Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lax Live 1.1

Hot off the internet here is the latest episode of Lax Live with Mike Wilson and Marisa Ingemi: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/laxlive

In this episode we are joined by Bandits great John Tavares! 

Mike's Picks:
EDM-COL: EDM
WAS-TOR: TOR
MIN-CAL: CAL
TOR-PHI: PHI
CAL-MIN: MIN
ROC-BOS: BOS
EDM-COL: EDM
WAS-BUF: BUF

Monday, March 28, 2011

Mammoth Break Home Losing Streak

By Melissa Dafni


Leading up to the National Lacrosse League trade deadline, things were pretty quiet overall… and then the Colorado Mammoth made some moves. They reacquired former captain Gavin Prout from the Edmonton Rush, and Joel Dalgarno and Ian Hawksbee from the Washington Stealth.
Although the Prout trade got the most coverage, Dalgarno had the bigger impact… unless of course you do believe there really was a Prout curse. The Mammoth haven’t won a home game since Gavin Prout was traded.  While most feel it is merely coincidence, others feel that trading Prout was equivalent of trading the heart of the team away.  Regardless of which side you fall on, the Prout trade was certainly divisive.
The Boston Blazers came in to the game after playing the Washington Stealth the previous night, the Mammoth had fresh legs, but hadn’t played for three weeks.  Not to mention, the Mammoth made some big changes to the lineup but hadn’t see them in action.
Both Anthony Cosmo and Chris Levis made some great saves, especially when they counted most.  Both defenses were also instrumental throughout the game, but it’s offense that grabs headlines.
Despite taking thirteen shots, John Grant Jr. only scored twice, however, as his second goal was the game winner, many will overlook the misses. On the one hand, Wayne Gretzky is right; you do miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.  On the other hand, how many better scoring opportunities were missed because JGJ doesn’t seem to pick his shots?
For the first time all season, the Mammoth offense didn’t look flat most of the game.  They were picking and rolling, cutting, cross pass shooting and just in general working to get the goalie to move to set up a shot.  Unfortunately, too often, the Mammoth were unable to get the rebound when Cosmo did make the save.
While the Mammoth still have a long way to go, they’ve at least taken the first step.  Or as John Grant Jr told fans after the game, “There’s more to come, be ready.”

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Called It, The Streak Comes To An End

By Mike Wilson

Before the Colorado Mammoth and the Boston Blazers hit the floor for their Saturday night match-up, I was confident in my pick as to who will win this game.  My pick was not a popular one, as it was on the Mammoth to win their first home game in 700 days, while playing a team with offensive all-stars such as Dan Dawson, Josh Sanderson, and Casey Powell. In fact, this pick was so unpopular, I made a few bets with other confident lax writers such as our own Avry Lewis-mcdougall, and In Lax We Trust's Marisa Ingemi, but we'll get to that later.

First here is the recap:

The game was the opposite of most lacrosse games you see in that it started very slow and ended with a great, exiting pace. After the first quarter the score was only 2-1 in the favor of the Blazers. The second quarter picked up with each team taking 3 goals a piece into the locker-room. For Mammoth fans, the first half carried a pleasant surprise.  Newly acquired Joel Dalgarno scored a hat-trick in the first half of his Mammoth debut. This was something that was expected of Gavin Prout in his return to the Pepsi Center after spending a season and a half in Edmonton. Prout did finish the game with a goal and an assist.

The third quarter was a summary of the Mammoth's season all wrapped up into a 15 minute segment. They only scored a single goal (Dalgarno's 4th) and couldn't score on a full, 2 minute, 5 on 3 power-play. Thankfully for Colorado, Boston only managed to score one as well. Going into the 4th and final quarter, the score was 6-5 in favor of the Blazers.

The 4th quarter was an epic. Back to back Powell brother goals expanded the Blazer lead to 3. At this point, some Mammoth fans have given up and other writers were letting me know of my impending doom.

Then, at 8:59 left to go, we have our TSN turning point. A Gavin Prout power-play goal. This stared a comeback run which included goals from Alex Gajic, Dan Carey, and 3 helpers from John Grant Jr. With less then 30 seconds left to go, the game was tied and we were headed for Overtime where, who else but John Grant Jr., netted the game winner.

Why in gods name did I pick the Mammoth?:


To this point I only know 2 other people who picked the Mammoth: Andrew McKay for The Laxist and Stephan Stamp from IL Indoor.

There are 2 reasons I picked Colorado:

  1. Boston traveled cross country and that never goes well for the away team.
  2. Boston played the night before.
The Blazers just simply wouldn't have enough energy to pull this one out.

The Gavin Prout Curse:


The Mammoth have not won a home game since Gavin Prout packed his bags for Edmonton. He returns and the streak is over. COINCIDENCE!? I THINK NOT!


The Bet:


The bet I had with Avry had the loser licking a used lacrosse ball. So NLL Blog fans, a picture of that will be posted on the blog on April 2nd.

