Sunday, July 31, 2011

July was a busy month for the NLL

By Alex Hinkley

The 2012 National Lacrosse League season is still many months away but several teams around the league have been incredibly active throughout July. Below is a list of moves and recent signings as listed on the transactions page of

The Washington Stealth have been the busiest team in the NLL thus far. They re-signed five players: Jeff Moleski, Matt Beers, Chet Koneczny, Cam Sedgwick, and Curtis Hodgson.

The Stealth also traded star forward Luke Wiles to the Buffalo Bandits for the 23rd overall selection in the 2011 Entry Draft and a 2nd round selection in the 2012 Entry Draft. This move could spell bad news for the Rochester Knighthawks as Luke Wiles is a well-known goal scorer. Wiles coming back to the Eastern Division, as a member of Rochester's bitter rivals no less, means stiffer competition for the K-Hawks next season. The Bandits also re-signed defenseman Scott Self to a three-year contract.

Speaking of the Knighthawks, they recently re-signed Joel McCready to a three-year deal. McCready had 2 assists and 65 loose balls in 12 games with Rochester last year.

The Toronto Rock acquired goaltender Matt Roik from the Stealth in exchange for defenseman Kyle Ross. This move makes sense for the Rock after starting goaltender Bob Watson retired at the end of last season. Could Roik be the new starter or will Pat Campbell get the nod? Only time will tell.

After re-signing Kevin Croswell and Noah Talbot at the beginning of the month, the Minnesota Swarm then traded Croswell, Ryan Cousins, Aaron Wilson, and their 10th overall pick in the 2011 Entry Draft to the Edmonton Rush in exchange for the 6th and 31st picks in the 2011 Entry Draft as well as their 2nd round selection in the 2012 Entry Draft. Wilson had a bit of a down year last season but the Rush are definitely getting an elite-level talent here.

Finally, the Colorado Mammoth traded former first round draft pick Dan Carey, their 28th overall pick in the 2011 Entry Draft, and their 1st round pick in the 2013 Entry Draft to the Toronto Rock in exchange for Creighton Reif, Mat MacLeod, and the 9th and 14th overall picks in the 2011 Entry Draft. Carey has spent the past six seasons in Colorado so it will be interesting to see how he fits into a new offense.

(Article originally posted on

Monday, July 25, 2011

Roik to the Rock

By Graeme Perrow

The Toronto Rock's big question has been answered. Barring more trades, the starting goalie for the 2012 Toronto Rock will be Matt Roik, after a trade with the Stealth that sent defender Kyle Ross out west. On the surface, this seems to be a pretty good deal for both clubs – Toronto obviously needed a goalie and had a pretty strong defense, while the Stealth have a solid number one goalie and an experienced backup but needed help in the defense department (only one team gave up more goals than the Stealth in 2011). But let's look a little deeper.

A couple of months ago I looked around the league for the possible successor to Hall of Famer Bob Watson, and managed to ignore Roik completely. I decided that Washington wasn't likely to trade Tyler Richards, especially to the team that beat him in the Championship last season. Somehow the obvious corollary, trading Roik instead of Richards, didn't occur to me.

Both players have the somewhat unusual distinction of having been acquired by a team only to be traded away before ever playing with them, Roik with the Stealth (though he did later return) and Ross with the Calgary Roughnecks. Both have been involved in blockbuster trades in the past – Roik for Anthony Cosmo, and Ross (and others) for Josh Sanderson. And while I wouldn't call this trade a blockbuster, it's certainly important, particularly for the Toronto Rock.

First, a little on Roik. According to Wikipedia, Roik was drafted by, of all teams, the Toronto Rock. He was quickly traded to New Jersey, playing with the Storm in 2002 and 2003, and then moving with the Storm to Anaheim for the 2004 and 2005 seasons. He was taken third overall by the San Jose Stealth in the Storm's dispersal draft and then traded to Philadelphia. He played two seasons as the starter in Philly before being traded to Chicago where he played one season. Roik was reacquired by the Stealth in the Cosmo deal and played with them for three years – one in San Jose and two in Washington. He has a career 12.29 GAA with a 75.48 save percentage. His best year was 2010, where he had a sparkling 10.50 GAA. Watson, by way of comparison, had a 11.14 career GAA with a 76.94 save percentage in almost exactly twice as many minutes. Then again, Roik has one career goal while Watson has zero.

Now for Kyle Ross. Ross spent two seasons (2007-8) in Minnesota, though he only played in two games during the 2007 season. He was then chosen by the Boston Blazers in their expansion draft, and played the 2009 and 2010 seasons in Boston before being traded to Calgary in the Josh Sanderson deal. Before he ever played with the Roughnecks, he was traded to the Rock where he spent the 2011 season. He's a defender, so saying that he has 10 career goals and scored 4 in the 2010 season doesn't tell you much, but in his two seasons in Boston he had 92 and 85 loose balls.

