Garrett who?

Garrett Billings has been out of the Rock lineup all season but his agent tweeted last week that Billings has been cleared to play. So where is he? Not only has he not played, but the Rock haven’t said a word about him. No tweets, no mention of him at games, nothing. I’m hearing that Billings is an RFA but has not signed a contract with the Rock. Now that the team is 8-1 and first overall, they’re not exactly desperate to get him back into the lineup, so the combination of Billings being ready and the Rock’s silence has raised rumours that he’s going to be traded. The two big questions here are: 1. Where? 2. For who?

Seeing as he’s from Langley BC, the obvious choice is the Vancouver Stealth, and I do remember seeing a tweet this past weekend (though I can’t remember who and I can’t find it now) that implied that Billings would only play for the Rock or the Stealth. Then on Saturday night, Teddy Jenner tweeted:

This startled a few people but he clarified later that there had been no move and he was just referring to the rumours.

Garrett Billings

Interesting aside: Note the similarity in the picture above to the player in the NLL logo.

The “for who” question is even more interesting. What would the Rock want in return? Billings is arguably the best player in the NLL over the past three seasons (though Cody Jamieson might disagree), so any deal better be significant. But the Rock are 8-1 and don’t really need anything. They have the best 1-2 goaltender combo in the league. Their defense is also among the best in the league and they’ve scored more goals per game than anyone except, ironically, the Stealth. If the Rock trade Billings anywhere in the east or for anything less than three first round draft picks, Jamie Dawick should fire himself as GM.

Personally, I think the best idea for the Rock would be to keep Billings and drop a defender (likely Bill Greer since he was just called up, though I’d be OK with Patrick Merrill or Bill Hostrawser since they take too many penalties). But if they decide they can’t and they want to trade Billings for Rhys Duch, I guess I could live with that. Or I’d take Tyler Digby and a couple of first rounders. But Duch and Digby are both right-handed, as is Billings, so the Rock would end up with the same “problem”, if you want to call having too many talented players a problem.

Maybe Billings can get together with Jeremy Noble and just hang out until their teams stop playing so well.

Update: As Tyler brought up on Addicted to Lacrosse, this was the same injury that Athan Iannucci had back in about 2008 and he was never the same afterwards. In my discussion above, I was assuming that Billings will be 100% back to his old self – if not right away, then shortly thereafter. But it’s possible that he may never get back to where he was. Perhaps three first round picks for the old Garrett Billings might have been fair but until we know how full his recovery was, nobody’s going to give up three firsts for an unknown.


Here’s an unrelated thing I want to bitch about but doesn’t warrant an entire article: the Western Union commercials that have been playing during NLL games. One features Swarm defender David Earl talking about when he was struggling at college and his father came to visit him and helped him get back on track. The other has Mammoth forward Drew Westervelt, who talks about discovering his dyslexia and how his family was very helpful and supportive while he worked to overcome the academic problems that came with that. But then the narrator says “Western Union is there for you”. Are they really trying to equate or even compare their services with the support and care that a family provides? And what the hell does “Moving money for better” mean? It’s not even an English sentence. Are these commercials supposed to make me want to use their services?

Game report: New England 12 @ Toronto 13

I said in my contribution to this week’s Winners and Losers column on IL Indoor that everything is going right for the Toronto Rock. Friday night’s game was kind of a microcosm of that – they played their worst game of the season and still won.

Now, the phrase “their worst game of the season” doesn’t tell the whole story. The Rock have played very well so far this season, and even their loss to Rochester was a solid performance – I did not see it but John Lovell said that it was their best game to that point despite the fact that they lost. So with such a high bar, “worst game” doesn’t mean they played badly. But they weren’t great.

Both teams started out strong, with both goaltenders making some pretty impressive stops and both defenses preventing the offenses from getting good shots off. Evan Kirk was lights out and the New England defense was also playing very well. The Rock offense couldn’t get much going – they managed a 3-on-0 breakaway in the second quarter as two Black Wolves defenders bumped into each other and both fell, but didn’t score. Brandon Miller made some good stops but got beat by a number of low shots and rollers.