Colorado now heads for a huge 3 game series against Edmonton, while Boston returns home to face the Knighthawks.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Game report: Calgary 14 Toronto 9

By Graeme Perrow

The battle of the first place teams is over, and the better team won. On this night, anyway, Calgary was indeed the better team in a 14-9 victory over the Toronto Rock. The Roughnecks dominated the entire game and while Bob Watson is having a career year in his final season, he was outplayed by his former backup Mike Poulin.

The Rock and Roughnecks traded goals early before Kasey Beirnes scored six minutes in to give the Rock a 2-1 lead. Dane Dobbie erased that only twelve seconds later with his first of four, and the Roughnecks never trailed again. Calgary had a much more balanced attack than the Rock – thirteen different Roughnecks got points to the Rock's seven. Dobbie and Jeff Shattler led the scoring with seven points each, while Curtis Dickson got a hat trick and Scott Ranger had four helpers. On the Rock side, Colin Doyle was the only multiple-goal scorer with 3, with LeBlanc, Billings, Manning, Maddalena, Beirnes, and Marshall all getting one each.

I thought Toronto's transition was a big part of their downfall – far too many times a defender would grab the ball and race up the floor looking for a breakaway or 2-on-1, which almost never happened. They'd take a shot from a bad angle or through traffic, Poulin would make an easy save if the ball even got to him, and the Roughnecks offense would come back up the floor again. Rob Marshall scored one, but no other defense or transition players even had assists, a sure sign that your transition is not working.

Pro: The game was on TSN2 in high definition, which was really nice for those of us not in Calgary. Dave Randorf is great on the play-by-play and Brian Shanahan, while he needs a new haircut, really knows his stuff. My wife declared that their ties didn't match either, though I have to say I did not notice that. I have to say, though, that the Calgary announcer needs to STFU during play. Trying to get the crowd going and announcing goals and penalties is fine, but keep the Supercuts ads for breaks in play. They also need to turn his mic down – he was drowning out the TV commentators.

Con: the game was tape-delayed at least 30 minutes so that TSN2 could continue their March Madness coverage. Now if they were covering a game that went long, and tape-delayed the lacrosse game to finish it, I could understand that. They should have put a banner across the bottom of the screen saying this. But that's not what happened here. The game they were covering was over, and they showed half an hour of James Cybulski and Jack Armstrong talking about that game and some other upcoming ones, and then showed the first ten minutes or so of the Ohio State / someone else (Kentucky? Florida? Don't remember, and don't care enough to go look it up) game. No banner indicating the change in scheduling was shown. Then at the end of the coverage, they finally said that the Rock / Roughnecks game was coming up, but Cybulski added insult to injury by stating that their March Madness coverage would continue over on TSN, so you want to change the channel.... now. Right, because nobody really wants to watch lacrosse, do they? Remember that Rock owner Jamie Dawick pays to have the Rock games on TSN2, so I can't imagine he's too happy with how things played out last night.

Now if they had had Kate Beirness (who apparently went to the non-existent "University of Ontario") doing the basketball coverage, I would have been able to forgive TSN a lot easier. I'd watch half an hour of her reading the phone book. I might even PVR it so that I could revisit the subtle intricacies of her performance. <shakes head> Sorry, where was I?

I'm afraid I'm turning into one of those people who complain about the refs after every game. I've tried to be good and give them the benefit of the doubt, and I know it's a hard job and I couldn't do it and all that, but still. As I've mentioned before, Grant Spies takes every penalty he calls as a personal affront to him or to the game or something, and there were a number of phantom or "You called that? Really?" penalties on both sides. The weirdest call was a no-goal on Kasey Beirnes in the 3rd. Replays clearly showed that his goal was good, but it was waved off. Troy Cordingley immediately threw the challenge flag only to be told that the call was not reviewable. I have no idea why not, but the call stood. Another weird one had happened in the second when the shot clock whistle sounded just before a Roughnecks goal, but I have to give the refs credit on that one – it appeared to be the wrong call, but it was actually correct. The shot was taken just before time ran out and Watson made the save, resetting the clock. Dobbie then grabbed the rebound and buried it. It happened fast enough that it looked like the goal shouldn't have counted, but it should have and did.

The game was a little chippy but not really rough until the end. Blaine Manning was getting pretty ticked by the end of the game, and according to Claude Feig, Manning wanted to go out and fight Andrew McBride but Cordingley wouldn't let him. The coach didn't have the same restraints on Patrick Merrill or Kyle Ross, however, and both got into completely pointless fights with under a minute in the game. Merrill took on Mike Kilby and I'd have to call that one a draw, and then Ross took on heavyweight Geoff Snider. Ross went right after Snider and even took him down almost right away. But Snider did a smooth tuck-and-roll and got back up, landed three punches, and it was over. Snider was the clear winner there.

