2023 NLL Week 12

Not much in the way of surprises in this week’s games. The struggling Warriors, FireWolves, Mammoth, Riptide, Wings, and Swarm all lost, and the surging Rock, Bandits, Roughnecks, Rush, Panther City, and Thunderbirds all won. The Seals lost as well but I wouldn’t call them struggling. Similarly, the Desert Dogs are only borderline surging, but they’ve won three of their last four so they’re no longer struggling either. Sure, those three wins have all come against teams who are struggling, but you gotta start somewhere.


Nick Rose and Christian Del Bianco

Nick RoseI was going to say something like “Nick Rose proved on Saturday night that he’s easily the best goalie in the league this year and deserves to be named Goaltender of the Year”. Then I looked at the stats, and decided that “easily” isn’t quite accurate. He’s ahead of Christian del Bianco in GAA by about half a goal but CDB’s save percentage is a bit higher. Del Bianco has played more minutes (600 vs. 583), but in every case where Rose didn’t finish a game, he was replaced in the fourth quarter because the Rock were leading by a bunch, not because he wasn’t playing well.

So Rose isn’t head and shoulders better than all other goalies, and Del Bianco has sixteen assists to Rose’s four, so halfway through the season Del Bianco has as much of a claim to the GotY award as Rose does. Regardless, both of them are having excellent years once again. In ten games, Rose has allowed eight or fewer goals in five of them, and only more than 11 once. He currently has a save percentage over 80% and a GAA under 10; if he can hang on and beat both those thresholds, it will be the fourth time in his career he’s been in the 80-10 club, and his third straight season. Even Matt Vinc has only been in that club twice – not in consecutive seasons, and not since 2015.

Del Bianco has played every minute of every Roughnecks game this season; he’s actually averaging more than 60 minutes per game because of two overtime games. He has six single-digit goal games and also only one over 11 (though that was 17). He is also a member of the 80-10 club so far this season but surprisingly, has never done it before. As I mentioned earlier, Del Bianco’s 16 goalie assists is leading the NLL by a ton (Rose is second with four). Del Bianco is third on his team in assists, higher than Cook, Dickson, Tayler, or either Currier.

Christian Del Bianco

Other than guys like Dallas Eliuk and Sal LoCascio, who played the bulk (or the entirety) of their careers before the award existed, Rose and Del Bianco might be the best goalies never to win Goaltender of the Year. One of them could easily leave that club by the end of this season, though right now it’s hard to choose which one.

Jeff Teat

I realized today that I haven’t written very much about Mr. Teat, nor have I listed him (specifically) as Awesome a single time this year. Is that because he’s not awesome? Hell no. It might be because he has met or surpassed all of the very high expectations of him, to the point that every time we see him do something amazing, it’s just Jeff Teat, that’s what he does. I won’t go on and on about him because everyone does, but suffice it to say this: I remember watching John Grant, Jr. play and now and again, he could just grab control of a game like nobody else. It looked like he could simply decide “I think I’m going to score now” and he would. That’s what I see from Teat as well. He can score in any way there is to score, but he also has the floor vision to realize that (a) one of my teammates is open and (b) all their defenders are focussed on me, so I’ll just pass it to him. He also has the skill to make that pass despite being so heavily covered. He truly is a joy to watch.

Toronto Rock alumni game

The Rock brought back a number of members of the 2011 Championship team as well as a bunch of other alumni for a little scrimmage at halftime of the Rock/Swarm game. It was Team Watson vs. Team Doyle and in addition to Bob Watson and Colin Doyle, the game featured names like Blaine Manning, Sandy Chapman, Cam Woods, Rob Marshall, Kasey Beirnes, and even Tim O’Brien, who was always known more for his hard fists than his soft hands, if you know what I’m saying. The intensity of the game wasn’t quite as high as that of the Rock and Swarm, but as Bob Watson said before the game, one of their main goals was not to hurt themselves. Some of the players are still around lacrosse a lot – Manning spent years as an assistant coach with the Rock, Doyle is one now (though I’ve never seen him behind the bench), and Bill Greer was an assistant coach in San Diego the last few years – but it’s possible that others may not have picked up a lacrosse stick since they retired from the NLL. Clearly everyone was having fun though. Doyle didn’t take many “normal” shots, but tried a few behind the back trick shots and passes. Pat Campbell made more saves than Watson, and Nick Diachenko, who scored seven goals in his entire NLL career, scored two in this game, including one impressive cross-crease dive. O’Brien didn’t fight anyone but scored as well, tying his NLL career number for goals.

There were a bunch of guys missing – more Rock alumni like Glenn Clark, Dan Ladouceur, Pat Coyle, Shawn Williams, and Jimmy Quinlan. No idea why those guys didn’t show. They had something better to do, I suppose.

Not Awesome


For the second straight week, I was unable to stream any TSN+ content, NLL games included. This is a service they are planning on charging actual money for soon, though it’s a free preview right now. And right now for me, it’s worth every penny of that (i.e. NOTHING). If I have to watch all NLL games (that aren’t on TV) on my phone for the rest of the season, I will not be happy. And after updating the software on my tablet, I found that the TSN app won’t even run on that anymore. Once again, attempting to reach out to TSN for help had no effect.

NLL Stats

I’ve tried to be patient and not complain about this every week. I’m sure there are people working on this and doing their best and all that. But seriously now, the season is half over. The game sheets are still missing a ton of information and some of it is pretty critical. We still have no information on face-offs. Nothing on shorthanded, penalty shot, or empty-net goals. No attendance. No refs. No three stars. Hey NLL, I write web software for a living. I’ve been working in the database software industry for over 25 years. I’ve even written my share of software for handling lacrosse statistics. If you need a hand, let me know.

Season-ending injuries

It’s one of the worst things you see in sports. A player goes down with an injury and is helped or even carried off the floor. Sometimes they can walk off on their own, but they’re cradling their dislocated shoulder or broken elbow. Then the next day you hear that their season is over. Obviously even worse is when you hear that their career is over, but thankfully that’s exceedingly rare. Season-ending injuries happened to two players over the last couple of weeks – first Joey Cupido, and then during the week, the Riptide announced that Brett Hickey was done for the year. I mentioned Cupido in one of last week’s Not Awesome segments, but just in passing. I should have spent more time on that – it’s a very big deal for the Mammoth. Cupido is a two-time Transition Player of the Year, is still lightning fast, and has been a huge part of the Mammoth defense and transition for over a decade.

Hickey was on his fourth team in the past twelve months but certainly looked more comfortable on the Riptide than he did during his short stints in San Diego and Calgary. This is not the first time Hickey has been hit with a season-ending injury. In 2015, he injured his leg during shootaround before Game 2 of the Championship series and had to miss it. In 2016, he played up until the end of March and missed the last few games. Then in 2019, he played three games with the Philadelphia Wings before being injured and missing the rest of that season. This year he played a couple in Calgary (and was scratched for a couple as well), then four in New York, and now he’s done. Hickey wasn’t on pace for another 45-50 goal season, but you don’t need to score 45 goals to be an effective offensive player, especially when you play with a guy like Jeff Teat. Now Hickey won’t get the chance to do that until next year.

I filed these under Not Awesome only because I don’t have a Totally F’ing Sucks category.


One thought on “2023 NLL Week 12

  1. A) use a VPN to watch the games on Espn+ B) everyone knows Matt Vinc will easily win Goalie of the year. C) Dhane Smith > Jeff Teat. D) much love from Banditland, I enjoy your post every week.


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