Various musings lacking statistical correlation: Week 14

Once again, it’s time for an article with a few random thoughts short things I wanted to talk about but haven’t had the chance. For various reasons, I haven’t blogged much recently and our most recent episode of Addicted to Lacrosse was cancelled due to a couple of schedule conflicts, so I’ve got a mini-backlog of stuff. I’ll make ’em quick.


We did talk about Steve Fryer’s excellent game on the last A2L but I wanted to get back to this because I think his play will have a huge impact on the Mammoth. There’s more here than just “our backup goalie played a great game, good on ya Steve”. I think confidence is a huge factor in sports. Obviously hard work and talent are critical but having confidence in yourself and in your teammates is just as important. I’ve said this before on the show, but if you see a player who’s playing with confidence, he may be a little more aggressive and take a few more risks because he knows that if they don’t work out, he and his teammates can recover. A player without confidence is just the opposite: more likely to play it safe. Sometimes you’ll see a top scorer who’s having a rough game – sometimes they can play through it but other times they have lost confidence and appear “snakebitten”. At that point, they’re more likely to pass to a teammate even if they have a clear shot. If I’m a coach (or a fan!) and it’s near the end of a close game, I want my best players out there saying “Give me the ball”, not “Yeah, you should probably give someone else the ball cause I’m having an off night”.

Steve Fryer (left)

Playing in front of Dillon Ward, arguably the best goaltender in the league, will give anyone confidence. I’m sure the team all had some confidence that Fryer could get it done if called upon. But now they know that Fryer can get it done because they’ve seen it happen, and that cannot be overstated in my opinion. Now the Mammoth hit the floor thinking “To beat us, you guys have to get by one of the best defenses in the league, then face Dillon Ward and if he’s having an off-night, you have to face Steve Fryer. Regardless of who’s back there, we got this.” That makes the Mammoth dangerous.

That said, Tyler Carlson did the same thing for the Rush back in February so unfortunately for Colorado, the Rush are equally dangerous. Speaking of dangerous…


A few weeks ago, I tweeted about how weird it was that Dan Dawson was a healthy scratch for the second straight week. Then he got traded because they weren’t going to play him. Who would ever have predicted that Dan Freaking Dawson would ever get traded because he was riding the pine? Even more weird is that the Knighthawks got better after the trade. Is this a case of addition by subtraction? In my opinion, yes.

That’s not to say that Dawson couldn’t get it done on the floor. He may not be what he once was, but even if he’s 3/4 of what he once was, 75% of former Dan Dawson is still damn good. And it’s not to say that he isn’t a good locker room guy, in fact I’ve never heard anything but the exact opposite about Dawson. By all accounts, he’s a great leader, a great locker room guy, a great teammate, and a pretty decent lacrosse player as well. But his style of play wasn’t fitting with the new-look Knighthawks and they decided not to adapt their style to fit Dawson in. Cody Jamieson is looking like the old Cody Jamieson again and Cory Vitarelli is Cory Vitarelli, but everything else is different. Joe Resetarits is having an outstanding season, and 24-year-old players Jackson, Shanks, Currier, Fannell, and Withers are all having great seasons as well. With that many young players playing this well (and Jamieson’s only 30 and Resetarits 28), there was no real need for Dawson so why not get a couple of draft picks for him?

But once again, it’s a confidence thing. If you’re a 24-year-old lacrosse player from Ontario, you grew up watching Dan Dawson in the NLL (and likely in the summer as well), so playing with him on the Knighthawks is an honour and a privilege. But when your coach tells you “you guys are good enough that we don’t need Dan Dawson“, imagine what that does to your confidence.

The East is so tight that it’s hard to predict, but even if the Knighthawks don’t progress far into the playoffs this season, their offense is young and talented enough that they are set for a few years to come.


OK, I said I’d be quick and thus far I haven’t been. Here’s a quick one.

I’ve talked many times in the past about the bad video quality coming out of Rochester. Well, I am happy to give credit where it’s due. The Twitter game of the week from Rochester this past weekend was beautiful. The video was high definition and not jaggy (yes, that is a real computer graphics term) at all, you could read the names on the jerseys, and the ball didn’t look like a big white square being thrown around. The video quality was better than that coming from Colorado the same night, and Colorado is generally pretty good. I don’t know if that’s a permanent upgrade to the arena’s hardware or a temporary thing just for the Twitter game, but I really hope it’s the former. It would be nice to be able to add Rochester to the list of NLL arenas with great video quality.


Maybe “devastating” is too strong a word to describe the impact of Tom Schreiber’s injury on the Rock offense, but not by much. Plus I needed a d-word for the heading.

