Thursday, April 19, 2012

Brandon Francis Suspended A Semi-Appropriate Amount Of Games

Bandits forward Brandon Francis has been suspended for 3 games after an incident that occurred on Saturday night in a game against the Edmonton Rush. He received 2 games for cross checking Edmonton's Jimmy Quinlan in the face, and another for having 3 misconducts on the year. The play takes place in the corner of the video a few seconds in.

Quinlan was talking to John Tavares, and Francis decided that the best way to intervene was to deliver a nice check to the head.  Chris Corbeil wins team player of the game for going up against Francis, a guy much larger than him. It's not about winning the fight, but about standing up for your teammate. 

Gold Star, but not for the mustache.
Although it took a while to get a decision from the league, the right suspension length was delivered. I would have liked to see 3 on the hit along with the automatic game because of the multiple misconducts, but I can't be too picky. Good on ya NLL! It was a vicious, cowardly, and unnecessary hit that the game has no room for.

Francis will miss the rest of the regular season, as well a a playoff game if the Bandits make the playoffs. If the don't, then it will carry over to the next season. He was also fined a undisclosed amount of money.

Although this may be a bummer for Francis, I have trouble believing the Bandits are going to miss him that much. His job is becoming obsolete and one has to wonder is he has a place in the league at all. (Probably not.) (I mean he only has 3 goals all season.) (Really.)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Rush Take Down Bandits, Playoffs Look Near

By Avry Lewis-McDougall

The Rush and Bandits played each other like they were division rivals but in reality it was only the 3rd match up ever between the two clubs as they hooked up on Saturday night at the place known as Rexall as the Rush got a convincing 11-8 victory.

The game started off with the Bandits getting the early jump on Edmonton thanks to a Luke Wiles goal but Steve Toll just a few minutes later got his first on a breakaway beating Mikey Thompson to tie the game up uno to uno.

The rest of the first was a tug of war as Luke Wiles added another and Jimmy Purves beat Aaron Bold while, Shawn Williams and Derek Suddons scored for the Rush as the 1st Q ended 3-3. The Rush were able to change to momentum as Mikey Thompson was knocked out of the game after being run into in the crease and Anthony Cosmo came into the game.

The 2nd Q saw Zack Greer get in on the action as he gave Edmonton back the lead and Tom Johnson stepped up with a goal to make things a 5-3 game, but the master himself, John Tavares would not let the Rush pull away too far as he got his first of the night. Zack Greer got his 2nd of the game courtesy of the power play (a ton of these broke out for both teams) but guess what? The guys in black and orange would get two more goals to respond, one from Mark Steinhuis and another from Tavares as the teams went to the dressing rooms tied up at 6.

The rest of the review after the jump! 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

NLL Attendance Part 3: San Jose Washington

By Josh Bourhis

Today's edition of NLL Attendances is a little bit different, as it features only a single team, divided into two cities. It's the Washington Stealth, formerly known as the San Jose Stealth. The reason why I combined them is the Washington Stealth have not been around long enough to show considerable data, and the attendances are almost exact in the two cities.

 **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.

View the Graph after the jump:

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

NLL Atendance Numbers Part 2: Minnesota Philadelphia

By Josh Bourhis

Welcome back to another installment of NLL Attendances, a 5 part mini series discussing why certain teams generate certain attendances. In Part 2 our two teams are Philadelphia and Minnesota. These teams have some very interesting graphs. Minnesota is all over the place whereas Philly has had a constant decline since 2005.

In this blog we had to ask some of the lacrosse community why these attendances dropped and we found that it wasn't just poor play, but some other interesting factors.

**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.

View the graph and get the low-down after the jump:

Monday, April 2, 2012

Does Winning Face Offs Mean Winning Games?

NLL face offs: "Yeah, it's kinda like this."
The key to winning a game is scoring goals when you have possession of the ball and stopping your opponents from scoring when they are in control. That's pretty much common sense to every sports fan and athlete out there so let's go a little deeper. Not only do you want to score when you have possession, but you want to maximize how many possessions your team has.

How do you increase your possessions in lacrosse? One of the ways is through winning face offs. If you win the face off then you have control of the ball but a loss in the circle could lead to a goal against. 