Both teams are done for the weekend and play at home next week. The Rock host the Washington Stealth, while the Roughnecks play the Minnesota Swarm.

So..Um...The Rush Won.

By Mike Wilson

The Swarm North* conquered Swarm South** on Friday night by the score of 14-13.

The game went back and forth. The South opened the scoring a minute and a half in with an Aaron Wilson goal, but found themselves down 6-3 at the end of the first quarter. The second quarter was all South, outscoring the North 4-1, and taking a 7-7 tie into the dressing room. The north jumped to a 10-3 lead at the start of the third, but lost it and the end. The South's comeback was started by a jaw-dropping behind the back crease-dive by Callum Crawford. With the score tied at 10 going to the third, it was time for Zack Greer to show everybody why he was hyped up to be the Michael Jordan of lacrosse. He challenged Crawford with his own spectacular, going around 2 defenders and finishing it of on the backhand. That wasn't even his most important goal, that came with the game tied at 13. With just 3.5 seconds left, he fired a shot past Nick Patterson to seal up the Rush's third win of the season.

(Pictured: My Idol)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Game preview: Rochester vs Philadelphia

By Alex Hinkley

The Philadelphia Wings (4-7) will visit the Blue Cross Arena tomorrow night to take on the Rochester Knighthawks (5-5) for the second time this season. The two teams previously met in February and the Knighthawks came out on top.

It's been two weeks since either of these teams have played so the downtime could be a factor. Tomorrow night's matchup is especially important because Rochester and Philly are essentially competing for the fourth playoff spot. If the season ended right now, the Wings would be the only team from the East not to make the playoffs. With just five regular season games left for them to play, they will be looking to collect as many wins as possible. This sense of desperation makes them much more dangerous now than when the Hawks played them last month.

Athan Iannucci still leads the Wings with 56 points. The Knighthawks defense will need to find a way to shut him down if they want to come out with another win. This is easier said than done, however, considering Iannucci is tied for second in the NLL with 27 goals.

Shawn Evans stands poised to have another big game tomorrow. He had 10 points (1G, 9A) last time Rochester played Philadelphia and currently leads all Knighthawks with 41 points.

Tomorrow night will also mark Cory Vitarelli's NLL debut. Originally drafted by Rochester back in 2006, Vitarelli hasn't played a game for the Knighthawks yet. Vitarelli was activated by the team just recently and could be a difference maker as he is no stranger to finding the back of the net. Playing for the Peterborough Lakers of Major Series Lacrosse, he had 12 goals in the Mann Cup finals last season (tied for second on the team).

Tomorrow night's game starts at the usual time of 7:35 EDT. The first 5,000 fans will receive a Knighthawks tote bag and a rally towel.

(Originally posted on Examiner.com)

Crossovers!

By Josh Bourhis


The other day I was looking back at an article Avry wrote about the Rush making the postseason despite a .500 record or under and it occurred to me that this is kind of depressing. While the thought that came to my head would still include an under .500 making the playoffs,I am curious to see the fans opinion on this topic.

The Canadian Football League has had a crossover rule for many years. For the people that are unfamiliar with the crossover rule, a crossover rule is when the last place team of division A has a better record than the last playoff team in the division B; they would take that spot because they have won more games.


An example in the NLL this year would be:

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Future Hall of Famers

By Graeme Perrow

After my recent article on Steve Toll and then the NLL Best Player's bracket over at InLaxWeTrust, I decided to go through the league and see who else should someday qualify for the Hall of Fame. For fun, I broke the list into four categories: No-brainers are those who would be inducted if they retired tomorrow. Likely Candidates are those who might not make it right now, but if their careers last a few more years with a similar level of success, would probably make it. Some Debate is the fun one – those who have had (or are having) good careers, but perhaps not quite to the Hall of Fame level. And Too Early are those who have had great careers so far and seem to have enormous upside but simply haven't played long enough to make a real decision. I've left rookies out entirely because it's too early in their careers even to put them on the Too Early list.

I've listed the players in alphabetical order in each list.

Did I miss anyone, or put anyone in the wrong list? Leave a comment and tell me why!

No-Brainers

Dan Dawson
Steve Dietrich
Colin Doyle
Chris Driscoll
John Grant
Tracey Kelusky
Pat O'Toole
Casey Powell
Gavin Prout
Lewis Ratcliff
Josh Sanderson
John Tavares
Steve Toll
Kaleb Toth
Bob Watson
Shawn Williams

Likely Candidates

Ryan Cousins
Blaine Manning
Andrew McBride
Pat McCready
Brodie Merrill
Mark Steenhuis
Cam Woods
Taylor Wray

Some Debate

Mike Accursi
Rob Blasdell
Sandy Chapman
Anthony Cosmo
Scott Evans
Shawn Evans
John Gallant
Darryl Gibson
Rory Glaves
Brian Langtry
Pat Maddalena
Brandon Miller
Gee Nash
Phil Sanderson
Scott Self
Jamie Shewchuk
Derek Suddons
Luke Wiles
Aaron Wilson
Jeff Zywicki

