Another good week – 4-1! I’ve only had one week under .500, and that was 1-2 in week 1. In four of the other five weeks, I’ve only gotten one wrong. WTF? This is certainly different from the last two years where I finished under .500.
This is a two-in-one article, since you get my picks and as an added FREE bonus, some thoughts on the Rock roster moves this week.
Record: 17-9 (.654)
|PHI @ TOR||Toronto is undefeated at home, but the Wings are on a 2-game win streak and are 2-1 on the road. Should be a good game, and I’m predicting the Rock’s home winning streak to continue.|
|EDM @ PHI||I think I said this last week. Until the Rush does something to convince me that they’re not the best team in the league, I’m probably just going to keep picking them.|
|BUF @ ROC||Similar to the Rush, the Bandits are playing great right now and I’ll probably keep picking them too, until they play Edmonton. Then I have no idea.|
|CAL @ MIN||Calgary’s not having their greatest season ever, but it’s better than the Swarm’s so far. Logan Schuss is playing well but thus far isn’t the offensive star he was projected to be, and the production from Matisz and Jackson is way down.|
|COL @ VAN||The Stealth are on a 4-game losing streak and confidence has to be pretty low – and they’ll be without Rhys Duch who’s serving a suspension. They’ve already beaten the Mammoth this season, but that was with Duch and the Mammoth were without Casey Powell.|
I never managed to write an entire article on my thought about the Rock moves this week, acquiring Billy Hostrawser from the Stealth and releasing Stephen Hoar, so I’ll just put a couple of thoughts here. First off, I have no problem with acquiring Hostrawser for draft picks – unless they’re in the first round, draft picks are always a crapshoot anyway so giving them up for an actual warm body who can play now is fine. And he’s a young defender who can fight – just ask Mike Lum-Walker, his new teammate and sparring partner in last week’s Rock/Stealth game. He’s even scored a goal and has a few assists.
I am a little puzzled by Hoar’s release, though. In a number of interviews, both Terry Sanderson and John Lovell have mentioned that they are looking forward to the return of Patrick Merrill and Chris White (and Bill Greer, while he was out) because they bring some veteran leadership to the defense. They said that the young players (Lum-Walker, O’Connor, Dunn, England) are doing fine but more veterans on the back end would not only help the team but would help the kids to learn as well. And then they release Hoar, who is a veteran defender, and replace him with a guy with all of 15 games of NLL experience.
Hoar is also their only face-off guy who’s not injured. So I hope Patrick Merrill is back tonight, since 13 Rock face-offs this year have not been taken by Hoar, and they’ve only won 5 of them. Hostrawser has never taken one in the NLL, so no help there. That said, it’s not like Hoar is Geoff Snider either. He has a sub-.500 career faceoff percentage and was only at 35.7% this season. The Rock have never had a really strong face-off guy, since Merrill is under .500 over his career as well.