I tweeted at halftime that “One of these teams is looking like they’re 3-4. And it’s not the Black Wolves.” I blew it a little because the Wolves were actually 2-3, not 3-4, but the idea is the same. The third quarter was even worse for the Rock, and might have been the worst quarter they’ve played this year. Four New England goals within five minutes put the Rock down by five, which seemed to be the nail in the Rock’s coffin. Brandon Miller was replaced by Nick Rose after the third of those four goals and Nick had a much better game than Brandon did. Miller wasn’t terrible but didn’t seem to be seeing the ball well, while Rose saw everything.

Then late in the third, Stephen Leblanc scored a nice shorthanded goal on a pass from Nick Rose, where he spun around and backhanded it over a sprawling Evan Kirk. Brett Hickey scored just two minutes later and the Rock went into the 4th quarter only down by 3. This seemed to energize them, and they realized that they were still in this game. Josh Sanderson and Joel White traded goals in the first half of the fourth and then the Rock offense started clicking just as the New England defense stopped. The Rock scored their own four in five minutes and took a one-goal lead with under three minutes left.

That lead only held up for a minute and a half before Kyle Buchanan’s 4th of the game tied it again, and we were off to overtime. Given the season he’s having, it’s only fitting that Josh Sanderson continued his crazy scoring pace by scoring the OT winner only 40 seconds in. It’s a great story – the former superstar player on the down side of his career who has a big comeback after the death of his father and mentor. But Josh isn’t just having a good season – he’s making a serious bid for league MVP here. I haven’t seen him work this hard in years.

There was a pretty decent fight in the second quarter, which I’m sure we’ll discuss on Sunday night’s Addicted to Lacrosse show. Jamie Lincoln picked a fight with Jesse Gamble which turned out to be a bad idea. It wasn’t exactly a heavyweight bout; Gamble is only 5’9″ and 180 lbs, while Lincoln is taller at 6’1″ but only 185 lbs. They wrestled to get their helmets off but Gamble managed to keep his on the whole fight. Gamble demolished Lincoln, landing punch after punch, but the fact that he never got his helmet off changed things a little. It’s highly possible that Lincoln didn’t want to throw bare-knuckle punches at Gamble’s helmet so he ended up just taking the punches and so the fight looked a lot more one-sided than it would have been. On the other hand, it could be that Gamble’s helmet was of little consequence because Lincoln never landed a punch anyway.

So the Rock are now leading the league at 7-1 while the Black Wolves fall to 2-4 and last in the East. Toronto plays in Edmonton next Friday night while the Black Wolves host the Mammoth on Sunday afternoon.

Other game notes:

  • Obviously the two teams scored the same number of goals in regulation time. But here’s how they did it:
    • Rock scored 2, then Black Wolves scored 2
    • Rock scored 1, Black Wolves 1, Rock 1, Black Wolves 1
    • Black Wolves scored 6 of the next 7
    • Rock scored 6 of the next 7
    • Rock scored 1, Black Wolves scored 1
    • OT: Toronto scored 1
  • After a good Brandon Miller save, Bruce Barker announced “A thrilla by Milla!” My son remarked “It’s not as bad as ‘You’ve been Roiked!’ but close”
  • (Warning: old guy comment coming) Please ACC, turn the music down. It has nothing to do with my hearing – I don’t want to feel my chest vibrating in time with the bass at a sporting event. A concert, maybe, but not a lacrosse game. Even my 15-year-old son who listens to nothing but Billy Talent and Rush thought it was a bit loud.

The NLL Pronunciation Guide 2015

Presenting the NLL Pronunciation Guide for the 2015 season. I did this once a few years ago and now it’s become an annual tradition – here’s last year’s guide. People have even started giving me suggestions for players to include, which is awesome.