Too Early

Mac Allen
Ryan Benesch
Garrett Billings
Callum Crawford
Dane Dobbie
Rhys Duch
Athan Iannucci
Stephan LeBlanc
Paul Rabil
Scott Ranger
Jeff Shattler
Geoff Snider
Matt Vinc

Sunday, March 20, 2011

SI: The NLL isn't "major"

By Graeme Perrow

From Sports Illustrated's Go Figure column, March 7, 2011 (emphasis mine):

55.5
Percentage of MLS teams that will make the playoffs in 2011, more than any other major American pro sports league, after the 18-team outfit upped the number by two to 10.

The NLL's percentage: 80.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Kevin Fines signs with Rochester

By Alex Hinkley

The Rochester Knighthawks signed defenseman Kevin Fines to the Practice Player List at the free agency deadline yesterday. To make room for him on the team Rochester released rookie Holdon Vyse who was also on the Practice Player List.

Fines, a six year veteran of the NLL, was a solid defenseman who played for Rochester last season. In 13 games, he had 6 goals, 2 assists, and 59 loose balls. Fines was known not only for playing tough defense but also for getting fast breaks every once in awhile. During both the 2006 and 2007 seasons, Fines scored 15 goals for San Jose and Toronto respectively. Rochester released him prior to the start of the 2011 season in December which baffled many Knighthawk fans since him and Steve Toll (who was also released) were two key players in our transition game, a weakness for the Knighthawks for much of this season.

The National Lacrosse League trade deadline also passed earlier this week and the Knighthawks did not make any moves. As yesterday was the final day teams could sign free agents for the remainder of the regular season, adding Fines to the roster will benefit the Knighthawks greatly going into the final six games of the season. It is only a matter of time before Fines is "promoted" to the active roster. Hopefully this happens sooner rather than later.

(Originally published on Examiner.com)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Steve Toll – Hall of Famer?

By Graeme Perrow

Steve Toll recently announced that he will retire after the 2012 NLL season, which will be his fifteenth in the league. It's probably for the best, since his memory is obviously going. In the story on NLL.com, Toll recalls his first game, while playing with the Ontario Raiders in 1998: "It was in the old Philadelphia Spectrum. We beat Philadelphia and I got an assist." The story then says "That was the beginning of the streak."  But if you check the career stats page, also on NLL.com, you find that Toll played one game in 1998, collecting zero points, then played one game in 1999, collecting an assist. His streak couldn't have begun in 1998, since he only played one game in 1999. Also, according to the Spectrum's page on Wikipedia, the Wings stopped playing there in 1996, two years before Toll started in the league. OK, so either someone screwed up their research or Toll can't remember details from 13 years ago. No big deal.

Anyway, when I heard that Toll was going to retire, I wondered if he would be considered for the NLL Hall of Fame. My first thought was "Definitely yes!", but then I wondered if I was just being a homer because I'm a Rock fan and he was a big part of the Rock's success from 1999-2004. So I reconsidered and decided no, Toll was a great player but not a Hall of Famer. But I have reconsidered my reconsideration, and now I've decided once and for all – when Toll retires, he deserves to join his former teammates Dan Stroup, Jim Veltman, and Gary Gait (though he didn't win a Championship with Gait) as well as former coach Les Bartley and GM Johnny Mouradian in the NLL Hall of Fame.

If you want numbers, I got numbers. Toll has played in 201 NLL games, all but the first consecutively. He's won 5 Championships – four with the Rock during their years of dominance in the early 2000's, and one more with the Knighthawks during their dream 2007 season. The Hawks finished the season winning 12 in a row plus 3 more in the playoffs, and became the first team to ever win a Championship in a home game over two thousand miles away from their arena (don't ask). Toll led the Knighthawks in loose balls every year he played there (except 2005 when he only played 5 games with them after being traded from San Jose), and the only reason he didn't lead the Rock in that category was a guy by the name of Jim Veltman. He was also was the first-ever winner of the NLL Transition Player of the Year award in 2007.

Toll had three consecutive seasons with over 50 points for the Rock, collecting 65 in 2002. He scored 15 or more goals four times, and 25 or more twice. In Rochester, the numbers tailed off but Toll was primarily a defender, so looking at the point stats can be misleading. His speed made him very effective on transition, and Rock fans got used to at least one Speedin' Stevie Toll breakaway goal, and sometimes several, each and every game. I just checked his Wikipedia page, and found that Steve Toll is six feet tall, which I never would have guessed. He never seemed that big to me. He was never the Dan Ladouceur type of defender who would just stand in front of you and make you try to get around him because otherwise you couldn't see the net. Toll would chase you into the corner and pound on you with his stick until you either made a desperation pass or dropped the ball, in which case he'd have picked it up and be halfway to your net before you even knew it was gone. He was also very effective at intercepting passes, a skill he learned from Jim Veltman.

