NLL Week 21

The playoff picture becomes a little clearer each week, but we’re not done yet. Halifax clinched their spot and Saskatchewan, Panther City, and New York were eliminated, so we now have the strange situation of Georgia, Philadelphia, and Albany fighting for the last spot in both the East and West divisions. We have Georgia and Philly playing each other next weekend while New York plays Albany. Here are the possibilities:

  1. Albany loses, Georgia wins: Georgia is 10-8 and takes the east spot, Albany and Philly are both 8-10 so Albany takes the west spot because they are 2-0 against the Wings.
  2. Albany loses, Philly wins: Philly and Georgia are both 9-9, Philly takes the east spot because they’re 3-0 against Georgia, Georgia takes the west spot. Albany is 8-10.
  3. Albany wins, Georgia wins: Georgia is 10-8 and takes the east spot, Albany is 9-9 and takes the west. Philly is 8-10.
  4. Albany wins, Philly wins: All three are 9-9. The first tiebreaker is their head-to-head winning percentage, but I’m not sure that helps. Albany is 3-2 against the other two, Georgia is 2-4, and Philly is also 3-2. Does that mean Albany and Philly make it through to the next tiebreaker and Georgia is out? Or does it mean we don’t consider this tiebreaker because it didn’t provide a clear winner? I honestly don’t know. The next tiebreaker is their division standings. In this scenario, Georgia would be 8-8 within their division, Philly 7-9 and Albany 6-9.
    1. If Georgia is eliminated because of the first tiebreaker, Philly takes the East, Albany takes the west, and Georgia is out.
    2. If the first tiebreaker gets thrown out, Georgia takes the East spot, Philly takes the west, and Albany is out.

However, if case 4b applies, then Georgia has already clinched a playoff spot since they make the playoffs in every case here. Neither the league nor the Swarm have announced that, so case 4a is likely the real one.

Confusion

So for each team, the outcomes are:

  • Georgia: Win and you’re in. Lose and you’re in if Albany loses.
  • Philly: Win and you’re in. Lose and you’re out.
  • Albany: Win and you’re in. Lose and you’re in if Georgia wins.

Awesome

Jesse King

Time between Jesse King’s acquisition by Calgary and the beginning of this season: 3 years, 2 months
Number of games he could have played in that time: At least 58
Games he played in that time: 10

Obviously the pandemic killed half of those games but injuries have plagued King’s career since he was drafted by the Georgia Swarm in 2015. He played a full season in 2016, then missed all of the 2017 season. He returned for his second full season in 2018 before being traded to Calgary, then got injured again. In 2019 he was only able to play two out of eighteen games plus four in the playoffs. 2020 started strong but he only played in four of Calgary’s ten games, then of course missed 2021 along with everyone else.

In 2022 however, that year-and-a-half away from lacrosse helped him fully recover and Roughnecks fans are now seeing the healthy Jesse King they hoped they were getting way back in 2018. With one game to go, he’s set or tied his career highs in goals, assists, points, power play goals, shorthanded goals, game-winning goals, loose balls, and caused turnovers. (Also turnovers, which is not exactly a positive stat but comes with the territory if you have the ball as often as King does.)

King is an exciting player to watch and has become the quarterback of the Roughnecks offense. He has certainly helped Calgary recover from the loss of Dane Dobbie through not only his scoring but his playmaking. Christian Del Bianco called him “the most responsible Offensive player in lacrosse” and who am I to argue with CDB?

Joel Watson

How often have we talked about awesome rookie goalies this season? Well, we’re going to do it again. Joel Watson made his seventh straight start for the Knighthawks on Saturday, having lost all of the previous six. His numbers in those starts weren’t bad actually, he only allowed more than 12 goals once, held the Rush to only 9, and held the Rock to 10 with a save percentage over 80%. But Saturday was easily the best start of his career as he saved 86% of shots while keeping the Roughnecks to only 7 goals. He only allowed a single goal in each of the second and third quarters – allowing two goals in 30+ minutes is pretty impressive, especially when you’re facing Curtis Dickson and Jesse King, two of the best in the game. Rochester had already been eliminated from the playoffs so from that perspective it was a meaningless game, but kudos to Watson and the rest of the Knighthawks for playing their hearts out anyway.

Jeff Teat

He’s already broken the rookie scoring AND rookie assists records. He became the first rookie ever to reach 100 points in a season. AND he’s got one game left. AND he missed two games earlier in the season. He’s on an 18-game pace for 80 assists and 123 points. Absolutely amazing. Just like Ryan Lee’s MVP bid will fail because of Dhane Smith, it sucks for guys like Patrick Dodds or Reid Bowering who are both having excellent rookie seasons, but will fight for second place in the Rookie of the Year voting.

Not Awesome

Camera placement

Rochester has had a lacrosse team for more than 20 years. First the Knighthawks, and then… the Knighthawks. Don’t ask. Anyway, they’ve also had an AHL hockey team for more than 60 years. And in all that time, they’re never seen fit to install a camera over the nets. Maybe it doesn’t matter so much in hockey but it comes up all the time in lacrosse. This past weekend, there was a shot (I think it was a Calgary player) that hit the crossbar, went straight down and bounced away from the net. Depending on the angle and spin, it’s highly possible that the ball landed inside the net and bounced out – we’ve seen that many times before in the NLL. But even with a review from every available camera angle, it was not possible to determine whether the ball actually crossed the line. An overhead camera, like those installed in most other NLL arenas, would likely have solved that problem instantly.

It’s time the NLL had mandates for what cameras are required in your arena if you want to have an NLL team, and cameras directly over the nets should be on that list.

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