As others have pointed out, the Rock averaged 15 goals per game with Schreiber this season while without him, they’re averaging just nine. He may or may not be returning soon but with the trade deadline looming next week, Jamie Dawick may decide to play it safe and make a move. One of the most popular rumours seems to be bringing Dan Dawson in from Saskatchewan, which makes some sense since Dawson is an Ontario boy – in fact he’s from Oakville, where the Rock train. (Note that he’s from Oakville. I don’t know where he currently lives.) This could be good for the Rock, in that they’d get a solid righty forward to take Schreiber’s place while he’s out. It does make the Rock a little right-heavy when Schreiber returns, but Dawson is also good enough and versatile enough that they could change his role a little. It probably means that Phil Caputo would return to defense and Dan Lintner, already a healthy scratch for half the Rock’s games so far, would never be seen in a Rock uniform again. It could also be good for Saskatchewan, in that the Rock are kind of desperate so Dawson may fetch a higher price than the two draft picks they gave up for him just two weeks ago. Maybe they’d receive Dan Lintner as well which would probably be good for Lintner’s career since he might actually see the floor.

Also potentially in play is another Ontario boy, Corey Small. The Stealth forward has already announced that he’ll be returning to Ontario to play in the MSL this coming summer, after several years with the Victoria Shamrocks of the WLA. Even if Small hasn’t requested a trade from the Stealth, he probably wouldn’t say no to one given his family situation. He’s a lefty so replacing Schreiber with Small would require a few more changes to the system, but I’m sure the Rock coaching staff would welcome that extra work.

The question is what goes back the other way in either of these cases? The Rush don’t need anything, and they already own Toronto’s first round pick this year and next in the Adam Jones deal. The Rock do have a second and fourth in this year’s draft, which is what Dawson was worth two weeks ago.

Small was worth two first round picks when he arrived in Vancouver three years ago, but would he still fetch that much? After an MVP-candidate season last year, quite possibly. But the Rock have to hope not unless the Stealth are happy with 2020 and 2021 first round picks. Those won’t help the Stealth if they’re trying to rebuild now. The Stealth might be interested in young BC boys like Challen Rogers or Reid Reinholdt. Is Small worth Reinholdt plus a second round pick? As a Rock fan, I’d be OK with that but what do I know? I’m no GM. Doug Locker might be thinking Rogers and Reinholdt for Small. Personally, I think giving up Rogers would be too much, but does Dawick need offense enough to overpay?

Dammit Graeme, shut up

So much for making ’em quick. That might be my longest article of the season.


Lacrosse 101

If you’re new to the National Lacrosse League, it can sometimes be difficult to watch a game on NLL TV or Twitter Live because the broadcasters use terms you might be unfamiliar with. Many of the terms are similar to hockey or basketball and those ones are usually obvious. Sometimes a broadcaster will explain lacrosse-specific (or NLL-specific) terms, rules, and strategies, but not always.

If you’re in that category, don’t worry. At NLL Chatter, we’re here to help. I’ve done research on some lacrosse terms to find out what they mean so we can all be informed viewers.

Continue reading

Game report: Georgia 12 @ Toronto 7

Well, that game had a different outcome than what I was expecting, in a number of ways. First off, I predicted a Toronto victory though I can’t say I was shocked that Georgia won. Secondly, the last three times these two teams met saw OT so I was expecting a closer game, which it was until Toronto stopped scoring. And third, given the first two minutes of the game, I didn’t expect it to be a defensive battle.

Two minutes into the first quarter, it was 2-1 Rock with the shot count sitting at 2-1 Rock. My dad came with me to this game and we joked that the game might end up 27-26. It settled down after that, and we only saw two more goals the rest of the quarter. A few minutes into the second, Toronto scored a couple more within a minute and while I wouldn’t say the Rock were in control, all facets of the team were doing well. Unfortunately for them, all facets of the Swarm game were also doing well. Then Georgia began to score and Toronto stopped. It would be over 32 minutes before the Rock scored again and by that time, the Swarm had scored six straight. The Rock scored two in the first two minutes, and then five in the next fifty eight.

The three goal deficit was certainly not insurmountable given that there was almost nine minutes left, but Mike Poulin was on his game and there was no way he was going to let the Rock back into it. Poulin was excellent, particularly in the second half, stopping almost everything that got to him. However a lot of shots never got to him, either because they were blocked or because they were never taken in the first place, and that was because of the D in front of him. I don’t know how many times a Rock forward, mostly Adam Jones, reared back to fire a bullet at the net only to pull up at the last second and pass instead because he couldn’t see the net at all.