They say that the mark of a true Hall-of-Famer in any sport is that you cannot describe the league during the time that that player played without mentioning him. You cannot describe the Rock and their success in the early 2000's without talking about Steve Toll. The Knighthawks didn't have the same kind of success in his six seasons there, but along with John Grant and Toll's good friend Shawn Williams, Toll was a team leader there as well. Obviously Colorado isn't having much in the way of success this year, but Toll is the oldest player on a young team – Toll is at least six years older than every D/T player on the Mammoth except John Gallant, and Ben Davies was only ten when Toll played his first NLL game. He's no longer the fastest guy in the league – he's probably not even the fastest guy on his team – but having a veteran like Toll around has got to have a positive impact on these young players.

It's almost a season and a half early, but congratulations on a stellar career Steve, and I look forward to your Hall of Fame induction.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Under .500 postseason here we come!

By Avry Lewis-McDougall
The Edmonton Rush at 2-9 are most likely playoff bound because the Colorado Mammoth are clearly allergic to winning I'm sure that John Grant Jr started getting hives at the mention of a win playing with the Mammoth. The Rush have had good goaltending for the most part from Matt Disher although the 18-10 loss vs Washington proved otherwise as they were down 8-2 early. The bad thing about probably going into the post season at best as a 5-11 or 6-10 club is that Bruce Urban and Derek Keenan might see this year as good if they make it to the playoffs.

I'm sorry but being a sub .500 playoff team hurts the Rush and the NLL as a whole, now the league playoff format is what it is with just 10 teams and probably soon to be 9 if the Roughnecks don't survive the off season. If the Rush wind up going far in the playoffs, I can admit though I will be cheering and jumping around as if I just found the address to Charlie Sheen's house. The Club also lost another key game to Calgary 19-14 this week but lets look at their schedule from here on in to see what shot they have at the post season shall we?

-March 25th at home vs Minnesota
-April 1st at home vs Colorado
-April 2nd on the road vs Colorado
-April 9th at home vs Colorado
-April 16th at home vs Toronto

The majority of these are winnable games for the Rush, although the Toronto and Minnesota match ups will be a challenge for this club. It will help the club greatly if they can sweep the remaining games vs the Mammoth as Colorado is on their tails for that final playoff spot. Going to be interesting with this stretch drive with no Gavin Prout too as he was traded back to wait for it....The Mammoth, hopefully the Rush can dig deep to salvage this season.




Saturday, March 12, 2011

New NLL Rules

By Graeme Perrow

The NLL has instigated a new rule to make sure that fans sitting behind the players benches can always see the game. This came from a group of fans in Philadelphia who couldn't see because the Calgary coaches were standing on the benches. The fans complained to the Wings, the Wings complained to the league, and bam! A new rule was instigated saying that if anyone (player or otherwise) is standing on the bench at any time during play, or if coaches or non-playing personnel are "deemed to be deliberately obstructing fans", the team will get a bench minor.

After listening to complaints from other fans, here are some other rules the NLL is considering:

  • Teddy Jenner reported on Twitter that because of complaining in Colorado, the Mammoth will be spotted a ten-goal lead for all home games. With this rule in place, the Mammoth may be able to win a home game sometime in the next season or two.
  • There will be a $50 cover charge per person at Roughnecks home games. Ladies are free after halftime! Two drink minimum.
  • Thanks to complaints from around the league, the Minnesota Swarm are banned from wearing those awful striped jerseys.
  • No fan under the age of 18 is allowed within ten rows of the Bandits bench. They were going to make a rule preventing Darris Kilgour from swearing, but nobody wanted to tell him.
  • In order to boost attendance in Washington, the Stealth will automatically win all of their home games. If they are successful on the floor, the fans will show up in droves, right?
  • Due to complaints from Rock fans, either Stephan LeBlanc or Bob Watson will be named Player of the Week every week. Even weeks where the Rock don't play. Sure, Casey Powell scored eight goals but if Stephan had played, he would have scored nine.
  • Hey, as long as the fans are deciding the rules, every game will have at least one penalty shot, a fight, and a penalty that the goalie has to serve himself. Or maybe get them all done at once – a penalty shot that results in a goalie fight. And games that end in a tie go to a shootout. If the teams are still tied after five shots, there will be a trick shot competition, where players like Mark Steenhuis throw their sticks in the air or flip them behind their back before scoring. Coolest shot wins, even if it doesn't go in.
  • How about a lap dance competi- um, never mind.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

NLL 11 video game could be awesome

By Alex Hinkley

A recent article published on the official National Lacrosse League website announced that the new NLL 11 video game would be coming to the Xbox 360 this spring. Last year's iteration was the first professional lacrosse video game to hit consoles since Blast Lacrosse in 2001.

