NLL Week 3

Three weeks into the season and now we have to wait TWO WHOLE WEEKS before there are more games. How can we survive without lacrosse for two whole weeks?! After surviving twenty months with no NLL, I think we can make it two weeks.

Awesome

Dane Dobbie

What more can we say about Dane Dobbie? Players always talk about giving 110% – well, if that’s true then Dobbie gives 120%. Maybe 125%. The man works his tail off on every shift, which is what you want to see from everybody, but it’s extra special when you’re as talented as Dobbie is. It sounds like there might have been some animosity between him and the Roughnecks (in a “getting to know you” bit at the beginning of the year, the Seals asked Dobbie his favourite colour, and he responded “anything but red”), so it’s not particularly surprising that he went off for seven goals against them.

Photo credit: unknown

Winning

You know, winning? It’s like, better’n losing? I put $10 on Mark Matthews to score more than 1.5 goals and he got three. My -161 over netted me a cool $6.21. Maybe I’ll treat the family with my winnings – a cup of tea and a box of Timbits may be about it, but dammit, I WON.

Austin Staats returns

One of the most exciting players in the game, Staats was expected to be out for a couple of months, if not half the season. But after missing only two games, Staats surprised everyone by returning early and scoring a couple of goals. That game was obviously the Dane Dobbie show, and it’s too bad it wasn’t in front of the San Diego fans, but it’s great to see Staats back and healthy. His passion for the game is evident whenever he plays, and it’s obvious how much fun he’s having. They play different styles but he reminds me of Lyle Thompson in that respect – they both look like there’s absolutely nothing in the world they’d rather do than play lacrosse. They both have a fair bit of talent too.

End of the Saskatchewan / Vancouver game

Last week it was the second half of the game in Saskatchewan, this week it’s the second half, primarily the fourth quarter, of the game in Vancouver. I gave props to the Warriors last week for being 2-0, and even though they lost this game, they were right in it until the very end, which is saying something against the Rush. The TSN games of the week thus far have all been down to the wire and very exciting, so hopefully (a) that trend continues and (b) it brings in new fans to the league. Speaking of bringing in new fans…

Awesome-ish

Goalie fight in Albany

I struggled with this one – is it awesome or not? I don’t like fighting in lacrosse, so I thought about putting it under Not Awesome. But then it’s getting a ton of press, which could bring new eyes to the sport. Many people who don’t watch lacrosse at all will see the odd highlight here and there and if all they ever see is the fighting (goalie fights, line brawls, etc.), that’s all they think the sport is. I have some friends who are surprised by my interest in lacrosse because “it’s just guys hitting each other with sticks, right?” But we’re getting more and more highlights on ESPN and TSN these days that are goals rather than fights. The “bring new eyes to the sport” bit is important, and maybe a lot of those new people will appreciate that the game is so much more than that and stick around. New fans sticking around is awesome, but there’s no way to know how many people would appreciate the game but are turned off by the fighting and the way that people glorify it, so maybe those uncountable no-longer-interested people qualify as not awesome..

All things considered, I have convinced myself that this is a good thing. A great many of the people who saw that video will ignore it entirely. There are probably some who might have become lacrosse fans but have been turned off by the fighting, but there are others who may start watching more. The loss of potential fans is outweighed by the gain of actual fans.

One part of this that is not awesome is that TMZ tweeted out a video of the fight and if you look at the re-tweets, a lot of them are from lacrosse people tweeting “OMG, TMZ tweeted about lacrosse!” This whole “they’re talking about us!” thing always happens when lacrosse is mentioned, however tangentially, in a TV show (OMG Simpsons!) or movie (OMG American Pie!). I don’t know why it bugs me so much, but then again I do it too when I see a lacrosse stick in a movie.

Not Awesome

Evan Kirk out for the season

Due to work commitments, Knighthawks goalie Evan Kirk will miss the rest of the 2022 season. Kirk is starting police college and while the Knighthawks knew about this, it sounds like the new Omicron variant of COVID-19 forced his hand and made him choose between college and playing in the NLL. While I’m sure Kirk would love to do both, I’m not going to criticize him for choosing his future outside lacrosse over the NLL. It’s not awesome he was forced to make that decision, and it’s not awesome for the Knighthawks that after making one of the biggest free agent signings of the offseason, they only got two games from him.

Vancouver’s offense

The Warriors have looked really good this year, as good as we’ve seen the team since the Washington Stealth days. Keegan Bal and Mitch Jones have been excellent (18 goals in 3 games between them), and Reid Bowering has been all he was hyped to be. But look at the rest of the offense: Marty Dinsdale has three goals. Killen has two. Schuss has one. McBride has one. Charalambides has also looked really good but has also only scored once. Riley Loewen has none. We’re only three games into the season and they’re 2-1, Buque has been fantastic, and the D in front of him has been great as well so all is not lost. But the offense can only go so far if one or two guys are doing all the scoring. If their secondary scoring kicks in, the Warriors could be a serious threat in the West.

Covid-19

Hot take: Covid-19 is not awesome. So far this season, it hasn’t negatively affected the NLL an awful lot, other than killing attendance (5,000 in Toronto Hamilton? 7,000 in Buffalo? 9,000 in both Calgary and Saskatchewan?), unlike the NBA, NFL, and NHL. But a few big-name players have been added to various teams’ Covid lists, including Jeff Teat, Corey Small, and Tom Schreiber. Hopefully the two-week break over the holidays is enough to allow those who might have it to either start showing symptoms or at least get tested before spreading it around their teammates.

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