This was originally done because I got tired of hearing play-by-play guys and other announcers talking about NLL players and butchering their names. Four years later… same. Ah well. But this isn’t really done as a criticism of these announcers; many of them are new to lacrosse or the NLL so they’re simply not as familiar with the players as others.

Names are organized alphabetically within teams.

Buffalo

Ryan Benesch – buh-NESH

Kevin Brownell – brow-NELL. brow rhymes with COW. Like half of the other names in the league, as you’ll see.

Chad Culp – CHAD CULP. Like BIG GULP. Probably the easiest name to pronounce in the league. Except for maybe John Grant, but then you have to remember the whole “silent h” thing in John.

Davide Diruscio – Never heard this name said aloud, but I’d guess it’s duh-ROOSH-ee-o. I’m assuming his nickname is ROOSH. If not, it should be. I’m also assuming that “Davide” is pronounced like “David”. The guy’s 6’3″ and 300 lbs so I really hope I got it right.

Alexander Kedoh Hill – Kedoh sounds like KID-o. Apparently nobody calls him Alex or Alexander.

Steve Priolo – pree-O-lo

Joe Resetarits – res-uh-TARE-its

Dhane Smith – DANE

Mark Steenhuis – STAIN-house

John Tavares – tuh-VAR-es

Jay Thorimbert – I believe it’s THOR-im-burt though I can’t stop myself from saying it as THOR-im-bare

Nick Weiss – WEES

 

Calgary

Dane Dobbie – DOUGH-bee. Not like Dobby.

Karsen Leung – lee-UNG

Jeff Moleski – muh-LESS-ski

Mike Poulin – POO-lin

Frankie Scigliano – shill-ee-ANN-o

Geoff Snider – JEFF SNY-der. One of my pet peeves is when he’s called SHNY-der.

 

Colorado

Alex Buque – boo-KAY

Tyler Codron – COD-run

Joey Cupido – koo-PEE-do

John Gallant – gull-ANT

Athan Iannucci – eye-uh-NOOCH-ee. Or just NOOCH.

Eli McLaughlin – E-lie muh-GLOCK-lin

Sean Pollock – SHAWN POLL-uck

Creighton Reid – CRAY-ton

Bob Snider – SNY-der

Drew Westervelt – WEST-er-velt

 

Edmonton

Nik Bilic – BIL-itch

Chris Corbeil – cor-BEEL

Riley Loewen – LOW-en. LOW is like the word low, not rhyming with COW.

Brett Mydske – MID-skee

Adrian Sorichetti – sore-i-KET-ee

Kyle Rubisch – ROO-bish.

 

Minnesota

Mitch Belisle – buh-LYLE

Callum Crawford – CAL-um. Not CAY-lum.

Alex Crepinsek – CREP-in-seck

Kiel Matisz – KYLE muh-TEEZ

Logan Schuss – SHUSS (rhymes with BUS). Not SHUSH.

Corbyn Tao – COR-bin TOW (TOW rhymes with COW)

 

New England

Tye Belanger – buh-LAHN-jay

Matt Crough – CROW. Like the bird.

Kevin Crowley – CROW-lee. Not like the bird. In this case, CROW rhymes with COW.

Michael Diehl – DEEL

Ryan Hotaling – ho-TAL-ing

Brian Megill – muh-GILL

 

Rochester

Stephen Keogh – KEY-o

Matt Vinc – like the name VINCE. Not VINK

Cory Vitarelli – vit-uh-REL-ee

 

Toronto

Kasey Beirnes – BEERns. Not BEER-ness and not BURNS

Nick Diachenko – dee-a-CHENG-ko.

Rob Hellyer – HELL-yer. Don’t forget the Y – it’s not HELL-er.

Billy Hostrawser – HO-straw-zer.

Stephen Leblanc – STEFF-in luh-BLONK. Not luh-BLANK.