Mike came to me the other day wanting to know just how much effect face off percentage had on a team's winning percentage or goal scoring totals. If you know me well (or even just a very little), you know that I can't say no to someone when they give me an opportunity to combine my love of mathematics and sports. I compiled the team stats that had for every team in the last three years and calculated the correlation between different stats.

Before I get into the results, let me explain to you what correlation is. Correlation shows the relation between a two variables (a dependent and an independent). Correlation is represented by the correlation coefficient (r) and can show us how much effect face offs have on anything. r is measured on a scale from -1 (negative relation) to +1 (positive relation). If data has an r value of -1, this means that as the independent variable increases then the dependent decreases and vice versa. An example of this would be as someone exercises more, their body fat decreases. An r value of +1 means that both variables increase or decrease at the same time. For example, as someone eats more food their weight goes up and as they diet their weight goes down. If r is around 0, there is no relation between the two variables.

Back to lacrosse. Here are the correlations between FO% / FO% ratio (FO% divided by opponent's FO%) and multiple stats.

For a correlation to be considered "strong", the absolute value of r should be at 0.6 or higher. As you can see, all of the r values for both FO% and FO% ratio are down under 0.2 (except for shots ratio which measures how much a team is out shooting their opposition). This leads me to the conclusion that winning face offs aren't nearly as important as I once thought.

So, why aren't they so important if they give a team extra possessions? An easy answer would be to cite turnovers. In the last three years, there have been approximately the same number of turnovers per team per game as there have been face offs per game. This means that the ball changes hands faster than teams can score goals. In addition to turnovers, how often do we see teams win the face off and then sit back until they get the right personnel onto the floor? Quite a bit. If teams were to pressure more off of the face off, I think that winning the FO might lead to more goals.

I'm not saying that winning face offs aren't important. They just aren't as important as I originally assumed. If I had access to overtime only stats, I would be willing to bet money on the team that wins the face off scores the goal the most often. In other words, face off wins have more leverage in overtime than they do in the first 60 minutes.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Rush Get Massive Win In Overtime

By Avry Lewis-McDougall

OT always brings magic and in this case it worked out just fine for the home team playing in the capital of Alberta. The Edmonton Rush got their 2nd win in a row with their 9-8 win over the Minnesota Swarm at Rexall thanks to an Aaron Wilson goal just 38 seconds into overtime. The Rush offense was lead early on by Zack Greer, Ryan Ward and Shawn Williams as they were able to give the Rush a 4-2 lead after the first frame. 16 shots on net showed the team has been improving in that aspect as shots on net has been an Achilles heel for the team all season long.

The 2nd saw more offensive firepower from the Rush as Zack Greer, Aaron Wilson and Corey Small were able to put up tallies but Minny hung around in the ball game thanks to goals from Kevin Ross, Jay Card and Josh Gillam.The Rush offence started strong in the first half with 8 goals before halftime and a strong performance in net from Aaron Bold who stood on his head as the Rush had an 8-4 lead going into the half.

The 3rd saw the switch flip as the Rush were unable to get anything going as the Swarm got two goals in the quarter another one from Jay Card and Tyler Hass to make it an 8-6 game going into the quarter that is commonly known as the 4th.

A complete shutdown of the offense occurred for Edmonton as they put up another goose egg on the board but guess what? Minnesota didn't as they tied the game up at 8 thanks to goals from Callum Crawford and Kevin Ross to send the game to overtime.

Overtime lasted about as long as it takes for me to wash my hands thanks to the Aaron Wilson goal which was set up by a great pass from Jeff Cornwall to beat Evan Kirk.

The Rush improve to 4-7 on the season and sit 4th in the West Division thanks to the Calgary Roughnecks beating Washington 13-11 on Saturday. Edmonton travels to Toronto next week to play the Rock on April 7th and Minnesota plays Philly on April 6th.

Three Stars of the game:
#1: Zack Greer (EDM) 3 goals. Clearly the first star as his play helped spark the Rush early in the contest.
#2: Kevin Ross (MIN), 3 goals 1 assist. He kept the Swarm in the ball game when it looked like the Rush were going to pull away and turn the game into a blowout.
#3 Ryan Ward (EDM) 3 goals, 1 assist. Ward was another key cog in the Rush O.

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