I wouldn't say that acquiring Ross solves Washington's defense problems, but it certainly helps. Ross is a hard-nosed defender who collected a lot of loose balls (more so with the Blazers than with the Rock, but that may have been just because of playing time) and wasn't afraid to drop the gloves. He went up against Geoff Snider last season and even took him down, although Snider got back up and ended the fight with three punches. But win or lose, anyone who has the stones to fight Snider instantly gets some respect from me. Ross will sit out the first game of the season for the Stealth because of a one-game suspension for a hit which ironically occurred in last year's Championship Game against the Stealth.

I must admit that I don't know much about Matt Roik but the chatter on the Wingszone message board is that he has flashes of brilliance but may have some focus issues. (One poster said "if he's not on the same page as the rest of the team, he'll just crumble".) I wasn't overly optimistic about Pat Campbell being the starter next season but I have no problems with him as a backup, so if Roik can't keep his head in the game, I'm confident with Campbell coming in off the bench. Note that Rock GM Terry Sanderson has specifically stated "We're not anointing Matt as the starter, and we'll have other goalies in camp" and I believe him, but I imagine that it'll end up being Roik / Campbell nonetheless.

I was away with friends the weekend that this trade happened, and found out about it through a twitter message. Some of my lacrosse buddies were there and I told them about it. Their first reaction was a disdainful "So our starting goalie next year was Washington's backup?" and I think it's safe to say that their overall reaction to the trade was neither positive nor wholly negative, but "let's just wait and see what next season brings". (In Toronto, we call that the Mats Sundin approach.)

Anyone who has ever seen an NLL game in Toronto very likely saw Bob Watson in goal. If they saw a playoff game, they very likely saw Bob Watson win. To misquote Lt. Valeris in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, nobody can replace Watson but someone has to succeed him. Roik and Pat Campbell make a solid combo that may not be another Watson-Cosmo or Montour-Thompson (or even Richards-Roik from 2010), but is more than capable. The loss of Ross as well as Creighton Reid in an earlier trade leaves the Rock defense weaker than last season (though Ryan Sharp will hopefully return from his injury), but the addition of Dan Carey may mean that one of the other lefties, Aaron Pascas or Pat Maddalena, could be dealt for a defender.

So after digging a little deeper, I'll stick with my first impression of this trade. Unless Roik or Ross pulls a Yashin and tanks completely, both sides should be pretty happy with it.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Rock and Stealth Make a Swap; Roik a Rock

By Mike Wilson

Goaltender Matt Roik has been sent to the Toronto Rock for Kyle Ross.

Roik has been brought in to fill the hole that Bob Watson left when he retired at the end last season. This is defiantly a step down for the Rock, but you can't replace the best NLL goalie of all time.

More to come on the blog later.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Can Kevin Croswell Be A #1 Goalie In The NLL?

After the Edmonton Rush acquired Kevin Croswell in a trade last week,  one question was raised, at least for me: Can Kevin Croswell be a number one goaltender in the NLL?

Bryan Reynolds who covers the Swarm for thinks so. 

"His technique is clean, he doesn't give up a ton of rebounds, and he is active in the crease. He has the makings of a very good goalie.  In the two appearances I saw, he did well, and looked like he could certainly be a number one." 

Croswell appeared in 4 games with the swarm last year, leaving the season with his best save percentage and his worst goals against average. 

The hilight of his season was a 47 save win over the Calgary Roughnecks. Oddly enough, he didn't see the floor for the rest of the season. 

Now if he can play full time like he did in that game, I agree with Bryan that he can start, at least on the Rush. 

He had similar stats to Matt Disher last season, but under the circumstances, Croswell wasn't often put into a position to excel. When your starter is pulled, more often than not, more than just the goalie is struggling. When the team in front of you isn't playing well, it's hard for a goalie. 

Another thing that could contribute to Croswell's less than fantastic stats is that he came into the game cold. In the game against Calgary that is mentioned above, he only allowed 8 goals and had a .854 goals against average. The start makes a difference.  

We all know the Rush needed a goalie. Disher just didn't get the job done and didn't help the Rush's playoff push. Kevin Croswell is a guy that can take the Rush to the playoffs. 

He was put into an unfortunate position behind Nick Patterson, but I think he has a chance to shine.

Reynolds also told me of Croswell's excitement to be apart of the Rush. 

"I talked to him after the trade, and no matter the question, he always brought it back to coming to Edmonton and being excited for the chance to earn a starting role."

I think I'm just as exited to see him in the black and grey, as he is to wear it. 