 

Vancouver

Colin Boucher – Rhymes with the word VOUCHER. Scott Arnold said it better: “it’s pronounced like pouch, like a kangaroo pouch, but with a B (& obviously an er at the end)” and Colin confirmed.

Rhys Duch – REES DUTCH

Ilija Gajic – ILL-ee-ya GUY-ch

Tyler Hass – HASS. Rhymes with pass.

 

Non-players

Steve Bermel – BERM-ull. Rhymes with “thermal”. Bandits beat writer.

Aime Caines – I believe his first name is pronounced like AMY.  Swarm assistant coach.

Melissa Dafni – DAF-nee. One of my co-hosts on Addicted to Lacrosse.

Jamie Dawick – DOW-ick. DOW rhymes with COW. Owner & GM of the Rock.

Tyler Fitch – TY-ler FITCH. My other co-host on Addicted to Lacrosse.

Mike Hasen – HAY-zen. Knighthawks head coach.

Marisa Ingemi – muh-RISS-a in-JEM-ee. In Lacrosse We Trust writer.

Darris Kilgour – DARE-iss KILL-gore. Not DARE-ee-us. Former Bandits coach/GM.

Curt Malawsky – muh-LOW-skee. LOW rhymes with COW. Or Brownell. Or Dawick. Or Tao. Or Crowley.

Dan Perreault –purr-O. Not pair-ALT. Sounds similar to my name but the emphasis is on the O. Stealth head coach.

Graeme Perrow – GRAY-um PAIR-o. Yours truly. Sounds similar to Perreault but just like Dolly Parton, the emphasis is on the PAIR.

Craig Rybczynski – rib-CHIN-skee. Knighthawks broadcaster.

Grant Spies – SPEEZ. NLL ref.

Kaleb Toth – KAY-leb TOE-th, not TAW-th. Stealth assistant coach.

Game report: Buffalo 11 @ Toronto 13

My first game report of the season! And what a game. A back-and-forth game between the Rock and Bandits where the first and third quarters ended up tied, and the second and fourth ended with different teams having two-goal leads. True to form between these two teams, there was a little bit of chippiness and the beginnings of a fight or two though nothing ever came of them except roughing penalties. But unlike most encounters between these two, there was an unprecedented display of class before the game even started, and I give full credit to the Bandits for that.

As the 2015 Rock team was announced, they came out onto the field and started gathering near centre, rather than their customary place on the far restraining line. (“far” meaning the far end of the floor from where they come out as they are announced.) Once most of the team was there, I realized they were forming a big T and that this was likely in honour of Terry Sanderson, who passed away back in November. The team paid respect to a number of people in the lacrosse community that had passed away over the past few months, including Chris Hall, Jim Jennings, Tucker Williams, and finally Sanderson.

After the Bandits took the floor (to their customary chorus of boos), the Rock moved to the restraining line and a video tribute to Terry Sanderson played on the video board, after which came one of the most classy things I’ve seen at a sporting event. The entire Bandits team left their place on the other restraining line and crossed the floor to shake hands with or hug the Rock players. It wasn’t a full handshake line like you’d see after a game, but each player shook hands with a couple of Rock players. Anthony Cosmo actually did go down the entire team shaking hands with everybody, stopping to give Josh Sanderson a hug. (I originally thought this was because he’s a former Rock player until I realized that that was over ten years ago.) The Bandits then came back to their side of centre for the national anthems and the game began.

The Bandits have been known for years as a physical team, frequently undisciplined, and I’ve even heard them described as a team of thugs. The first two are accurate but even at the height of the “Darris’s Bad Boys of Banditland” days, the third is a stretch. But whatever your feelings on the Bandits as a team, the pregame handshake was a classy show of respect and, dare I say, love for one of the most influential men in NLL history.

Here’s a crappy picture that I took of the T:

Blurry T

And here’s one from the Rock web site. If you look between the two goalies and go straight up, there’s a shadowy circle in the crowd. I’m at the bottom right edge of the circle.

