati Cyclones have a new coach, Skalde.  Our previous coach, Weber, was very successful. Let me repeat very successful.  Two ECHL Championships in 4 years successful.  It has to be tough to come into a system that was very successful and have to deal with pressure from expectations.

To say the least we in Cincinnati are very spoiled.  We expect our ECHL Hockey team to continue to be successful even under a new coach because from our perspective there are a lot of returning players from last season’s championship team.  If those guys were successful last year, they should still be successful this year, right?

Under Weber, even if our team started the season slow (and it always did), we as fans had confidence that no matter what by the time January rolls around, our team will be one to be reckoned with.  It always was, and our record the last four seasons proves that.

The problem I see this year is that there is no confidence by the fans that Skalde can turn the team around because we don’t know him.  We only know Skalde by his past coaching performances which weren’t that great and what we have seen so far this year.  Neither of those two items inspires confidence from the fans.

On top of that Skalde doesn’t seem to be nearly as fan centered as Weber was.  Weber knew that his bread and butter were the fans.  Inspire the fans and make them believe, and they can lift up a hockey team to the next level.  The fans will be the 7th man on the ice to help in difficult games to put our team on top.  I’m not sure Skalde quite gets this, but maybe he’s shy being in a new city and all, but in comparison, Coach Weber would never have missed the annual season ticket holder dinner and would have held it right before the season started.  Of course for all I know Skalde had no say on when the dinner was held and therefore blame lies on the sales department.

As for how the team and coach Skalde are doing so far this season and where that will take us in the future; I am trying to keep an open mind, but boy when you get burned on the same outlet pass four times in a game and no change was made to stop it; it makes it hard to keep that open mind.  I keep telling myself that the guys from last year are learning a new system, and that it is going to be painful until we get it and that is assuming that the new system will be successful.

Coach Skalde has said that he wants our team to be an offensive team first.  I’m good with that, but I can tell you if we do not work on our defense then our offense is going to have to be scoring in the double digits to keep up.  So far, our defense is pathetic to say the least.  I am sure it will improve.  I don’t really see how it can’t…it is that bad.

Our goalies both need work as well…and work with the defense.  To both goalies, when I (we sit directly behind the score twice goal) can see a totally empty net and you are a foot off to the side…you are too far off to the side.  You will get burned and burned over and over by someone passing to the guy on the other side.  Because you are so far out, there is no way on this great earth you can get over to stop the shot.  Learn to stay closer to home.

To the defense, the fact that you allow that pass to occur, is not helping out our goalie.  Our goalies need help.  As a defense, you need to stop the guy who is streaking over to catch a pass.  You also need to man-up and be aggressive and hit the guy with the puck.  You do one of the two and that pass doesn’t occur and your goalie will be happier with you.

To our offense, where are you guys?  We are supposed to be an offensive team first.  That’s what our coach said.  So far I don’t see it.  We have a hard time even getting the puck into the zone and once we do break that plane, we can’t keep it in the zone.  Our poor goalie had a hard time getting off the ice, so that we could get another man on the ice because you weren’t doing your jobs.

I’m not even going to talk about the penalty kill or the power play.  Neither exists, so no point in talking about them.  Note to coach…we need both or I will start calling our power play a power kill again.  And as someone in our section said, “It’s not even a power kill when our five guys have to work hard against four to even get the puck in our zone.”  So, I’m not sure what to call it at this point.

So, from my perspective we need to work on all aspects of the game.  I don’t mean to dog you Cyclones, and I will be there for every win and every defeat, but you aren’t looking pretty right now.

My point is that as fans, we need to realize that there will be growing pains with a new coach and new goalies.  The Cyclones are traditionally slow starters for what ever reason.  I am currently hoping that our team is being its usual slow starter, and that come January we will be a force to be reckoned with.  Please as fans, do not say “Cyclones Suck” or “Boo” our team right now.  Do not be like Philadelphia fans and bring your own team down.  I would say right now, our team needs us the most.  If you need someone to boo, boo the refs.

In January, is when we can make a judgment call on the new coach; not right now.  Please give him a chance.  Skalde has huge shoes to fill and he’s going to make mistakes.  As long as he realizes his mistakes and learns from them, I will be happy.  This is ECHL hockey where players and coaches refine their skills.  So give them a break and be patient; even though it is very difficult right now.  Patience is very hard to come by isn’t it? 😉