Can't Take The Heat

In Edmonton tonight, the temperature peaked at 27 degrees Celsius. Now that may not seem that bad, but it is when you are playing lacrosse in an arena designed to keep the general building warm. Even during the spring it gets HOT. I'm just glad my season ended at the end of June. The Heat is not fun to play in.

It was so bad tonight that during a RMLL playoff game between the Jr.A Eclipse and the Jr. Mountaineers from Calgary, the game had to be called because of unsafe conditions. The reason wasn't even the heat itself, but the sweat it created.

There were multiple floor wipes during the game and fans opened doors during the intermissions to cool the building. The refs strangely ordered for the doors to be closed before the game were to resume.

The game was eventually called halfway through overtime and will be finished in Calgary next week. The game was the 2nd of a 5 game series. The Mounties lead the series 1-0.

Heads up goes to Grant Smith. Thanks! 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

"The Show" Gets A New Time Slot. Fan Excited

By Mike Wilson

Luke "The Show" Wiles has been traded to the Buffalo Bandits in exchange for 2 draft picks, a 2nd and a 3rd rounder.

Wiles scored 29 goals and 31 assists last year for 60 to go along with 9 points in 3 games with the Stealth during their playoff run.

Wiles was traded so he could be close to home, but I think the happiest person out there was Hinda Koza, the fiance of Bandit Chad Culp.

(This Guy!)

(Note: Hinda has told me that she does not condone the stache! "It was Movember, but still...awful.")

She sent out such wonderful tweets as "It's like Christmas in July!!" and "if by thing, you mean amazing!!! haha I'm endlessly entertained by Luke. He's officially my 2nd fave Bandit"

Now Luke is a friend of theirs, but if all lax fans would be exited like this when trades come their way, the lax world would be even more awesome!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Toronto acquires Dan Carey

By Graeme Perrow

A day after dropping the news that the Rock and Mammoth had made a trade, Teddy Jenner finally broke the news of who was involved, which was later confirmed both by Rock owner Jamie Dawick on twitter and on Forward Dan Carey was sent from Colorado to Toronto along with a third round draft pick in 2011 and a first rounder in 2013 for defender Creighton Reid, forward Mat MacLeod, a first rounder in the 2011 draft, and a second rounder also in 2011.

The 29-year-old Carey is a two-time All-Star, as well as the winner of the 2008 Sportsmanship Award. Carey has an unbelievable 11 penalty minutes in his 60-game career, and none in 28 games since 2007. According to, the Rock now have "three of the premiere left-handed offensive players in the league alongside Captain Colin Doyle and Stephan Leblanc". Personally, I think that including Carey in that "premiere" group may be premature. Carey missed most of 2009 and all of 2010 with a concussion, and while he did score 35 points in 12 games last season, by all accounts he was not back to his previous level of play. Mammoth fan and NLLBlog and writer Melissa Dafni said "Carey is talented, but he'll never be the player he was." Still, those 35 points translate to 47 points over 16 games, which would have put him fifth ahead of Beirnes and Pascas (and well ahead of fellow lefty Pat Maddalena's 10 points) on the 2011 Rock. The Rock also picked up a first round draft pick, though it's in the 2013 draft, so they have to wait almost two years before they even know where the pick might be.

The Mammoth pick up Mat MacLeod, who has four seasons of NLL experience despite being only 23 years old, and Creighton Reid, who is only a year older than MacLeod. MacLeod played in 12 games this past season, but didn't see a lot of floor time. Creighton Reid, on the other hand, played in every game last season and ten the year before, with his playing time continually increasing. I thought Reid was one of the hardest working players on a very good defense last season. With this trade, Colorado gets a forward to make up for some of what they lose in Carey, a solid young defenseman to add to an already-strong defense corps, and two 2011 draft picks. The Mammoth now have 5 of the first 17 picks in the 2011 draft, rumoured to be one of the deepest in years, which bodes well for the Mammoth's rebuilding efforts.

The big question for me is the motive behind the trade, from the Toronto side anyway. Did this trade address the gaping hole in the Rock roster that Bob Watson's retirement left behind? Not at all. Did the Rock need more offense? Arguably not, since they just won the Championship, and only two teams scored more goals than the Rock last year. Did they have excess defense and need to get rid of someone? No, many NLL fans (particularly Rock fans who were around during the Les Bartley days) know that you can never have too much defense, though I think it's fair to say that the Rock has enough that they can afford to lose Reid. But you don't trade a player just because you can afford to lose him to get back someone you may not need. [WARNING: speculation ahead.] Perhaps Carey asked for this deal. Once his goal of resuming his NLL career after his injury actually came true, he may have realized that he didn't want to be flying out to Colorado and Washington and Alberta for almost every game. Carey lives in Peterborough, about an hour north-east of Toronto, so despite cutting down on his frequent flyer miles, I'm sure he will appreciate the travel advantages of playing for the Rock. Carey also got married last summer, so perhaps he wants to start a family and spend more time near home. Again, this is all entirely speculation on my part, but if Carey asked to be traded to Toronto, Rock GM Terry Sanderson may have decided that the price wasn't too steep, and since the Pat Maddalena experiment didn't work out as they might have hoped, perhaps the Dan Carey experiment would be more successful.