#RIPT

But on to the game, which was exciting and entertaining and featured great goals (some of which actually counted), great saves at both ends, ugly goals, lots of posts, and some very angry Bandits.

The first Rock goal at home this season was scored by Brodie Merrill, his first of two, on a pass from Sandy Chapman. His second goal was unassisted and ended up being the game-winner but those two goals provided the only points from Rock transition players or defenders in this game. Not that the transition was bad, just ineffective against the Buffalo defense. They’d get up the floor quickly, then realize that the Bandits defenders got onto the floor just as quickly, and so their transition chance had gone away. Most of the time they’d turn around and wait for the O guys to get out there rather than try to weave their way through for a low-percentage shot. This was almost always the right call.

The game went back and forth throughout the first half, with the Rock thinking they were going to finish the first quarter with a lead but then Ryan Benesch scored with 0.8 seconds left on the clock to tie it up. In the second, three goals were scored in the first minute but then only three more over the next 14, and Buffalo took a lead into halftime. In the third, Toronto tied it up and took two leads but neither one lasted even a minute. Finally in the 4th Brett Hickey gave the Rock the lead they’d never give up, and though Benesch subsequently scored his 4th and 5th of the game, it wasn’t quite enough.

Nick Rose had seen exactly 0 minutes of action this season prior to this game, but didn’t look rusty at all and had a great game. About 6 minutes into the second quarter, he made three outstanding saves in the span of about five seconds. Anthony Cosmo had a pretty good game but seemed off just a bit. A number of times he moved to make a save only to have the ball deflect off of him into the goal. If he’d moved just a touch faster he would have made the save. In one case he made the save, but the rebound hit Mitch Wilde’s foot and rolled under Cosmo into the net.

Brock Sorensen almost scored his second goal of the season in the 4th. Cosmo had been pulled and Sorensen managed to grab a loose ball and fire it towards the empty net. It landed short and bounced over the net, and the Bandits grabbed it. I could see Sorensen berating himself for not getting closer before shooting. He was even more angry with himself when Benesch scored on the very next play so instead of 12-9 Rock, it was now 11-10.

In the last 30 seconds of the game, the Bandits got possession and started to come up the floor but before they could get their offense set up, the Rock managed to grab the ball and start coming the other way. That’s when I noticed Troy Cordingley making the “time-out” signal towards the ref but of course you can’t call a timeout when the other team has the ball. Cordingley started shouting at the ref so I assumed that he had been calling for a time-out ever since the Bandits got the ball, but the ref didn’t notice. Suddenly something flew from the area of the Bandits bench towards the referee – it looked like a shoe. My first thought was “Troy’s in trouble now”. The ref’s hand immediately went up but the game ended before any penalty was assessed. Troy immediately went over to the ref area to return his challenge flag and have a conversation with the ref, which I’m sure began “Excuse me, my good man, but I was wondering if I might have a word.” But while Cordingley was mad, Anthony Cosmo was LIVID, and I don’t know if it was even about the same thing. It was almost funny – he was at the refs semi-circle yelling and jumping around, then stopped to join the handshake line, then went back to shout at the refs some more. Eventually Troy had to put his arm around Cosmo and lead him away, but he was even yelling at someone on the Bandits bench as he headed to the locker room. Think of how angry you’d have to be for Troy Cordingley to say “OK, let’s just take it easy here.”

In the game sheet, Billy Dee Smith was given an unsportsmanlike conduct minor AND misconduct as well as a game misconduct at 15:00 of the 4th, so perhaps it was Smith and not Troy who threw whatever it was.

