Game report: Georgia 11 @ Toronto 8

It started off so promising.

The Rock and Swarm played each other twice this season. Each team was 1-1 and both games went to OT, so we knew the teams were pretty evenly matched. So when the Rock didn’t allow a goal to the strongest offense in the league until six minutes into the second quarter, it seemed like the Rock’s ability to handle the Swarm offense was going to continue. They only scored one goal themselves in the first quarter, but when they took a 4-1 lead in the second quarter, it still looked pretty good. And then the wheels kind of slowly fell off.

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Faceoff dominance revisited

Back in 2013, I wrote an article about faceoff dominance and whether it helps you win games. The conclusion was that it does but only slightly – 56% of teams that won more than half of the faceoffs in a game also won the game. But that article was only using data from the 2012 season so the sample size was small. I now have faceoff data for almost every game from 2010-2017, so let’s revisit this.

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Game report: New England 10 @ Toronto 18

The Rock hosted the New England Black Wolves on Saturday night for the right to lose to play the Georgia Swarm in the division finals. In the lowest-attended Rock home game ever, the Rock fought off the strong Black Wolves attack in the first quarter and turned a close game into a blowout.

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Ten surprises from the 2017 season

Ten things that happened this past season that I did not see coming. No particular order because I’m lazy.

1. Tom Schreiber. Would he be a very good player? Probably. Would he score a bunch of goals? Probably. Would he lead the Rock in scoring and finish in the top 10 in the league? Well, that’s overly optimistic, don’t you think?

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2017 NLL awards

I don’t have an official vote for the NLL awards, but I do vote for the IL Indoor staff awards and for Addicted to Lacrosse as well. Here are my top 5 picks (top 3 for the Bartley and GM awards) for each award for 2017. I didn’t give descriptions here for why I chose who I chose but you will see those next week on the IL Indoor article. As always, I also revisited my pre-season predictions to see how I did.

Final standings: In the east I had New England first, followed by Buffalo, Georgia, Toronto, and Rochester. Oh-for-five. In the west, Saskatchewan, then Colorado, Calgary, and Vancouver. I got the Rush right and that’s it.

MVP

Original pick: Mark Matthews. Always a good choice, but once again for Matthews, second place.

1. Lyle Thompson
2. Mark Matthews
3. Corey Small
4. Callum Crawford
5. Tye Belanger

Goaltender of the Year

Original pick: Aaron Bold.

1. Dillon Ward
2. Nick Rose
3. Tye Belanger
4. Mike Poulin
5. Aaron Bold

Defensive Player of the Year

Original pick: Robert Hope.

1. Dan Coates
2. Matt Beers
3. Kyle Rubisch
4. Ryan Dilks
5. Steve Priolo

Dan Coates

Transition Player of the Year

Original pick: Karsen Leung. Leung didn’t even play in 2017, so that’d be a no.

1. Justin Salt
2. Joey Cupido
3. Craig England
4. Jordan MacIntosh
5. Jeff Cornwall

Rookie of the Year

Original pick: Ryan Keenan. Not a bad debut season for Keenan but less than what I would have expected from a first-overall pick. Of course, I could have said that about Lyle Thompson last year. Schreiber is a no-brainer but I had a tough time picking the rest of the top 5. The number of strong rookie candidates this year is staggering: Keenan, Kyle Jackson, Latrell Harris, Bryan Cole, Josh Currier, Reid Reinholdt, Chad Cummings, Dan Lomas, Mike Messenger, Jacob Ruest, Kieran McArdle, Challen Rogers, Holden Cattoni, James Rahe, Jordan Magnuson, …

1. Tom Schreiber
2. Kyle Jackson
3. Mike Messenger
4. Jacob Ruest
5. Josh Currier

Les Bartley Award

Original pick: Troy Cordingley.

1. Ed Comeau
2. Jamie Batley
3. Derek Keenan

GM of the Year

Original pick: Jamie Dawick or Steve Dietrich.

1. John Arlotta
2. Jamie Dawick
3. Doug Locker

Review of the new NLL.com

The NLL unveiled its new web site last week. We talked about it on the most recent episode of Addicted to Lacrosse, and of course I’ve spent some time perusing it this week. Here are some thoughts on the pros and cons of the new site.

Pros

It looks great. The menus and the team standings thing on the right are slick. The images and overall look of the page are professional.

I like how the black-and-white team logos at the top are colourized when you hover over them.

Clicking on the team logos at the top gives you a page summarizing that team – record, goals for and against, division rank, news stories, roster, schedule, and staff (GM and head coach). There are links to the team’s web site and social media accounts, and links for buying ticket and merch. The NLL logo at the very top changes colour depending on the team you pick – nice touch.