Mike Poulin (Photo credit: Kyle Hess)

Kudos must go to three parties on the Rock side as well:

  1. Nick Rose
  2. The Rock D
  3. The posts and crossbar

There were one or two goals on Rose that you might have expected him to stop, but for the most part, he was very good. He made a few sliding stops to prevent quickstick goals, something he’s getting very good at, and threw his arms up at least once to prevent a goal from behind the net. Toronto’s defense was very good as well; perhaps less effective than Georgia at actually blocking shots, but there were a lot of ball-dislodging stick checks and quick transition. However, the transition seemed to lead to a lot of ill-advised shots, perhaps from defenders trying to spark the struggling offense. No Rock transition players scored at all so the only effect it had was a lot of five-second possessions.

For the second straight night, I lost count of how many times the Swarm forwards hit posts or the crossbar. If the net was an inch wider or higher, this would have been a much higher scoring game – probably on both sides, since the Rock hit a few as well. What that means of course is that there were a bunch of shots that Nick Rose will get credit for saving even though they actually beat him. But I think the bigger problem for the Swarm is that they were putting those shots in last year and just missing them this year.

The biggest missed opportunity for the Rock was the power play. They had six power plays, scoring on none of them. In the third, they had a 5-on-4 for 45 seconds, then 5-on-3 for a minute and a half, and then 5-4 again for about three and a half minutes. They had a bunch of shots but the Poulin Wall held.

I’m a big fan of Brock Sorensen and I think he’s had a good season but he had a frustrating night. First, he had an early breakaway but while running (lumbering?) up the floor, it really looked like it took every ounce of strength he had just to continue running, and he wasn’t running that fast. It looked like he was in pain but he kept going. Then he took two penalties at the same time early in the fourth – as Pat Gregoire said on the broadcast, the holding one was fine, preventing a scoring chance, but the illegal crosscheck was unnecessary. Once he got into the penalty box, he smacked his stick against the glass in anger, which could have been another penalty (unsportsmanlike conduct – there’s a rule that specifically addresses hitting the glass with your stick in the penalty box) but the ref either didn’t see it or chose to ignore it.

Then right at the end of the fourth, Bryan Cole and Phil Caputo each took roughing penalties and while those were being announced, Ethan O’Connor was heading from the Swarm bench out onto the floor and out of nowhere, Sorensen cross-checked him to the ground. There was no obvious reason for the hit, and O’Connor stayed down on the ground for a while until he ran the ten feet to the bench and heaved his pregame meal over the boards. That’s not a good sign. The game was mostly over by that point so Sorensen’s five minute penalty didn’t matter but I wouldn’t be surprised if the league reviews that one. Sorensen may have to sit another game and think about what he did.

Other game notes:

  • I saw a fan wearing a Bandits jersey – a bit weird at a Rock/Swarm game. But then I saw that it said “Orleman” on the back. Must have been a fan or family member of the Swarm’s backup goalie.
  • Jordan Hall was given a game misconduct for a nasty crosscheck illegal bodycheck to the head of Damon Edwards. If that seemed out of character, it was: it was the first game misconduct in Hall’s career. He hadn’t even had a major penalty since 2012. Update: I watched the replay and I got the penalty wrong – it was an illegal bodycheck, not crosscheck. The word “nasty” is probably not accurate either. Hall led with his shoulder, which is totally legal, but hit Edwards in the face which may be why he got the penalty. I don’t think it was worth a game misconduct though.
  • Did anyone notice that when the ball was lodged in Poulin’s equipment during the fourth quarter, the clock continued to run? A good 30 seconds was lost because of that. I didn’t see it but my friend Steve noticed. Oddly though, I was unable to find it on the replay. Perhaps it was in the third quarter.
  • At one point in the second quarter, Lyle Thompson must have played about five consecutive shifts. Played offense, then got caught on defense, then back to offense, another quick transition meant another defensive shift, then another on offense before he finally made it to the bench. Luckily for the Swarm he’s a very good defensive player, but I’m sure he was gassed after that.

Game report: Calgary 16 @ Toronto 8

The NLL is weird. We have a team that’s 4-2, in first place in the East, and has averaged 20+ goals over their last four games, and another team that’s 1-5 and second-last in the league in goals scored. Then the 1-5 team beats the 4-2 team and I’m not that surprised. Make no mistake, I didn’t expect a Calgary win on Saturday; I predicted another Rock victory. But we’ve already had the Bandits losing to the winless Stealth and then beating the undefeated Rush a week later. We’ve seen the powerhouse Rush start like they could go 18-0 and then show very un-Rush-like second-half collapses in consecutive weeks. A 1-5 team beating a 4-2 team just isn’t crazy enough to make the list anymore.