Considering it was only $5, it actually wasn't that bad. I played through two full seasons (one as the Knighthawks and one as the Bandits) and was impressed with the gameplay mechanics. Nevertheless, there are a lot of areas that the game could improve upon. Unlike the established sports franchises like Madden which churn out pretty much the same game with updated rosters each year, the new NLL game looks like it will be a lot different from the previous one.

In addition to revamped graphics and updated rosters, here are some improvements that I am hoping to see in the 2011 edition:
  • Better line changes. NLL 2010 had automatic line changes but it wasn't clear what initiated a line change so some players were on the field for nearly the whole game while others only got seconds of floor time.
  • Goalie changes. It was impossible to change the goaltender making the backup listed on the roster all but useless. Pulling the goalie for an extra attacker would also be a great addition.
  • Better assist tracking. A lot of the goals ended up being "unassisted" despite the shooter having received a pass prior to scoring.
  • Season stat tracking. One of the best parts of other major sports games is that you can keep track of all your player stats throughout the season. After you completed a game in NLL 2010, individual player stats were never kept anywhere (though you could see aggregate totals for your profile). It would have been nice to see how many goals John Grant accrued throughout my season.
  • Fixed glitches. Surprisingly, there were only a few glitches in the first game. One that was really noticeable, however, was that you could check players through the boards. No, not over the boards into the bench, literally through the boards - glass and all.
NLL 11 will once again be found on the Indie Channel of the Xbox LIVE Marketplace. It will cost 400 Microsoft Points to download ($5 USD).

Included in the article was a demo clip from the game (embedded below). The entire engine seems to have been redone and looks amazing!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Rush Captain Apologises To Fans

By Mike Wilson
After the situation on Saturday night where the Edmonton Rush left the floor without shanking hands with the Washington Stealth who stomped them by a score of 18-10, The Captain of the Rush, Brodie Merrill, wrote an apology to the fans. From the Rush facebook page :
"On behalf of the Edmonton Rush, I would like to offer an apology for walking off the floor on Saturday, March 5th, without participating in the customary post game hand shake. There were some early signs that a couple isolated and minor altercations could escalate into something more serious; potentially putting both teams in a compromising position. We thought it was best to step away from the situation and let cooler heads prevail. It is in no way a reflection of the respect we have for the Washington Stealth, or the game of lacrosse. The Edmonton Rush will continue to reinforce strong sportsmanship decisions on and off the floor."
Sincerely,
Captain, Brodie Merrill
If It was possible for me to be a bigger Brodie Merrill fan, I would be after this. He made 2 right moves: writing to to the fans and leaving the floor.
With the press that this story got, This statement was needed. Rush fans themselves weren't happy.
Personally I think this was made to be a bigger deal then it needed to be. The Rush made the right decision trying to avoid a brawl after the game. Worse could have happened then looking a little unsportsmanlike.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Bandits beat Knighthawks 11-8

By Alex Hinkley

The Knighthawks lost to the Bandits last night in Buffalo by a score of 11-8. It was a close game between two bitter rivals but the Knighthawks just ran out of gas in the final stretch. Buffalo's well-rounded offense simply proved too much for the Knighthawks defense to contain.

The game was close for awhile. It started off as a defensive struggle as neither team scored until Joey Walters finally put one past Bandit goaltender Mike Thompson about halfway through the first quarter. As if signalling that it was now okay for both teams to start scoring, Brett Bucktooth tied the game up for Buffalo just a few minutes later. Steenhuis then took the lead for the Bandits in the waning moments of the quarter.

Things started to look grim for Rochester as the Bandits opened the second quarter with two goals in under one minute! Luckily Buffalo took a penalty on the next possession. Jordan Hall made them pay with a power play goal which seemed to temporarily kill the Bandits' momentum and Rochester trailed by just two going into halftime.

Once again the Bandits opened the scoring in the third quarter with Brett Bucktooth finding the back of the net for the third time. The Knighthawks rallied with three straight goals off Campbell, Jamieson, and Hall. The game was tied 6-6 going into the final quarter. The K-Hawks managed to take the lead but the goal was called back after a challenge for a crease violation (despite the fact it was clearly past the 20 second time limit). To make matters worse, the Bandits scored on the next possession after the challenge. This seemed to kill the Knighthawks comeback and the Hawks were outscored in the fourth quarter 5-2.

Neither Craig Point or Jarrett Davis played for the Knighthawks last night instead being replaced by Joe Walters and Holdon Vyse on offense. It's unclear why either of these guys were scratched. Being such a close game, Point might have been able to make a difference. Shawn Evans had a down game with just a single assist. On the bright side, Shawn Williams set the Knighthawks franchise assist record with five assists on the night (he needed just two to surpass John Grant). Jordan Hall (3 G, 3 A) and Mike Accursi (1 G, 4 A) also had good games. Matt Vinc made 42 saves.