Other game notes:

  • In addition to the pre-game handshake, there was another thing I had never seen before: Nick Rose made a save in the first and the ball went into his equipment and he couldn’t find it. He tried shaking his leg pads, shoulder pads, jersey, shorts, no ball. He jumped around a bit, trying to dislodge it from wherever it was. Eventually (this whole thing took over a minute) he dropped his gloves, reached up his shorts, and managed to find it, to great applause. There’s an inappropriate joke in there somewhere, but I just… can’t… quite…
  • The posts are a goalie’s best friends. Less than ten minutes into the game, the Bandits had already hit both posts and the crossbar. I think they hit at least 7 posts during the game. Ryan Benesch hit three posts on one shot: it hit the right post, then the left post, then the right post again and finally dropped in the net.
  • About mid-way through the second, Dhane Smith scored a beautiful goal, jumping to catch a pass and shooting while still in the air. Unfortunately for him, the shot clock buzzer sounded while he was in the air but before he shot so the goal didn’t count. Similarly, Stephen Leblanc scored a nice one later in the game that also went in after the buzzer.
  • Toronto fans are generally pretty knowledgeable about the game, but in the 2nd they blew it. Brodie Merrill threw the ball into the corner well after the shot clock buzzer sounded, resulting in a well-deserved Delay of Game penalty. Rock fans booed the call, even though Buffalo had already gotten a similar penalty for a similar infraction, and the Rock had already gotten away with one without a penalty (and got away with another one in the third). When your team does something clearly against the rules (and that the refs are cracking down on) three times and only get called for it once, you should probably not complain about the once.
  • The Rock had two short-handed goals while the Bandits had one. But the Rock’s were both in the 4th quarter and included the game-winner.
  • I didn’t know this until after the game, but a former NLL player named Joe Hiltz (scored 80 points with the Baltimore Thunder in ’99) was sitting behind us and the guy next to us was a former NLL ref.

Non-game notes:

  • Thanks to GO Transit and the Rock for getting us home for free! My son and I took the train in to the game, which was nice and relaxing. Got to read and doze a little on the way in and not worry about traffic or construction, and also knew that the ride home would be free. We went for dinner with a bunch of friends, which was great (other than the wind in the restaurant – see the next note), then walked to the Rock game, which was exciting and they won. A relaxing return trip to Burlington on the train (more reading and dozing), and a short drive home. A lovely evening.
  • Note that if you ever go to Fran’s on Front just east of Yonge in Toronto, don’t sit by the door in the winter. The glass in the front vestibule doesn’t go all the way to the wall, and when the outside door is open, cold air comes in through that one-inch gap. This is even worse when the outside door is broken and the wind holds it open until you go and pull it closed, which we must have done twenty times during the meal. We also stuffed a coat into the gap, which made it a little more bearable. The food was good, as it always is, but the draftiness was unpleasant. I tweeted this information to Fran’s twitter account, and they’ve responded saying that maintenance is already scheduled. Good news.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

Weirdest. Season. Ever.

I know it’s only two weeks in and things can certainly change but I think I can safely say that nobody would have predicted many of the things happening so far this season. Give yourself a pat on the back if you saw any of these things coming:

  • Brett HickeyThe New England Black Wolves start the year 2-0 with a convincing win against the Bandits and a blowout against the Knighthawks
  • Rochester starts the year 0-2, averaging <10 goals per game
  • Edmonton starts 0-2
  • Calgary starts 0-2 despite averaging 15 goals per game
  • Matt Vinc, Tyler Richards, and Mike Poulin all have GAAs above 15
  • Dillon Ward’s GAA is over 14 and he’s 2-0.
  • The Toronto Rock replaces Colin Doyle and Garrett Billings with Brett Hickey and NOBODY ELSE (on offense) and still averages >16 goals per game
  • Josh Sanderson is averaging over 10 points per game
  • Johnny Powless has 1 goal and 5 assists in 2 games. Transition player Ilija Gajic has more points for the Stealth than Powless.

