Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Black History Month and Lacrosse


By Avry Lewis-McDougall

This month is one for reflection of the many great things that people of colour have done in the world such as Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks and Tiger Woods. Lacrosse (NLL, MLL and NCAA) does have links with black players. Without further ado here is the black history of lacrosse:
Jim Brown
Jim Brown the legendary running back of the Cleveland Browns is considered one of the greatest lacrosse players in NCAA history having 4 outstanding seasons at Syracuse all the while playing college football for the Orangemen.He grew up in an all-black community near Georgia. He was lucky enough to not have to deal with a lot of racism when he was raised by his grandmother. Brown moved to New York at the age of eight and became an all-around athlete. Brown said that if there was a professional league at the time he would have turned pro (The original NLL was not created until 1974).

The 1975 Team Picture for the Morgan State Black Bears
The Morgan State Black Bears from Baltimore, Maryland were one of the few all black Lacrosse teams in the NCAA and had tremendous success.The Bears placed in the top 25 four of five years between 1970-75 and made the championship tournament two times. These teams were led by Howard Silverman,who then retired after the 1975 season. Sadly this led to the Bears never having a winning season again. The Bears biggest accomplishment came when they upset the number one team in division II lacrosse in the form of Washington and Lee University, a team that had not lost a home game IN THREE YEARS! This is considered one of the largest upsets in intercollegiate history. is ranked in the top 25 of NCAA scoring, and became a powerhouse until the team was disbanded in 1981. Morgan State, is thankfully reviving its Lacrosse program and is reviving a history that is so rich the "10 Bears" will made into a movie soon.


Johnny Christmas playing for the Philadelphia Wings
The NLL has had black players also. The Boston Blazers had Brian J White suit up for them in 1996 and play in 2 games recording 4 loose balls and an assist. White has gone on to have a successful acting career and always speaks highly of his time playing pro Lax. More recently Johnny Christmas played for the Philly Wings for 5 seasons as a great role player and is very active in the US in promoting the growth of Lacrosse with his own foundation. More recently in the NLL is Travis Cornwall, a member of the Calgary Roughnecks (and former Minto Cup winner) has become regular member of the squad and hopefully can become a mainstay in the league.


Box lacrosse among African Americans, African Canadians and Caribbean Canadians has started to expand, but field lacrosse has shown the largest growth. Players like Kyle Harrison have dazzled in field. Kyle Harrison was the number one pick in the MLL draft in 2005, and graduated from Johns Hopkins, one of the most prestigious lacrosse schools in America. The Success of black people in lacrosse has not only been limited to just playing but coaching as well as the head coach of the MLL's Boston Cannons is Bill Daye who led Boston to their 2nd straight league title in 2011 and was named coach of the year. 

Lacrosse among the black community is starting to shape into something that could be incredible in the next few years. Being a black lacrosse writer is something that I am proud of and who knows what we could have next? The sky's the limit for equality in the sport coming from a black lacrosse writer. 

That's all for now I'm Avry and I'm out follow me on twitter at @Avry.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Roughnecks Shut Down Rush