Mark Steenhuis and Roger Vyse led Buffalo in scoring with 2 goals and 3 assists each. Brett Bucktooth earned the game MVP for his hat-trick. He also assisted on John Tavares' game-winner.

The Knighthawks drop to 5-5 with the loss while the Bandits improved their season record to 5-3. Buffalo will look to take second place in the East from the Boston Blazers when they meet later tonight at 5:00pm EST.

(Originally published on Examiner.com)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Real men wear pink

Game Review: Toronto 15 Philadelphia 10

By Graeme Perrow

I'm pretty sure Calgary used that "Real men wear pink" line a few years ago when they had their pink jerseys, but it's worth repeating. The Toronto Rock had their Black Out for Breast Cancer night at the ACC tonight, and wore their awesome black jerseys and bright pink helmets. A couple of the players even had pink string in the lacrosse sticks. This is an annual event that the Rock have done for a number of years, where fans can bid on the jersey of their favourite player, and the highest bidder gets to go onto the field after the game and get the actual jersey worn by that player. All the money raised (over $12,000) goes towards breast cancer research at Sunnybrook Hospital, and as the son, son-in-law, and grandson-in-law of three breast cancer survivors, I cannot think of a more worthy cause.

Anyway, the first-place Rock hosted the last-place (in the East) Philadelphia Wings tonight and beat them 15-10, but don't let the final score fool you – the game was closer than that score might indicate. The Wings didn't look to me like a last place team on this night, though it seemed to be a bit of a backwards night for them. It seems unusual for a team that's 4-5 to have a goalie starting the All-Star game, but that's exactly what Brandon Miller did. He's been a bright spot for Philly in an otherwise unremarkable season, but he looked downright ordinary tonight. He wasn't terrible but he did allow all 15 goals on only 46 shots. Bob Watson had another good performance in goal for the Rock, saving 40 of 50 Philadelphia shots. Both goalies made their share of great saves but each let in a few softies as well. Considering these were the two goalies in the East chosen for the All-Star game, you might have expected a better goaltending display tonight, but alas, it was not to be.

That said, defense was the name of the game early on, as the teams took turns stifling the other's scorers. Pat Maddalena scored his first of the season six minutes in and Blaine Manning followed with another less than thirty seconds later. Shortly after that, Paul Dawson managed to get a breakaway but ran too far and didn't shoot until he was actually in the crease. Watson made the stop, but Dawson kept going and fell into Watson, making completely avoidable contact with the goalie. That's a no-no, and the ref sent Dawson to his room without supper and told him to think about what you've done, mister. Garrett Billings scored on the PP to put the Rock up 3-0, but Alex Turner scored his first of two on a one-timer after a beautiful feed from a falling Drew Westervelt, and the first quarter ended with only four goals. Philly opened the second by scoring just 33 seconds in, before the Rock scored another three unanswered goals. Philly did not give up and scored three of their own sandwiched around another Billings goal to put the halftime score at 7-5. Philly's last goal of the second was a very nice play by tough guy Paul Dawson.

Just like they did in the second, Philly opened the scoring early in the third, with Athan Iannucci scoring his second of the night just 26 seconds in. Both teams traded goals until Matt Alrich silenced the Toronto crowd with a bullet over Bob Watson's left shoulder to tie the game at 9. The game was tied for almost five minutes before 18-year-old rookie Rob Hellyer, playing in his first NLL game, scored his first goal - and what a goal it was. Hellyer broke towards the net from the left side, had the ball knocked out of his stick by Bill McGlone (who would have been given a holding call on the play if Hellyer hadn't scored – the ref's arm was already up), but recovered the ball and threw it back over his shoulder and past Miller. Not only was it an amazing effort and goal, but it turned out to be the winning goal, as it put the Rock up 10-9, a lead which they would not relinquish.

In the fourth, it was the Rock who opened the scoring early, as Sandy Chapman scored 11 seconds in. The Wings seemed to run out of gas in the fourth, only scoring one goal while the Rock added another four. Toronto extended its home winning streak to 6 games this year, and nine going back to last year. The last time the Rock lost at home was an 11-10 OT loss to the Bandits on March 12 last year. They have the next two weeks off while the Wings travel to Calgary to play the Roughnecks tomorrow night.

Other notes:

  • There were a bunch of really nice goals tonight by both teams. Both of Alex Turner's were one-timers – kind of the alley-oop of lacrosse – and he missed on a third. Dawson had a nice one as I mentioned, Iannucci had a couple, and Hellyer's was awesome.
  • Pat Maddalena has put the ball in the net four times this season. Three of them have been challenged, and two of those resulted in disallowed goals.
  • As soon as Rob Hellyer scored his first-ever NLL goal, Pat Maddalena ran to the ref to grab the game ball for him. Classy.
  • Stephen Hoar had a shorthanded breakaway. Awesome.
  • Athan Iannucci is a very good lacrosse player. Yup, you heard it here first, folks. I'm still not sure he's back to the level he was at during the 2008 season, but even if he's 80% of that guy, that's still pretty damned good. He had a ton of shots and four very nice goals.