People in the know have been talking about Christian Del Bianco for a couple of years now, about how he’s going to be a star goalie in the NLL someday. In the year-and-a-bit he’s been in the league, we’ve seen flashes here and there of what he could be, but we’ve seen that before from other players. More often, we’ve seen him look more like a goalie that’s been brought up to the NLL level a little too quickly. But last week, he was great in the second half of their game against the Rush (I didn’t see the first half), and I read some comments saying we’re starting to see the same Del Bianco they saw in Junior. I never saw him play in Junior but I imagine that that’s what we saw on Saturday as well. He was simply outstanding all night. He played the angles well, anticipated passes and quicksticks, made all the saves you expected him to make and few you really didn’t. He’s not that big of a guy but he’s quick, athletic, and covers a lot of net.

Christian Del BiancoThat’s not to say the Rock’s lack of success in the offensive zone was all due to Del Bianco. The Roughnecks defense was strong all night as well, preventing the Rock from getting good looks or getting inside. Of course they had the advantage of knowing that their goalie was having a night, and so they could be a little more aggressive. The Roughnecks offense had a pretty decent game until the end of the third, when they suddenly began having a great game. Calgary scored the last nine goals of the game and kept the Rock off the board in the fourth quarter, which is exactly what Toronto did to New England last weekend.

Curtis Dickson scored a few “nobody could have stopped that one” goals and Dane Dobbie scored some beauties from crazy angles, but you kind of expect those. But Riley Loewen scored three and Holden Cattoni had a couple as well, and their transition players picked up a couple of goals and a dozen assists. If you get scoring from all over and are not relying on just one or two guys to do it all, you’re going to have success.

Toronto’s offense, on the other hand, was more flat than we’ve seen recently. The final score could have told you that, but they didn’t seem to have the crisp passing and seemingly magical knowledge of where everyone else was going to be. Again, props to the Roughnecks defense for pressuring the Rock into that situation. Rosey was Rosey for most of the game but his confidence seemed to wane in the fourth when the Roughnecks were scoring seemingly at will. Not all of those fourth quarter goals were his fault (the Rock D was a little more porous than we’ve seen the rest of the year), but not all were unstoppable either. That said, the game was pretty much over by then anyway.

So the Roughnecks got some confidence with their strong play against the Rush last week, and they played like we knew they could. The Rock fell back to Earth but it’s hardly panic time. Once again, parity in the NLL rears its ugly and beautiful head.

Other game notes:

  • Once again, Lintner scratched. Once again, the first four or five Rock players hi-fived the kids on the line and none of the rest did. Props to Brock Sorensen for not simply holding his hand out while running down the line – he made sure to give a fist bump to each and every kid in the line.
  • Second-year player Tyson Bell almost lost it and went after a Rock player but vet (and former Calgary captain) Mike Carnegie was very captain-like, grabbing Bell and calming him down before he took a penalty.
  • Adam Jones took a five minute spearing penalty for basically putting the head of his stick under a Calgary player’s chin and lifting it up. It was after the play and it was a controlled move so the description sounds worse than it really was. It wasn’t nice, but it was hardly intent to injure either and the Roughnecks player may have sold it a little. That said, I was OK with the call. Your stick should never be anywhere near someone else’s throat.
  • Nice crowd of over 10,000. First such crowd of the season.
  • Music: I heard Metallica, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Toto, AC/DC, Queen, and even Rick Derringer. And not dancy remixes of those either. 70’s classic rock FTW! Maybe I am the target demographic.

The NLL Pronunciation Guide 2018

Here it is! The article I write every year that usually generates the most discussion. It’s something that some NLL announcers don’t need at all, others use regularly, and still others desperately need but don’t know about. It’s also possible that some in that third group think they’re in the first group. Sigh.

Special thanks to Stephen Stamp (squarely in that first group) who looked over the list to make sure I had them all right.

Names are organized alphabetically within teams.


Kevin Brownell – brow-NELL. brow rhymes with “cow”. Not BROWN-ull.

Alex Buque – boo-KAY. However apparently when playing in junior, he pronounced it rhyming with “spook”.

Josh Byrne – BURN

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

Davide DiRuscio – DAY-vid dih-ROOSH-ee-o

Jordan Durston – DER-stun

Chase Fraser – FRAY-zer, not like Frasier

Vaughn Harris – VON

Zach Herreweyers – HAIR-wires (not HAY-wires as many say)

Steve Priolo – pree-O-lo

Pat Saunders – SAWN-ders. Not SAND-ers.