By Avry Lewis-McDougall
The Calgary Roughnecks showed once again why the Battle of Alberta has been a one sided affair.
Calgary got the win on Saturday over Edmonton in a 12-8 game thanks to Mike Poulin, who made 41 saves in the victory, and Curtis Dickson, who had a hat trick. These were two key cogs to lead the Roughnecks to the victory at the Scotiabank Saddledome. The majority of the 1st Quarter was a defensive battle until Dickson opened up the scoring for the Roughnecks late in the period, which also saw the shot clock get taken out behind the Edmonton net which resulted in pure comedy. Zack Greer was able to tie the game up and Corey Small scored to make it a 2-1 game to end the first quarter and it looked as if the Rush would be able to build on this momentum even though Poulin was a wall in net for Calgary.
The 2nd Quarter was a complete turnaround for Calgary thanks to goals from Darryl Veltman, Curtis Dickson again and super pest Geoff Snider (thanks to Mike Poulin and his wonderful passing from the crease), along with the Rush Power play having no fire at all. The Rush, went 1-5 on the power play and just couldn't find the net in the frame which started the club's downfall for the night. Mike Poulin showed why he is the Calgary starter, robbing guys like Ryan Ward and Corey Small in the 2nd frame. Going into halftime with the score 5-2 the Calgary pressure D was making things rough for Edmonton.
The Rush came out with life in the 3rd thanks to goals from Ryan Ward, Scott Evans and Jarret Toll and Corey Small but Darryl Veltman who had been on fire all game long made sure that his club hung around as they ended the 3rd all square at 6.
The 4th saw the Roughnecks pull away as Jeff Shattler, Curtis Dickson, Travis Cornwall and Shawn Evans put the nail in the coffin for the game. The Rush did get some O from Tom Johnson and Scott Evans but it was too little too late as the Roughnecks got the win.
The lack of quality shots getting to the net really sunk Edmonton, this easily could have been an Edmonton win, but you have to give credit to Calgary for their relentless D all game long as well as to Mike Poulin being a rock in the net.
Three Stars:
#1 CGY Mike Poulin- 41 Saves, 2 assists in the game.
#2 EDM Corey Small, one of the bright spots for Edmonton on the night with 4 points.
#3 CGY Curtis Dickson, a heck of a game for him as he had a 5 points on the way to victory.
Honourable Mention/4th Star
Geoff Snider for his impressive 20 loose balls, plus a goal and two assists. I won't put him in the three stars for his post game antics, being a "you know what" disturber is fine during the 4 quarters of play but when you are shoving guys in the post game handshake line that is something that I have a real issue with. Some folks still want to get rid of the handshakes and pushing an opposing player in the line doesn't help.
Other Notes:
-RIP Shot clock you took one for the team in the 1st Q.
-Gene Principle doing NLL games is fantastic.
-Who else saw that Sportsnet had the wrong heading for both goalies in pre game? i.e.: script saying Arron Bold when they were showing Mike Poulin
The Roughnecks move to 4-2 on the season and the Rush are now at 1-4. Edmonton comes home to play Philly and Calgary takes on Colorado in Denver. Both games are on February 24th.

Follow @Avry on twitter.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

GDB 5: Battle of Alberta

By Mike Wilson

Preview:
Tonight the Edmonton Rush will travel down highway 2 to cow-town to face the rivaled Roughnecks. If you can't see the game live, you can watch it on Sportsnet West in Canada, or livestream.com in the US.

Calgary's train of success has not stopped chugging since last season and this year it comes as a surprise to no one. They currently sit 2nd in the west division, tied with this years early success story, the Minnesota Swarm.

Both the 'Necks and the Rush started this season with tough schedules, both undefeated against the Stealth and both winless against the superpower Mammoth squad. The difference between the teams is that although all of their games so far have been close, Calgary, unlike Edmonton, has been able to come out on top.

The Rush season so far has been a tale of close but bot close enough. This isn't horseshoes or hand grenades, it's lacrosse. They're the best 1-3 team in the league right now, but at some-point good efforts need to turn into victories. 

Last years MVP Jeff Shattler leads his team with 22 points, Curtis Dickson, Scott Ranger, and Shawn Evans aren't far behind.

The Rush have been lead offensively by veteran Shawn Williams, followed by Ryan Ward and Corey Small. The Rush will be getting Scott Evans back from suspension this week, so he should help out the offense.

The goaltending match-up will star Mike Poulin and Stone Cold Aaron Bold. Bold currently leads the league in Save Percentage and in Goals Against, and the Rush defense is a big part of that equation as well.

Rabil:
The Rush traded away holdout Athan Iannucci this week for holdout Paul Rabil. Rabil will not be reporting to the Rush and therefore will not be participating in this game. Everyone is expecting a trade out east, the only question is when and for which player(s).

Prediction: Rush win 13-11.

Calgary sucks! (Beak me in the comments if you must.)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Geoff Snider Is Turning His Haters Into His Motivators

Yes, after his Roughnecks defeated the Washington Stealth last night, a few lacrosse fans had some choice words for tough guy Geoff Snider, who had 1 goal, 9 penalty minutes, 10 loose balls, 14 faceoff victories, and a fight on the night. Not only did he noticed the tweets that were directed his way, but he Retweeted them for all to see!