Another Big Weekend for the Philadelphia Wings

By- Kevin M. Neibauer

Philadelphia, PA- The Philadelphia Wings face another big weekend in their quest for the NLL playoffs. Friday night, they travel to Toronto to take on the powerful Rock.

The Rock dominated Philadelphia last weekend in Philadelphia. Toronto jumped out to 5-0 and 6-1 first quarter leads and never looked back.

Philadelphia clearly was not ready for the Toronto squad, and it showed. All Star starter, Brandon Miller did not have his best game and the team gave up an inescusable shorthanded goal while on a 5 on 3 advantage.

Toronto has not lost at home this season and are currently the best team in the ten team NLL. Philadelphia has played very well on the road thus far, beating Colorado, Boston and Buffalo in thier buildings.

The Wings return home on Saturday to face another first place club in the Calgary Roughnecks. Calgary could be distracted due to the financial mess that the club is in. The game could be the last for the franchise unless financial support can be found.

Calgary features former Wing and fan favorite, Geoff Snider. Snider was one of the most popular players in Wings history and should be very pumped up to be returning to the City of Brotherly Love. Snider had an epic heavyweight battle with current Wing, Paul Dawson last season.

Many fans are anticipating a rematch between the two. Bottom line for Philadelphia, a split is the very least that they can do this weekend if they want to stay in the playoff hunt. Currently, the team is 4-5 and two losses should make it very hard to realize the playoffs.

The way this team has played this year, don't be surprised if they sweep the weekend. Then again, they could easily lose them both.....such is the world of the National Lacrosse League.

Philadelphia Wings....Same old same old.

By- Kevin M. Neibauer
Philadelphia,PA- Just past the halfway point in the 2011 season, it has become clear that the Philadelphia Wings are in the same position they have been in for the last six seasons.
Each year, the team starts off slowly based on a number of issues, including, having the new faces mesh as a cohesive functioning unit.  Slowly, they get their legs and begin to improve.
Generally, the team fails to make the playoffs and management responds by bringing in a lot of new faces. The cycle continues year after year.
This off-season indicated storm clouds on the horizon. New Coach, John Tucker clearly was putting his finger prints on this team. John Mouradian, one the great minds in the game was brought in to be the GM.
Issues began almost immediately, Geoff Snider was sent packing in a controversial trade. Dispersal draft saw Philadelphia sitting with the pick that could have been Casey Powell. Instead, they moved the pick.
Newcomers would include Paul Dawson who has been a good addition. Brandon Mundorf, who finally found his scoring touch, Ryan Boyle, who has been a major disappointment.
Thomas Hajek was not brought back and the defense seemed to be strong in the early going without his presence. Lately, it has been a different story.
But, the defense would not be as heavily counted on if the offense was a bit more effective. Far too many dropped or missed passes and far too many bad decisions on shots. After all, a cadaver can stop a shot from 25 feet that is right in his stomach.
The past week, Toronto bested Philadelphia, 16-13. Actually, it was more like the Wings gave the Rock a victory. A team simply cannot give up a 5-0 lead in the first quarter in thier own building.
Throw in a Toronto short handed goal on a 5 on 3 and it is easy to see why this team is on the bottom looking up.
Brandon Miller, who had been outstanding all season, simply was not on his "A" game. Moreover, the defense who plays Toronto at least twice a year for the past decade simply cannot understand that Toronto plays a "pick and roll', nothing fancy, a pick and roll.
At the halfway point the reality is that Philadelphia simply cannot afford to lose more than two more games. 10-6 is going to be the playoff cutoff. Too many teams are too good. Look at the Division, the Wings can play with any of the teams, but shorthanded goals and 5-0 deficits are not getting it done.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Quick Thoughts: The Zack Greer Trade

By Mike Wilson

If you missed it, Zack Greer has been sent off to the Rush for a 2013 first round pick.

My thoughts:

Just what we need, another under achieving forward. The NCAA's All-time leading scorer only put up 23 points last season in 13 games. This season, he has put up 10 points in 4 games. Underwhelming.

He now joins the ranks of Andy Secore, Gavin Prout, Ryan Ward, and Dean Hill as Rush shooters that need to put more points up on the board.

Another thing, they gave up way more then they needed do to get him. He is not worth a first rounder.

On the bright side, they can put him in and get Dane Stevens off the damn floor.

Let’s hope this trade is as successful as the Scott Evans trade was. Evans has scored 9 goals for the Rush in the past 2 games and has been one of the only players on the team to act like he wants to win.

*He looks pretty pumped to come to Edmonton.

** Maybe Graeme Perrow has it right when he says it just might be a change of scenery thing.