Ethan Schott – SHOT

Dhane Smith – DANE

Mark Steenhuis – STAIN-house

Nick Weiss – WEES


shill-ee-ANN-oMike Carnegie – CAR-nuh-gee (hard g)

Holden Cattoni – ka-TONE-ee

Christian del Bianco – dell bee-AHN-ko

Dane Dobbie – DOUGH-bee. Not like Dobby.

Greg Harnett – har-NET

Anthony Kalinich – ka-LIN-itch

Riley Loewen – LOW-en. LOW is like the word “low”, not rhyming with “cow”. Interesting aside: the original German pronunciation would be like “LER-ven” but without pronouncing the R (there’s no really good equivalent in English). Loewen is an alternate spelling of Löwen, the German word for “lions”.

Ryan Martel – mar-TELL

Creighton Reid – CRAY-ton REED

Frank Scigliano – shill-ee-ANN-o


Ryan Benesch – buh-NESH

Scott Carnegie – CAR-nuh-gee (hard g)

Joey Cupido – koo-PEE-do. Not KYOO-pid-o or KOO-pid-o.

Jordan Gilles – GILL-ess. Not the same as Brad Gillies on Rochester.

Stephen Keogh – KEY-o

Eli McLaughlin – E-lie muh-GLOCK-lin

Nick Ossello – aw-SELL-o

Jacob Ruest – roo-EH


Frank Brown – I’ll have to look this one up and get back to you.

Alex Crepinsek – CREP-in-seck

Kiel Matisz – KYLE muh-TEES

Mike Poulin – POO-lin

Randy Staats – STOTS. Rhymes with “slots”. Not STATS.

Leo Stouros – STIR-us. According to Leo, it “rhymes with thermos”.

Jerome Thompson – Prefers to to be called Hiana, pronounced HY-nuh

Zed Williams – ZED. In the US, it’s pronounced ZEE.

New England

Kevin Crowley – KROW-lee. Not like the bird. KROW rhymes with “cow”.

Anthony Joaquim – JOKE-um. Looks like wa-KEEM but it’s not. No joke.

John LaFontaine – LA-fon-TANE

Stephan Leblanc – STEFF-in luh-BLONK. Not steh-FAWN and not luh-BLANK.

Matt Spanger – SPANG-er. Like hanger but with an SP instead

Jay Thorimbert – THOR-im-burt


Eric Fannell – fuh-NELL

Brad Gillies – GILL-ees. Not the same as Jordan Gilles on Colorado.

Graeme Hossack – GRAY-um HOSS-ack

Luc Magnan – LUKE MAG-nun

Joe Resetarits – res-uh-TARE-its

Eric Shewell – SHOO-ull

Matt Vinc – like the name “Vince”. Not VINK.

Cory Vitarelli – vit-uh-REL-ee


Nik Bilic – BEE-leech according to Nik himself (via Stephen Stamp and Brian Shanahan). Definitely not BIL-ik and it sounds like BILL-itch is also wrong.

Chris Corbeil – cor-BEEL

Nick Finlay – FIN-lee

Mike Messenger – MESS-in-jer. I left him off the list last year because it should be obvious, but I’ve heard somebody say MESS-in-ger with a hard g. I get that the pronunciation of some of these names is difficult – that’s why this list exists. But when the name is also a valid (and not obscure) English word, it really shouldn’t need to be here.

Brett Mydske – MID-skee

Tor Reinholdt – RINE-holt

Kyle Rubisch – ROO-bish

Adrian Sorichetti – sore-i-KET-ee


Phil Caputo – ka-POO-toe

Latrell Harris – la-TREL. If you’re the ACC announcer, stretch it out so that it takes you 15 seconds to say Latrell.

Billy Hostrawser – HO-straw-zer

Brad Kri – KREE

Dan Lintner – LINT-ner. There are two N’s in there, not LINT-er or LIT-ner.

Kieran McArdle – KEER-un muh-KAR-dl

Reid Reinholdt – REED RINE-holt

Challen Rogers – CHA-lin

Tom Schreiber – SHRY-ber

SHUSS (Photo credit:  Dan Brodie)


Tye Belanger – buh-LAHN-jay

Brandon Clelland – CLELL-and

Rhys Duch – REES DUTCH

Ryan Fournier – FOORN-yay

Thomas Hoggarth – HOE-garth

Joel McCready – muh-CREED-ee

Chris O’Dougherty – O DORT-ee. Or O DOUGH-erty if you say it slowly.

James Rahe – RAY

Logan Schuss – SHUSS (rhymes with BUS). Not SHUSH, SHOOSH, or SHOOS.