Oh Snap!
Oh No She Didn't!!
Daaaaaaaaaaaamn
What brave people they are as I personally would have been afraid of him punching me in the face through the internet. He doesn't take crap.

But did he throw beaks back? No, he'd rather embrace the hate and make the haters look foolish. Awesome.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Benny and the Swarm Sting Rush in Overtime Thriller

By Josh Bourhis

The Photo Speaks for Itself


The Edmonton Rush left the hive with a stinging feeling tonight as they dropped to 1-3 after a 10-9 overtime loss to Minnesota. Feeling swarmed in overtime, the Rush lasted just past the 3:00 minute mark all because of Aaron Bold, who had another stellar performance stopping 41 out of 51 shots. It was Ryan "Benny" Benesch with a great individual effort ending up right at the top of the crease to notch his hat trick goal ending the second longest game in NLL history.

Scott Evans, who was suspended for his actions in last weekends game versus Colorado, was clearly missed tonight as the Rush offence never really clicked. Scott Tinning moved up to offence to try to lighten the load on the starters, but wasn't very effective putting up only a single assist. The Rush struggled out there most of the time when it was even strength, and it showed on the scoreboard.  Four of their nine goals came on special teams, with two on the power play, and two short-handed. The Rush need to get their 3 man game clicking soon, to open up the floor and start tiring out defences. Another thing they need to work on is their off ball game. There is not enough cutting by the players who don't have the ball.

The Rush on defence had another outstanding night, with every single defender grabbing at least one loose ball. Toll, Rubisch and Mydske were the top loose ball collectors with nine, eight, and six respectively.

The Swarm had great efforts from their rookies tonight, especially recently named All Star Jordan MacIntosh who had an impressive 14 loose balls and went 62% in faceoffs tonight. Jay Card, another rookie had three assists and five loose balls tonight. The leading scorer in the game was Callum Crawford, who put up five assists and six points.

Memorable Moments and Loose Ends:
-The Scott Evans suspension came as a surprise to us at the NLL Blog as it was not mentioned at all on NLL.com
-Jarrett Toll took a huge hit from Andrew Suitor, who had a great physical game, and did the little things right.
-Despite Bold having a great night, he is still letting the easy goal through. It has improved, but to be considered one of the best, you have to prevent letting these in.
-The Rush transition game were great on breakaways, but had some problems tonight during one on one situations. They had transition players taking the ball deep, but not to the corner on these rushes, which would lead to turnovers. They need to take the ball corner deep and peel back, or pass the ball off to the offensive player at centre field.
-Tinning while struggling on offence had a great defensive play late in the game on a Swarm breakaway to keep the game tied.

Three Stars:

3. Jordan MacIntosh

2. Aaron Bold

1. Ryan Benesch

Overall Grade:

Rush: B-

Swarm: B+

The Rush head to Calgary next Saturday to square off with their provincial rival. This is the first out of the four Battle of Alberta's being broadcast on Sportsnet this year. The game goes live at 7:00 pm MST. The Swarm get only a single day off before hosting Rochester this Sunday at 3:00 pm EST for an afternoon tilt.

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GDB 4: Going Into The Hive

By Mike Wilson

Tonight the Edmonton Rush (1-2) will travel into Minnesota to face off against the Swarm (1-2), with both teams coming off of a loss last weekend. (Edmonton to the Mammoth and the Swarm to the Knighthawks.)

The Swarm shocked the league when they won their first and only game of the season 19-11 over the Buffalo Bandits. The power play won them the game as they scored 9 goals from it. They are currently operating the best power play in the league at 6o%, so the Rush penalty kill, which is second in the league at 58.3%, will be a key part of their game.

The Swarm are also the top scoring team in the league putting up a jaw-dropping 15.6 goals per game. (The Rush sit at 11.67 GPG.) Callum Crawford and Ryan Benesch are leading the team as usual, but they are getting scoring all around from guys like Kevin Ross, Jamie Shewchuck, Corbyn Toa, and rookie Jordan Macintosh.

