2023 NLL Week 6

Lots of awesome this week, including a couple of huge milestones for some veteran players.

Awesome

No music in Las Vegas

If there was music playing during the game in Las Vegas on Friday night, we couldn’t hear it on the broadcast. I know a lot of people love the music during play in the NLL, and I know this is something that makes the NLL unique among arena sports, but honestly I prefer watching lacrosse without it. I don’t hate it, but every now and again I’ll see a game without music and it’s awesome. It’s not as big a deal when watching a broadcast but it’s great when watching live.

The Toronto Rock

The Rock didn’t have a fantastic start against the Riptide on Saturday night, but once they settled down, they had all facets of their game working really well. Nick Rose was the wall we’ve come to expect over the last few seasons, aided by the strong defense in front of him. Together, they managed to keep New York to only seven goals, including only four in the final 45 minutes of the game, and Jeff Teat to a pair of assists and no goals, the fewest points in any game in his NLL career. Sure, his NLL career is less than two dozen games, but still, it’s Jeff Teat. The Rock offense took a quarter to get going but was almost unstoppable after that. Maybe “unstoppable” is a bit strong but they scored six in the second quarter and seven in the third. They finally took their foot off the gas a little with only one goal in the fourth, but they were up by ten at that point.

They didn’t play really badly in the previous couple of games but lost them both, so getting a solid win like this will help with the confidence. That said, their only two wins so far this year have come against winless teams so let’s not bump the confidence too high.

Rhys Duch

With a goal in the first quarter of Saturday night’s game, Rhys Duch became the 12th player in NLL history to reach 1000 points in his career. He only needs 9 points to tie Mark Steenhuis for 11th on the all-time scoring list, but then he’ll need another 139 to get into the top 10 (assuming Callum Crawford gets the 11 points he needs to pass Shawn Williams in that time). Duch has been known as a clutch player and elite scorer his whole career, so congratulations to Duch on achieving this milestone.

Photo credit: unknown

Ryan Benesch

Speaking of the all-time scoring list, Ryan Benesch also reached a huge milestone, as he passed Gary Gait for 7th place. Next ahead of Beni is Shawn Evans, who’s 134 points ahead and still active, and Josh Sanderson, who’s not active but ahead by 191 points. Just like Duch, Benesch has been an elite scorer his whole career. Also like Duch, Benesch shows no sign of slowing down. Congratulations Beni!

Photo credit: Trevor MacMillan, Halifax Thunderbirds

Eric Fannell’s one-handed goal

Just watch the video of this unbelievable one-handed leaping goal and consider not only the stick control but the wrist strength required to make this shot. We’ve all seen amazing behind the back or even between the legs shots, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a goal like this before.

Both Awesome and Not Awesome

LaxClass parlay

If you’re not familiar with lacrosse betting, the guys at both the Lacrosse Classified and Off the Crossebar podcasts put together parlays every week with boosted odds, which means they pick three separate bets and combine them. All of them have to hit or you lose but if they do, you win more than you would by betting on each of them separately. I’ve bet on these parlays now and again in the past and usually lose but this week the three bets were (1) Halifax to win, (2) Bandits/Swarm to feature at least 24 goals, and (3) Seals/Warriors to feature at least 24 goals. All three hit and so it’s awesome that I won over $100 on a $20 bet.

The not awesome part is that I knew the other two parts had already hit while watching the Seals/Warriors game, and so I was paying attention to the number of goals and not so much what the score was or who scored or anything else. At one point near the end of the fourth, I knew there had been 21 goals and I only needed three more to hit the parlay, and I knew that the Seals were winning, but I couldn’t remember the actual score. Was it close? Were they winning by 1 or 5? Who scored the last couple of goals? Was Vancouver making a comeback or were the Seals pulling away? I didn’t know offhand. I certainly enjoyed the outcome, but I was paying so much attention to the bet that I wasn’t able to enjoy the game itself.

Not Awesome

Jim Veltman fired

The Riptide have relieved GM Jim Veltman of his duties, after the team started the season 0-3. I didn’t see this coming, for a couple of reasons: (1) usually when a team starts a season worse than expected, it’s the coach that’s fired, not the GM, and (2) it’s only been three games, and all three have been against strong opponents expected to be at or near the top of their divisions (San Diego, Halifax, Toronto). It’s possible there are issues other than the Riptide’s record involved here, though I don’t have any idea what they might be. Former Black Wolves GM and current Riptide VP Rich Lisk will take over as GM, though it’s interesting that the announcement didn’t say “interim GM”.

Game schedule

It’s a fairly minor thing, but on Saturday night, there were four games going on at the same time. I’m not one of those people who can have more than one game on at once (i.e. on multiple laptops, tablets, and phones) – I’d only be able to pay attention to one of them anyway, so I’ll save the bandwidth. But it does mean that while watching the Rock/Riptide game, I missed all of Bandits/Swarm, all of Panther City/Knighthawks, and most of Halifax/Albany (I saw a bit during halftime). Then later, I couldn’t watch the Mammoth/Roughnecks until Seals/Warriors was over (because I had actual money riding on that one, see above), so I only saw the last few minutes.

This isn’t really a complaint because as I’ve said in the past, creating the NLL schedule is very difficult. Trying to schedule the games so that people can watch as many as possible would add a ton of complexity and frankly, it wouldn’t be worth the extra effort. There are likely not all that many people who’d watch EVERY SINGLE GAME if they could. While it would be somewhat convenient for me if they scheduled games to start at 2pm, 4:30pm, and 7pm instead of all at 7, it would likely reduce the total number of viewers, so I can’t blame the league for not doing that. It’s not awesome for me personally, but it’s still the best solution available.

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