Cody Teichroeb – TYKE-robe

Coaches & Execs

Aime Caines – AMY CANES.  Former Swarm player and assistant coach.

Ed Comeau – ko-MO. Swarm head coach. I’ve had this as KO-mo for years but apparently that’s wrong.

Jamie Dawick – DOW-ick. DOW rhymes with “cow”. Owner & GM of the Rock.

Clem D’Orazio – duh-RAZZ-ee-o. Black Wolves assistant coach.

Steve Govett – GUV-it. President of the San Diego Seals

Mike Hasen – HAY-zen. Not HAN-sen. Knighthawks head coach.

Tracey Kelusky – kuh-LUSS-key. In the past I’ve included that kuh-LOOS-key is wrong, but apparently Tracey himself doesn’t care how you say it. Black Wolves assistant coach.

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

Dan Ladouceur – ladda-SIR. Assistant coach of the Swarm.

Curt Malawsky – muh-LAW-skee. Roughnecks head coach.

Nick Sakiewicz – sic-KEV-itch. NLL commish.

Kaleb Toth – KAY-leb TOE-th, not TAW-th. Former NLL player and coach. Hearing Toth’s name mispronounced on a broadcast (after a decade as a star in the league) was the inspiration for the very first pronunciation guide.


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

Brad Challoner – CHALL-ah-ner. Brad says it’s like “challenger” without the g. Stealth broadcaster.

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

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

John Fraser – FRAY-zer, not like Frasier. Rush play by play guy.

Tyson Geick – GUYK. Rhymes with TYKE. Like Geico without the o. NLL host and video guy.

Pat Gregoire – greg-WAHR. IL Indoor writer, NLL ReLax host, and NLL TV broadcaster.

Marisa Ingemi – muh-RISS-a in-JEM-ee. Journalist covering every sport in the world and breaker of NLL news.

Graeme Perrow – GRAY-um PAIR-o. Yours truly.

Craig Rybczynski – rib-CHIN-skee but apparently “rib-ZIN-skee” is acceptable. Knighthawks broadcaster.

Saskatchewan – I’ve always said it as sas-CATCH-oo-on but I’ve heard from Saskatchewanians (is that a word?) that it should be sas-CATCH-a-win or sas-CATCH-a-wen – the last syllable does not rhyme with “on”. The best description of this came from @SaskRushFans on Twitter: “There are definitely several variations that are acceptable, but pronouncing Saskatchewan as spelled is not one of them.” Many shorten it to “s-CATCH-a-win” just as Torontonians say “Tronna”.

Saskatoon – sas-ka-TOON. City in which the Rush play.

Evan Schemenauer – SHEM-en-our. Lacrosse blogger over at (and now at

Stephen Stamp – STEE-ven. STAMP-er is also acceptable. IL Indoor writer and editor, podcaster, play-by-play guy.

Game report: New England 9 @ Toronto 21

The Rock just keep rolling. I really tried not to use that old cliché but it’s just so appropriate right now. The team had averaged more than 20 goals per game over their last three and still managed to increase that average. Meanwhile the defense managed to prevent Shawn Evans from scoring and kept their opponents to under 10 goals for the third straight game.

The Rock offense took a while to get going. After Rob Hellyer’s goal 36 seconds in, it was almost nine minutes before their next goal, and then another 5½ before their third. I guess that’s their 2018 season in a nutshell: took a while to get the offense going but once they did… look out. Adam Jones continues to look much more like the Colorado Adam Jones than the Saskatchewan one; he, Hellyer, and Tom Schreiber seem to really love playing together. Craig, McArdle, and Reinholdt continue to produce as one of the better secondary scoring teams around. On the other hand, Brett Hickey only had one goal and that was in garbage time. He has less than half the points of Hellyer, Schreiber, and Jones, so I’m not sure what’s going on with him. Maybe he’s struggling with the new system, or perhaps he’s playing the Kasey Beirnes role – more of a grinder, allowing the other guys to get open rather than scoring the goals himself. But his ten shots on goal tell a different story. I’ll have to pay some more attention to him and see.

Tom Schreiber continues to work his butt off on every shift. It’s not just his goals which range from long-distance bullets to acrobatic crease dives, but he sets hard picks, digs in corners, holds onto the ball despite being double-teamed, and makes pinpoint passes through traffic when a teammate is open. He is quickly becoming my early pick for MVP. We’re only a third of the way through the season so obviously a lot can change but the man does everything, and does it very well.