They will be facing off against one of the leagues top defences, so it should be a great match-up. The Rush currently lead the league, giving up only 9.67 goals against per game. This has been a combination of great play by defenders like Brett Mydske,Tyler Codron, Kyle Rubisch and Chris Corbeil, (The latter 2 being invited to this years All-Star game), and the play of goaltender Aaron Bold, who has a league leading Save Percentage of 80.8%, and is also on the West division All-Star roster.

Meanwhile, the scoring in Edmonton has been coming from Shawn Williams, Corey Small, Ryan Ward, and Scott Evans.

Prediction: 13-12 Edmonton

For game commentary, follow The NLL Blog on Twitter.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

NLL Crazy-Awesome-Player-Game Team Announcements


By Josh Bourhis

Today the Crazy-Awesome-Player-Game teams were announced a.k.a the All Star Game, and us here at the NLLBlog are going to break them down for you. For those that don't know, it's being played in Buffalo, and features Team Right side of North America and Team Left side of North America . East vs. West.

There are always exciting stories from the All-star Game including Dan Dawson going to sit in the hot tub after a goal, many awesome trick shots during the skills competition, and the Nooch defying the laws of physics. Sadly we have no picture of the last one, so you'll have to settle for Dan Dawson enjoying the hot tub.

Righteous


Many of the players are excited, especially one player who unfortunately did not want to be named, "I'm stoked to be considered a Crazy-Awesome-Player and will be playing in this game. It will be nice to get away from some players in my teams dressing room. A lot of them smell."           

Terrific...

The Rosters are as follows

Team Right Side of North America

(R) Denotes Rookie, (V) Denotes 5x or more All Star

Forwards
Starter: John Tavares - Buffalo Bandits (V)
Starter: Cody Jamieson - Rochester Knighthawks
Luke Wiles - Buffalo Bandits
Dan Dawson - Philadelphia Wings (V)
Garrett Billings - Toronto Rock
Kevin Crowley - Philadelphia Wings (R)
Josh Sanderson - Toronto Rock (V)
Colin Doyle - Toronto Rock (V)
Johnny Powless - Rochester Knighthawks (R)

Transition
Starter: Brodie Merrill - Philadelphia Wings (V)
Max Seibald - Philadelphia Wings

Defensemen
Starter: Billy Dee Smith - Buffalo Bandits
Starter: Pat McCready - Rochester Knighthawks
Chris White - Buffalo Bandits
Sandy Chapman - Toronto Rock
Mike Kirk - Rochester Knighthawks 

Goaltenders
Starter: Mike Thompson - Buffalo Bandits
Matt Roik - Toronto Rock

Team Left Side of North America

Forwards
Starter: John Grant Jr. - Colorado Mammoth (V)
Starter: Adam Jones - Colorado Mammoth (R)
Gavin Prout - Colorado Mammoth (V)
Rhys Duch - Washington Stealth
Ryan Benesch - Minnesota Swarm
Callum Crawford - Minnesota Swarm
Shawn Williams Edmonton Rush (V)
Jeff Shattler - Calgary Roughnecks

Transition
Starter: Andrew Suitor - Minnesota Swarm
Geoff Snider - Calgary Roughnecks (V)
Curtis Manning - Calgary Roughnecks
Paul Rabil - Washington Stealth 
Jordan MacIntosh - Minnesota Swarm (R)

Defensemen
Starter: Rory Smith - Colorado Mammoth
Starter: Kyle Rubisch - Edmonton Rush
Chris Corbeil - Edmonton Rush

Goaltenders
Starter: Chris Levis - Colorado Mammoth
Aaron Bold - Edmonton Rush

How about that for a list of Crazy-Awesome-Players. Toronto, Colorado and Buffalo have the most players, with 5 each in the game.

A Big Congratulations to John Tavares and Colin Doyle who have been in this game 10 times now. Sorry boys, this officially means you’re getting old.

Notable Crazy-Awesome lacrosse players that are missing from the All Star team this year are Mark Steenhuis, Mike Accursi, and Cory Vitarelli.  Another notable look over is Athan Iannucci who is not only missing from the All Star Game, but from any NLL Roster too.

There is also a special player not on the list above. That player is NLLBlog's own Avry Lewis-McDougall who will play as Team Left Side of North America's official benchwarmer.

