Wednesday, March 28, 2012

NLL Attendance Numbers Part 1: Buffalo Colorado

By Josh Bourhis

After doing spreadsheet after spreadsheet, going through every attendance for every team since 2005 I have decided I want to discuss possible reasons for why certain teams generate certain attendances. For the next 5 weeks I will be bringing you short quick hits including graphs and exact numbers of Team Attendances of every current team for every year they have been active since 2005.

**Note:The 2012 attendances for all of the 5 articles will be shown with attendance figures as of the March 24,25,26 weekend so the league average will not fluctuate week to week.

Today we start with the first two teams: Buffalo and Colorado. These teams are not the ones of concern which is why I will start with them. From 2003-2008 Colorado had a winning record almost every one of those years and won the champions cup in 2006. This is the reason fans have consistently been coming to the games. What is really amazing is the Mammoth since the 2007 season have been getting more fans then the Avalanche, their NHL team. Buffalo, from 2003- 2011 have been consistently competitive, with a championship in 2008 and second place twice.

See the graph for Buffalo and Colorado after the jump

Monday, March 19, 2012

NLL TRADE DEADLINE HYPE-O-MATIC 3000

The NLL trade deadline is tomorrow and we here at the NLL Blog are giving it as much hype as the fine fellows at TSN do for the NHL trade deadline! Well maybe close.

So Far:
On Monday, the eve of the deadline, a surprising move was made by the Free-falling Rock who traded away a 2014 first round pick for Calgary back-up goaltender, and Orangeville native Nick Rose. The Rock then released Matt Roik who was the first goalie not named Bob Watson to be the definitive starter for Toronto.

Roik gave up 7 goals on 11 shots against the Bandits on route to their 3rd strait loss and Rock GM Terry Sanderson felt they needed to make a move to shake things up. Roik ended up the scapegoat. Has he been great for Toronto? Not at all. He currently has the ninth best Save percentage among goaltenders that have played at least 100 minutes. He also hasn't been the reason for every loss so far as different areas of the team have been inconsistent at other points so far this season. I personally think it is a lateral move if anything, knowing that Rose is still unproven, and the rest of the team are still working with injuries and inconsistency.

The other moves that were made Monday were the signings of Chris Schiller to the Philadelphia Wings and Ben Prepchuck to the Edmonton Rush practice roster.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Roughnecks Take Round One of Home and Home Against Rush

By Josh Bourhis

The Big "E" on the Rush Twitter jerseys stood for Evans Friday, but it came up short as the Rush fell to the Roughnecks 13-10.

J.Kushneryk Images

It took until the fourth quarter for the Rush to get things going, and it was too much of "too little, too late". Scott Evans had an incredible 6 goal 7 point night, but in the end it was Curtis "Rush Killer" Dickson who stole the show with a 7 point night of his own. He has totalled a hat trick in every one of his last 6 games against the Rush which led to his new nickname "Rush Killer".

The Rush kept it close in the first quarter but fell down 8-4 to start the last frame. 10 seconds into the fourth Kyle Rubisch potted a great goal on Poulin after a rare faceoff win for the Rush. Then it was off to the races for Scott Evans who scored two more after and assisted on a great goal by Aaron Wilson. Suddenly it was all tied at 8 with the momentum on the Rush's side. It stayed that way for four minutes until Calgary shot back with three unanswered to take the lead again. Cue Scott Evans as he pots his fifth and then his sixth to cap off the impressive Sock Trick. The game was in reach for the Rush until Curtis Dickson came up with a clutch goal to curb the comeback.

Zack Greer and Greg Harnett got into a tilt in the third and Greer who is not known to be a fighter stood in until the very end when Harnett landed a couple of big rights to end the fight. This bad blood will carry over into Saturdays game, when they face off again. This is a job well done by the league scheduling home and home Calgary Edmonton games as it allows for the heated rivalry to flourish. What adds to the storyline in these Battle of Alberta's are the battles of the brothers Shawn and Scott Evans and Travis and Jeff Cornwall. In the big scheme of things however the Rush have seemed like the little brother in Battle of Alberta losing 18 of the 22 games since their inception versus Calgary. This is also Calgary's 8th straight win over the Rush.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Edmonton Rush to Wear Twitter Handles on Back of Jerseys

Classy
By Josh Bourhis

A few days ago the Edmonton Rush announced that they are going to follow in the footsteps of the Philadelphia Wings and have their players wear jerseys with their twitter handles on the back. They will be the first Canadian team to do so, which is a step in the right direction. The NLL is a league that needs to use social media to build the game; however, it's too soon after the Wings did it.