Each of the news stories on the front page has a little icon in the corner telling you whether it’s a video or text.

The pages I use to download game stats into my database (nll_stats.stats.pointstreak.com/boxscore.html) have not changed, which means I don’t need to rewrite the script I use to fetch and parse them. This is a big deal for me personally, though I imagine nobody else cares. But for myself, thanks NLL!

When you have a table of stats and click on a column heading, it re-sorts the list in place with Javascript rather than having to reload the page. Clicking it a second time reverses the search.

nll.com

Cons

The list of games on the bottom of the main page scrolls left and right similar to the one on the old site but there’s no scroll bar or link to a particular week. To go back or ahead a month or two, you have to use the arrows on the left and right and just keep clicking until you get there. To get from the end of the season (where we are now) to the beginning takes 25 clicks. Sure, you can click on the Schedule menu. then select Week 1 from the WEEK dropdown and click Apply, but that’s still three clicks. Used to be one click for any week of the season.

On this same list, games in progress are listed as “Live” with no indication of what quarter.

Historical stats are gone. Career stats seem to begin no earlier than 2005. If a player retired before 2005, he’s just not anywhere.

Finding historical players is a bit of a pain. To find John Tavares, for example, I have to go to the Players menu, select a season he played in, select Forward, and select Bandits (the latter two are optional but filter things much more quickly). If I want to find a historical player but I don’t remember what years he played or what teams he played for, it could take a long time to find him.

When listing players, there’s no search field. If I want to find Mark Matthews, for example, I have to either scroll to the end, wait for the next page to load, then continue repeating that until his name shows up (this takes ten iterations), or I can filter with position and team. But if I could just type “Matth<enter>”, that would be faster. Even better if the ‘<enter>’ was optional.

There are little progress bars on many images, showing you how long until the image changes to the next one in the “slideshow”. If something is actually loading, this is helpful but if it’s just a timer before the image changes, it’s not necessary.

The game recap page has a few issues:

  • The times for goals, shots, turnovers, etc. are backwards, telling you how much time is left in the quarter rather than how much time has elapsed. The first face-off in Q1 is listed as 15:00 rather than 0:00.
  • The turnovers and caused turnovers don’t have a name associated with them.
  • The times are also incorrect in some cases – in Toronto’s 12-5 win over Rochester, we have Kyle Jackson and Brodie Merrill taking a shot on net and Billy Hostrawser and Merrill picking up loose balls all at 11:55 of the second quarter.
  • When a goal is scored, no shot on goal is listed corresponding to that goal.
  • The page is drawn as a small window above the main window but escape doesn’t close it.
  • This also makes scrolling weird – using the mouse wheel scrolls the list in the window until you hit the top or bottom of the list, then it scrolls the main page behind the window.
  • The tooltips for the twitter and star icons at the top say “Preferred_1” and “Preferred_2”.
  • Clicking “Return to scoreboard” takes you right off the NLL page, over to stats.pointstreak.com.
  • When trying to look at a game recap while the game is going on, the page refreshes itself automatically, changing pages as it does. Very annoying if you’re trying to look at something other than the “Plays” view.

Really picky things

On the news page, the season filter is sorted ascending (i.e. most recent season at the bottom). Everywhere else it’s descending (i.e. most recent season at the top).

I go to the 2015 stats and click on John Tavares, it lists his age as 48, which is his current age, not the age he was in 2015. That’s easy to calculate but which date do you pick? Do you display the age he was at the beginning of the season or the end?

When I click on the search icon, I have to click on the text box that pops up before I can type anything. The text box should get focus automatically.

The font on the transactions page is big and ugly.

On the stats page it lists some team records, eg. goals for or against. For each record you see the top three teams along with, for some reason, their home arena. But the arena names are inconsistent. For the Bandits, it just says “KeyBank Center” but for the Rush it says “Sasktel Centre – Saskatoon”. From a quick Google search, there is only one SaskTel Centre. The Mammoth one says “Pepsi Center – NLL” and the Roughnecks says “Scotiabank Saddledome NLL”.

Game report: Buffalo 13 @ Toronto 8

We’ve all seen it before: the team that isn’t playing well starts getting frustrated and angry, and that leads to unnecessary penalties. That means they’re playing a man down for long stretches of time, and that doesn’t usually lead to anything good, so they get even more frustrated and angry, and so on. I don’t know what other people mean when they talk about “Banditball”, but that’s what that term means to me: the physical and undisciplined lacrosse that the Bandits became known for in the 2000’s. They generally don’t play that way anymore so the term is probably misleading and unfair now, but every now and again they revert back. But on this night, it seemed to serve them well.

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