Official Stats: 9 Games Played, 0 Points, 2 Penalty Minutes


Team Left Side of North America's waterboy will be Wooly, the Mammoth's mascot.

Guess he has to learn to serve water while Tebowing.


Go to the All Star game in Buffalo, if you’re in Buffalo.
Also, don’t do drugs, those things are bad.

Take care and stay safe Bloggers.

Follow @Boursey on twitter.







Sunday, February 5, 2012

Late String of Goals Slips Mammoth Past Rush

By Josh Bourhis

The feed was better, and there was a blizzard (see picture below), but the outcome was worse as the Rush fell to the Mammoth tonight 11-7 to fall to 1-2 on the season. The Mammoth have started a surprising 5-0 and don't look to be slowing down, because of the consistent offensive output by John Grant Jr. and Adam Jones.

Unnecessary Commentary.



The first half began with the Rush being outshot by a large margin. By the end of the half the Rush caught up in shots, and seemed to have the better of the scoring chances, but were down 4-3 at the half. The game remained very even until the last five minutes when Colorado took control, scoring four unanswered goals to put the Rush away.

The game was chippy throughout, and brought some Rush players, two especially, to reach their breaking points. Captain Jimmy Quinlan took a high shot at John Grant Junior, but received no penalty, whereas Scott Evans did the same thing to another Colorado player, and received a five minute major for high sticking. What made matters worse was Evans actions in the penalty box, taunting the crowd, and having words for Rory Smith who was also in the penalty box for a roughing call. These were very uncalled for actions late in the game

In the end the Mammoth put the nail in the coffin at the right time and continue to impress.



Key Points:


Rush:
-The Rush need to get more loose balls. They were out manned 75 loose balls to 48. Getting more loose balls could have prevented the four unanswered goals in the last five minutes, and this could have been a different outcome.
-Scott Evans led the Rush with 3 Goals and 1 assist.

Mammoth:
-Levis played outstanding on the night, recording 44 saves and having a .863 save percentage. What really stood out was his lateral movement. The Rush had many chances for the cross crease shot, and Levis was fast getting across.
-John Grant Jr. continued making it look too easy out there tonight with another 8 points. Adam Jones potted 3 goals and 1 assist to continue his strong rookie season.
-Rookie Jordan McBride had a good game, also scoring 4 points in the win.

3 Stars:

3. Jordan McBride

2. John Grant Jr.

1. Chris Levis

Final Grade:

Rush: C+

Mammoth: B

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Saturday, February 4, 2012

GDB 3: A Mammoth Task

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Tonight is the second installment of the rivalry between the Colorado Mammoth (4-0) and the Edmonton Rush (1-1). Last time we saw these 2 teams, John Grant Jr. scored the game winning goal with 14 seconds left to win the game for the Mammoth.There has been a rumor that the game may be snowed  in, so follow @NLLBlog for updates.

A Playoff Spot. Neat.
No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you, Colorado is in first place.

The Mammoth have been the top of the league so far scoring a league high 15 goals a game. That is most likely due to having 3 of the leagues top 5 scorers on the roster:
  • John Grant Jr.-37 points 
  • Adam Jones-22 points
  • Gavin Prout-22 points
John Grant Jr. is currently on pace for a jaw dropping 148 points, which would smash John Tavares's record of 115. Crazy.

On the other side, This dangerous Mammoth offense will be facing off against Aaron Bold, who is currently sporting a 9.00 Goals Against Average and a .824 Save%, mostly due to only allowing 5 goals to the Washington Stealth last week. Crazy.

Another thing for Colorado to worry about is the Rush offense who chased Tyler Richards off the floor early last week after scoring 5 goals rapid fire to start the game. They ended with 16 on the night, but could have scored more.

Players To Watch:
  • John Grant Jr. (Given)
  • Adam Jones
  • Shawn Williams 
  • Corey Small
Prediction: 
A high scoring affair. 15-14 Ballerado. It hurts. It hurts.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Con Bro Chill Excites with Début Full Length Album

By Josh Bourhis
From Left to Right: SAMM, Con, Steve, Ty

There is no better way to describe Connor Martin than a party machine. He shows it when he plays professional lacrosse, and in his spare time decides to make an album that really sums up the "Lax Bro" personality in an eargasmic 34 minutes. Connor talks the talk, using coined lax terms, such as "Broseiden" and "Rook Show", and walks the walk, making an album that may not cater to 100 percent of the population, but will keep the lacrosse lover and the party/dance genre lover listening. This...is "3D Music".