According to a picture on the Rush website the jerseys will be their regular white home jerseys with their "@username" on the back, just like the picture above. What is surprising is they didn't decide to go with a unique design. This was a chance for the Rush to get creative, and instead they just decided to only change the namebars. We can only hope that the picture below is just an example and they actually do have a special jersey design. There is also no word on if they will auction off the jerseys. The auctioning off of special jerseys is a great way to give fans a chance to get a unique item, and to put the money toward a good cause.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Bye Bye Bye (Our New Playoff Format)

By Josh Bourhis

After a long discussion with all the writers here at the NLLBlog, we have decided to reach out to our fans with articles from a different take. We promise to bring you more exciting articles, and talk about things that are effecting the league in positive and negative ways. We want to bring you our opinion on different topics, and it starts with this article.

The Holy Grail of the NLL
Playoffs: A series of contests to determine the winner of a championship, played between the LEADING teams in different divisions.

The Problem:
Notice how "Leading" is bolded? The reason why it's bolded is because of the current playoff format in the NLL. For those who aren't aware the top 4 teams in each division make it, and it's played 1 vs.4, 2 vs. 3, winner moves on. The only problem is the West division has 5 teams and the East has 4. Does it make sense for 8 of the 9 make the playoffs? No. To have every team but one to make the playoffs lowers the competion level come the last couple of games because by then, the team that isn't making it is pretty much decided.  The format needs to be changed. I understand because it is a small league, that they want lots of teams to make the playoffs to keep fan interest in all cities, but lets be honest, it just makes the regular season less exciting.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

GDB: The Injury Bowl (Rock v. Stealth)

Before you get on me, this isn't a Rush preview, it is a Stealth/Rock preview. This isn't the Rush Blog as much as I has seemed to make it so. It's the NLL Blog so I'm going to do another game this week. GET OFF MY BACK! The Rush also don't play this week soooo...

Oh boy am I excited to see Colin Doyle in action this week! Oh? he's not playing? Well at least I get to see Blaine Manning! Hometown kid! He's out too? Huh. Well maybe this is a good time for Rhys "Clutch" Duch and the boys to get their second win! What? You're kidding. Tyler Richards? Damn. Why am I previewing this game? Oh right because it's going to be on TV*. Right. OK let's go!

On Saturday night the Washington Stealth will travel out east to face the Toronto Rock in a Champions Cup rematch. The Rock currently lead the Eastern Division with a 4-3 record, while the Stealth sit at the bottom of the West and the league with a 1-6 record.

Even with their highly skilled offensive personnel, Washington still scores the least amount of goals per game at 9.29. On the other side of the floor things don't get much better as they also give up a league worst 13 goals per game. Tyler Richards, now injured as mentioned above, wasn't the problem, sporting a respectable .775 Save Percentage. Matt King and Chris Seidel are both well below .7 in relief. Seidel has been moved to the practice roster and former Rush/Swarm goaltender Kevin Croswell has been brought in. Defense has never been a strength of the Stealth, usually the offence is there to bail it out, but not this year.

Athan Iannucci was brought in to help out the offence, and so far has been able to put up 2 goals and 4 assists in 2 games. Not flying high.

Kyle Sorensen is will back in the lineup so there's some good news.


The Washington Stealth: Making the Edmonton Rush  look good since 2012
Interesting stat from Graeme Perrow from NLL Chatter:
"The Rock with Colin Doyle for a full game are 0-3. The Rock with Doyle for less then half the game (or not at all) are 4-0." 
The Rock got out to a slow start this season but seem to be getting their legs back underneath them. Because I picked him as my MVP, Stephan Leblanc isn't playing up to expectations, but is still chipping in with 7 goals and 24 points so far.

Stepping up huge for Toronto in Doyle and Manning's absence has been Garrett Billings who leads the team with 42 points, which is good for 4th in the league.

Both teams have had a tough time with injuries so far, so the playing field is leveled.

Prediction: The combination of the Rock being good, the Stealth not being good, and the fact that Washington has to travel across the continent to play, doesn't play well for the bombers.

Toronto wins 15-9

*On TSN2 in Canada, ESPN3 in The USA, and and will be shown on tape delay on ROOT Sports Northwest at 9:30pm PT on Saturday and at 12:30am Sunday.