Brad Kri (photo credit: Graig Abel)The Rock as a whole were battling hard all night. Everyone was working for loose balls and intercepting passes (that happened a lot on both sides, actually). Even once they were up by seven or eight, they kept working hard – until they stopped. I’ll get to that in a bit.

Offense tends to get the glory, but Toronto’s defense had another strong game as well. In particular, I thought Brad Kri had an excellent game. Shawn Evans was frustrated all night that he couldn’t get clean shots and when he did all he could see was Rosey. He ended up with no goals, which is rare for Evans. The two Kevins, Buchanan and Crowley, managed to get open once or twice each and shot lasers past Rose, and former Rock forward Stephan Leblanc scored a couple as well.

Rose was strong most of the night, making a couple of highlight reel saves, though a couple of the goals he did allow were kind of soft and he probably wants them b… I mean they’re shots he probably should have stopped.

Aaron Bold didn’t have a great game at all, which should be obvious given the score. Glenn Clark left him in for quite a while – it was into the fourth quarter before Bold got the hook, and he’d already given up 16 goals. Doug Jamieson gave up five in 14 minutes so both goaltenders ended up with almost identical GAAs: 20.98 for Bold and 21.05 for Jamieson. Some of the goals weren’t the fault of the goaltenders though. When Adam Jones has the ball alone on the edge of the crease and has a couple of seconds to decide where to put it, that’s a defensive breakdown, not a failing of the goaltender. If you’re a baseball fan, that’s the “unearned run” of lacrosse.

One interesting thing I noticed about Bold: immediately after he allows a goal, sometimes before the ball is even retrieved from the net, he gets himself set up again and practices the moves that would have stopped that shot, like “here’s what I should have done”. He does that once or twice, then gets on with the game. Matt Vinc does this as well. Maybe that’s their way of not allowing a goal to get to them and affect their confidence – this is the mistake I made, here’s how I’ll stop it the next time, now we can move on. Nick Rose doesn’t do the “practice” thing but he’s also really good at not letting goals rattle him.

The game was quite entertaining for the most part, but it seemed that “garbage time” lasted quite a while. The Rock kept pushing the ball and playing hard until they got to 20 goals, and then they flipped the switch to keep-away mode. The Rock scored six goals in about four minutes at the beginning of the fourth quarter, and then only one more over the next 10+ minutes. As soon as they hit 20, each Rock possession took 29 seconds and they passed up a few obvious scoring opportunities in order to kill clock.  I certainly don’t blame them for this, running up the score any further was unnecessary, I just thought it was interesting how different the game looked the second they they hit the 20-goal plateau.

Other game notes:

  • Dan Lintner was scratched again. He played in the two Rock losses and watched all four wins. That’s gotta suck when you’re 25 and not injured. Seriously, I like his game and what he brings to the floor but if someone will give you a second-round pick for him, send him. Keeping him on the bench is unfair to him.
  • The announcer tried a couple of new things: when Rob Hellyer scored, he says “Robbie who?” and we’re all supposed to yell either “Hell yeah!” or “Hellyer”, it wasn’t entirely clear which. But “Johnny who?” “TAVARES!” was a call in Buffalo for many many years, and for anyone who’s seen a game in Banditland, this was a little familiar. Too soon, man.
  • The other thing the announcer did was after some goals he said something to the effect of “Rock fans: holler if you hear me!” which I didn’t understand. Perhaps he was just testing the microphone (“Is this thing on? Holler if you hear me”), or maybe it’s a reference to a song or movie or something that I’m too old to get.
  • Props to DJ Sweet Lou for playing The Tea Party and Metallica among the electronic dancy stuff. I’m not a big fan of the dancy stuff, though as I’ve said before, I’m not the target demographic either. But the world needs more Tea Party. Even better: add in a little Muse and Porcupine Tree.
  • Very clean game, which is unusual for a blowout like this. Only two penalties in the entire game, one to each team.
  • Dear Rock players: when there’s a group of kids standing on the restraining line as you are introduced, you need to give them a glove tap before you acknowledge your teammates. The first four or five players do this, and then the rest of the team doesn’t. It’s kind of sad to see these kids standing out there watching the Rock players run past them as if they weren’t there.
  • The Rock had the “Rock cheerleader alumni” perform at halftime. Some of those dancers were part of the Rock cheerleading squad 20 years ago – which means they’re in their 40’s now – and they did a great job.
  • Classy move by the Rock to acknowledge the contributions of Stephen Leblanc during the game. I saw a few Black Wolves players banging their sticks on the boards as well and one or two gave Leblanc a literal pat on the back.