The Album Cover

The album begins with Martin being his usual funny, goofy self. This is the introduction titled "Welcome to 3D music". The electronic riff with Martin's voice talking quietly in the background could pump up anyone, and is a great start for the album. The only thing that they could have done is have the music from the intro flow right into the second song, instead of the quiet pause.

Track 2 titled "Partied Out!" is one of the most radio friendly tracks on the album, because of it's simple catchy chorus. It has a nice breakdown that is perfect for a club, and returns back to the chorus.  This is the song that could be on a Top 40 radio station. This song above all others could make them famous.

The album transitions into their single "Power Happy", placed perfectly on the tracklist for the people new to Con Bro Chill. These people will hear the song they know early on the album and it will make them want more. This track has a good beat, and has lyrics that after a few listens you can pick up and sing. This will be the song that everyone at a concert will know. Another radio friendly song, but won't garner as much attention compared to "Partied Out!" if it were to reach radio play.

Great synths and a smorgasbord of different sounds are the highlights on the track "In Sie Cloob". My problem with this song, is too much spoken word. Not necessarily a good song to put right after two songs that got the party started. The spoken word, lyrics and overall vocals could turn a lot of people off who don't know Con Bro Chill's style. This song would work better placed in the latter half of the album.

"Dance Thief" is another radio friendly song, that has probably the best riff on the album. The "ohhhs" throughout the song can give chills because they just fit the song so well. One of the best tracks on the album.

The album here takes a slight turning point towards the rock themed part on this album, "Born Free America" is just as the title says. It talks about all of the things in America that make Con Bro Chill proud along with many other Americans. The guitar solo is perfect for this song. Another track that just makes sense on the album.

"Arena" continues with the rock theme, and the background music is great. Same problem with this song as i had with "In Sie Cloob". The spoken word is too goofy to become popular. Now that we have "Arena" on our minds I am going to go a little out of the way and skip a couple tracks to talk about "Arena (Arena Version)". This does not include Con Bro Chill's spoken word in certain parts of the song. This Arena version, is so much better. Proof that it is better: It has already been played at a NHL game in Minnesota at the Excel Energy Center.
Broseiden Connor Martin at his finest
Alright, the next song, "Come To My Party". This is a low on the album. It is actually the first song I ever listened to by Con Bro Chill. It was on the NLL 10 soundtrack. This is the one song that I always skipped over. It is just a little too "foolish" for me, but has decent musical tracks. As much as I don't like this song, the music video is really funny. Check it out here.

The next two songs are very short, and Con Bro Chill I thank you for this. These songs are the buzz-kills on the album. They just don't make sense when you look at the rest of the album. The names of these songs are "It's Lonely at The Top of The Charts" and "Anno Domini That Old Lady". Just by the title of the second song named you just know it won't fit on a dance album.

Okay back to the good vibes with "Rook Show". Not much to be said about this song except for it is pure awesomeness. It has exciting "Ohhhs" to start the song and continue throughout until the end. The lyrics are probably some of the best on the album as they are motivational. A good track to have towards the end to keep you entertained to the end.

The final track on the album, titled "Epic" is just that, and is the perfect outro for an album that was majority dance songs. It has the same riff that was in the intro song, just played a little less intense, to end the album on a good vibe.


Final Points:
-I find that Con Bro Chill is stuck between wanting to be a really good dance band, or a occasionally funny comedy band. They should stick with wanting to be a really good dance band. 
-This album is full of Dressing Room Anthems, which will have any lacrosse player drooling over the album

Top 3 Songs:

1. Partied Out
2. Dance Thief
3. Power Happy

Overall Rating: 7.5/10 Good
There were a couple songs that made the latter half of the album lose it's 3D feeling.  Other than that it is a good album that if more people knew about, would surpass many albums on the charts.

Now we want YOUR opinion! Leave your rating and review in the comment box and answer our poll question. 

Thanks for reading!

You can buy the album here.

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