On the other hand, there are definitely things that we did see (or could have seen) coming:

  • Miles Thompson and Ben McIntosh have both been impactful in their first couple of NLL games
  • Evan Kirk is looking like a Goaltender of the Year candidate. Kirk was outstanding in his rookie year of 2012 but after a dismal sophomore year, he came back a little last year in Philly and has been lights-out so far this season in New England.
  • The top of the scoring leader list contains names like Sanderson, Grant, Evans, Duch, Jones, Jamieson, Crawford.
  • Anthony Cosmo’s GAA and save % are both among the league leaders
  • Colorado beat Calgary in overtime – their fourth straight OT game

 

Like I said though, all of these unusual things can and probably will change. Powless will get hot. The goalies mentioned will undoubtedly get better. The undefeated teams will lose and the winless teams will win. The Rock scoring average will probably drop, though how far is anyone’s guess.

But the unexpected is one reason why I love the NLL.

Week 1 picks

Here we go again! Just like I’ve done over the past couple of years, I’m posting my picks for each and every game this season. Last season I did great with my picks, ending up with a 58-23 record, or 71.6%. The previous years weren’t nearly as good. I finished the 2013 season at 33-39, or 45.8%, and the 2012 season at 31-41, or 43.1%. My percentages are getting better though, and if I jump 25.8 percentage points like I did last year, I’ll be at 97.4% which means I’ll get 2 picks wrong all season. I’m all for optimism and everything, but I’m going say that’s unlikely. Honestly, I’ll be happy if I’m over .500.

Record: 0-0 (.000)

Game
Comments
Pick
BUF @ NE I picked the Black Wolves to finish last in the East, but I kind of hope I’m wrong and they have a great season. It would be better for new fans to have a successful team – I mean, look at how the Washington Stealth’s attendance increased when they were successful! OK, bad example.

New England has a bunch of good players but no great players. With the right team chemistry, this can still bring success but it’s too much of a crapshoot so I have to pick against them at least until we get more familiar with the team.

Bandits
EDM @ BUF After the season Edmonton had in 2014, how can you pick against them? Rush
TOR @ ROC The Rock are my team and I hate picking against them, but I have to go with the three-time champs here. Once I see how the Rock offense is handling the loss of Doyle and Billings I may change my mind but for now, their offense is a bit of a question mark. Knighthawks
COL @ MIN The Mammoth have been a mystery for years. Grant, Iannucci, Jones, and Westervelt could all end up in the top 10 scoring-wise, or the team could finish 6-12. That said, I think they’re a better team than last year which is something I can’t honestly say about the Swarm. Mammoth
VAN @ CAL Vancouver got better on the offense and transition but not on defense. Calgary changed very little from the 12-6 team they had last year, so I have to go with the Roughnecks. Roughnecks

2015 NLL Predictions

My predictions for the final regular season standings as well as the major annual awards.

Final Standings

East

  1. Rochester
  2. Buffalo
  3. Toronto
  4. Minnesota
  5. New England

West

  1. Calgary
  2. Edmonton
  3. Colorado
  4. Vancouver

Individual Awards

MVP

Dan Dawson

Winner: Dan Dawson
Short list: Cody Jamieson, Ryan Benesch

Goaltender of the Year

Winner: Aaron Bold
Short list: Matt Vinc, Mike Poulin

Defensive Player of the Year

Winner: Kyle Rubisch
Short list: Chris Corbeil, Brock Sorensen

Transition Player of the Year

Winner: Jeremy Thompson
Short list: Geoff Snider, Karsen Leung, Jordan Hall

Rookie of the Year

Winner: Miles Thompson
Short list: Ben McIntosh, Chris Attwood

Les Bartley Award

Winner: Curt Malawsky
Short list: Mike Hasen, Troy Cordingley if Buffalo’s longest losing streak is 4 games or less. If the Rock can lose Doyle and Billings and still finish second or higher in the east, John Lovell should be considered as well.

GM of the Year

Winner: Terry Sanderson. This would obviously be posthumous but if the Rock does well this year, I can see it happening.
Short list: Curt Styres, Steve Govett if the Mammoth don’t tank, Chris Seinko if the Black Wolves are third or better and above .500 in the East.