Open letter to NLL broadcasters: get it right

This article isn’t the 2018 version of the NLL Pronunciation Guide, though that’s coming soon. This article is my rant on why my Pronunciation Guide is necessary. The long and the short of it is: it is absolutely necessary, but at the same time, it shouldn’t be.

When you are an announcer for a sports team, you are to some extent the public face of that organization. We as fans don’t often hear the Kroenkes or Dan Carey or Pat Coyle speak, but if you watch Mammoth games on NLLTV, you’re going to hear Teddy Jenner and Jamie Shewchuk. They represent the Mammoth and also the league. The league and each organization owes it to the fans to make sure the information it’s giving through the broadcasts is as accurate as possible, and they owe it to their players to show them the respect they deserve. Pronouncing someone’s name incorrectly in this kind of case is not only disrespectful but it’s unprofessional: it shows that you didn’t make the effort in advance to make sure you got it right, and what kind of league has announcers who don’t know who the players are?

There are lots of people with unusual or uncommon names – uncommon in North America, anyway. I’m one of them. For someone not of the same descent, pronunciation of names like Nik Bilic or Riley Loewen is not obvious. We can’t assume that all announcers will just know how to pronounce them but that’s no excuse. It’s part of their job. If you’re an announcer and it’s not part of your preparation, it damn well should be.

In Saskatchewan last Friday, the announcers messed up names all night. Note that this was more than just a case of pronouncing names incorrectly. Yes, they pronounced Brownell badly all night but we also heard about Dhane Schmidt and Dhane Jones. Jordan Dunston. Bandits goaltender Zach Harris. Pat Sanders. At one point, Teddy Jenner tweeted that they referred to the Bandits as the Stallions. There is a Bantam AA hockey team called the Saskatoon Stallions*, perhaps that’s where the confusion began.

"Go on, say BILL-ick one more time" (NLL photo)

The odd error like that we can forgive. Hell, seasoned lacrosse people still occasionally slip and talk about going to Edmonton to take on the Rush. Many people, myself included, said “Black Hawks” instead of “Black Wolves” many times the first season they existed. It happens. But when the errors are constant or you’re getting that many names wrong in a single game, it’s obvious that you didn’t prepare. That is unacceptable. People frequently use the term “bush league” to describe the NLL, and this doesn’t help.

In Buffalo, play-by-play man John Gurtler is known for getting names wrong as well (including Bandits players). On a recent broadcast, he even said himself that he regularly “butchers” (his word) names. So this is a problem you know about and yet it still happens? Sorry, but “yeah, I get names wrong a lot” is not a defense, it’s simply a statement of the problem. It’s great that you’ve recognized that there is a problem, now go and fix it. Study the names and make the effort to get them right.

If I had a nickel for every time I’d heard Chris Driscoll say Logan SHUSH, I could afford to fly Logan out to Rochester for a chat with him.

Not all NLL announcers have this problem. Guys like Stephen Stamp, the Calgary duo of Farhall and Ballantine, the Vancouver duo of Elliott and Challoner, and the aforementioned Jenner don’t need the guide because they either know the players already (Stamper regularly helps me update the guide if I get things wrong) or because they do the work to make sure they get it right. Former Rush announcers John Fraser and Casey Guerin explicitly thanked me for creating the guide and used it regularly. The new Rush guys haven’t mentioned it.

The league itself does have a pronunciation guide. I have a copy of the 2013 one; here are a few of the entries:

  • Dan MacRae MICK-ray
  • Peter McFetridge MICK-fet-ridge
  • Joe Resetarits Res-UH-tare-its
  • Brodie MacDonald BRO-dee MICK-donald
  • Mitch Belisle BUH-lie-uhl
  • Nik Bilic BILL-ick
  • Kiel Matisz KYLE MA-tease

These are all wrong. Most of these are close but have the emphasis incorrect, but “BILL-ick” is just wrong. Most of the entries in the guide are correct, so the announcers who get those ones wrong are at fault. But It’s also hard to fault them for all the mistakes when the league has provided them faulty information. This was five years ago so maybe they’ve cleaned it up and the 2018 guide is bang-on. I don’t know.

In the end, people have weird names, and so the league needs to have a complete and accurate guide on how to pronounce them. Every season, someone from the league needs to talk to each new player and make sure they get the correct pronunciation of their name. Every broadcaster in the league MUST have a copy of this guide, updated as new players come in, and they MUST learn it. If they don’t, there MUST be consequences; the league needs to take this seriously. The individual broadcasters are to blame for their own mistakes but in the end it’s a league problem, and the league must solve it rather than leaving it up to me.

* – As an interesting side note, the Stallions currently have players with such prominent lacrosse names as Toth, Berg, Sorensen, and Hodgson.