If Carey's play continues to improve and he even approaches his former playing level, he could work out to be a pretty good addition to the Rock, and MacLeod and Reid can help the Mammoth for many years to come. It's hard to pick a winner of this trade given the draft picks involved, but if this year's draft is as deep as they're saying, this could work out very well for Colorado. Call it a tie – a good deal for both sides.

Rock and Mammoth Trade Announced

By Mike Wilson

The Toronto Rock have sent Creighton Reid and Mat McLeod to Colorado for Dan Carey. Deal also involves draft picks to be named later. Details are being finalized and more will come later tonight.

Thanks to IL Indoor for the details.

Rush Make Huge Trade; Croswell, Cousins, and Wilson Head North.

By Mike Wilson

Ok, I wrote a post yesterday saying I think the Rush were going to acquire Aaron Bold. I was wrong. It was much bigger.

The Edmonton Rush acquired F Aaron Wilson, G Kevin Croswell, D Ryan Cousins, and the 10th overall pick.

The Swarm then acquired the 6th and 31st overall picks as well as a second rounder in 2012.

For the Rush this is a sweet deal. Lets go through this player by player:

Aaron Wilson- Finished 3rd in team scoring on the Swarm last season ending up with 23 goals and 34 assists for 57 points. On a team the struggled to produce offense,  this is a great addition.

Now i'm going to say it, last seasons struggles were not for a lack of talented personnel, but because of players not playing up to their potentials. Ryan Ward and Andy Secore both had rougher seasons than usual, Secore more so because of injury troubles. If the Rush can get the returning players up to full gear, the addition of Wilson will prove even better.

Everybody on the offense benefits if it has success. The more looks you have the better.

Ryan Cousins- Adding another defender needed to happen after the departure of Rory Glaves and Ian Hawksbee. The Rush had problems with "D" after a season where they were one of the best in the league.

Kevin Croswell- Let's all welcome the new #1 goaltender to Edmonton. I believe he will do fantastic this season and suck next season. That always seems to happen to Rush goalies.

From a Rush perspective i'm exited. From a Swarm perspective, i'm confused.

I think that was a lot to give up for moving up a few spots and acquiring a couple more picks. They must REALLY like who they think they can get at #6.

In a trade that involves draft picks, we won't know who won for many years, but as of right now, the Rush have the lead.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Whos Toronto Getting From Colorado? I Know Who It Isn't!

By Mike Wilson

Sources from the Rock have told me who isn't coming their way! John Grant Jr. and everybody besides him who doesn't play "O" . 

Glad to help you out. 

Bet You Aaron Bold Is Headed To Edmonton

By Mike Wilson

Rumors have gone around that the Edmonton Rush are involved in a trade and I will bet you that Aaron Bold is a part of it. This is because of a couple of things said by Edmonton reporter Jason Gregor. He tweeted this just a few minutes ago: 

" Zero chance Merrill is moved. This deal is about making Rush better not worse. I know TOR is not team involved. Rush trade will involve a goalie. They need a young back up who can play. Hearing it will be big based on chat with NLL guy."

Why do I think this goalie is Aaron Bold? Because of this quote from Inlaxwetrust :  

" I suspect they will bring in a younger goalie. If I’m Keenan I would try to get Aaron Bold out of Rochester. Bold will never start there with Vinc, and Disher is near the end of his career. If they don’t get Bold, they will try to bring in another younger goalie with some experience to push Disher."

If not Bold, I would say Nick Rose out of Boston.

Not saying this is 100%. Just have a feeling. I'll throw a party if i'm right.

Crazy Trade Rumors

By Mike Wilson

There have been some NLL trade rumors spreading around on twitter tonight, but our crack team at the NLL Blog have unearthed talks that have never seen the light of the outside world.

  • Every Star player in the league to Boston. The Blazer than fail to make the playoffs the following season. 
  • Colin Doyle to Edmonton for Brodie Merrill and then flipping both Merrill's back to Edmonton just to get Doyle back. (Although Terry Sanderson is no Mike Kloepfer)
  • Or to not repeat history: Grant and Levis to Toronto for Leblanc and Patrick Merrill. Then COL flip Merrill to Edmonton to play with Brodie.
  • Edmonton trades all it's players for new players of equal caliber and fails to make the playoffs.
  • Swarm trade current jerseys for ones that psychologists have proved to promote migraines. 
  • Cory Small elsewhere, breaking my heart.
This is all we have for now, but stay tuned as we find out more.