Could happen… 2017 edition

Round about this time of year, people think they have a decent idea of how the standings will end up, more or less. So far this season, Saskatchewan has clinched a playoff berth, but nobody else has. We think the Rush and Swarm will probably be at the top in their divisions, but it’s not guaranteed. Calgary and Rochester are currently at the bottom but both are only a half game back of the team in front of them. There’s enough time left for some really crazy things to happen, and every year I find it fun to look over the possibilities if the lower-ranked teams start winning and the teams at the top start losing. If everything falls into place, could we have a Calgary-Rochester final? Could the Swarm miss the playoffs? Let’s look at some scenarios that are unlikely but still possible:

Calgary finishes 2nd in the west

Calgary wins out, Saskatchewan loses to Vancouver, New England, and Toronto, and Colorado loses out. Then the Rush win the west at 10-8, Calgary is second at 9-9, and Colorado and Vancouver tie at 8-10. Vancouver would win the tiebreaker in that scenario with a 3-1 record against the Mammoth, so Colorado is out.
Calgary wins out, Vancouver beats Colorado, and Colorado loses one more game. Then the Roughnecks are 9-9 and the Mammoth are at best 9-9, but Calgary holds the tiebreaker.

Vancouver wins the west

Update: Can’t happen anymore.
Vancouver wins out, Saskatchewan loses at least three more, and Colorado loses to Rochester. Then the Stealth are at 10-8, the Rush and Mammoth are at 9-9, and the Roughnecks are at best 8-10.

All five teams in the east finish 9-9

Update: Can’t happen anymore.
New England beats Georgia and Saskatchewan and loses to Vancouver. Buffalo beats Calgary, Toronto, and Georgia twice. Rochester beats Colorado, New England, and Georgia twice. Toronto loses to Saskatchewan and beats Buffalo. Then all the eastern teams are 9-9 and we have the nastiest tie-breaker ever.

Rochester wins the east

Update: Can’t happen anymore.
Rochester wins out. Toronto and Georgia lose out. Buffalo loses to Calgary. New England loses to Saskatchewan and Vancouver. Then Rochester, Georgia, and Buffalo are 9-9 while Toronto and New England are 8-10. Rochester has a 4-2 record against Buffalo and Georgia and wins the east while Buffalo finishes second and Georgia third.

Buffalo wins the east

Update: Can’t happen anymore.
Buffalo wins out. Toronto and Georgia lose out. New England loses to Saskatchewan and Vancouver. Rochester beats New England and loses to Colorado. Then the Bandits are 10-8, Georgia is 9-9, and the rest are tied at 8-10. New England wins the tiebreaker and makes the playoffs.

Georgia misses the playoffs

Update: Georgia has now clinched a playoff spot.
Georgia loses out. Toronto beats Saskatchewan and Buffalo. New England beats Saskatchewan and Rochester. Buffalo beats Calgary and Toronto. Then Toronto and New England have 10 wins while Buffalo and Georgia are both 9-9. Buffalo would win the tie-breaker here and the Swarm are out.

Interview: Dan Ladouceur

You gotta listen when the Big Dog barks.

For those of you who watched Toronto Rock games back in the early or mid 2000’s, you undoubtedly remember Dan “Big Dog” Ladouceur. At 6’6″, Laddy was hard to miss – even more so if you were a opposing player. Ladouceur was an anchor of one of the best defenses the league has ever seen, a group which included Terry Bullen, Pat Coyle, Glenn Clark, Ian Rubel, and Darryl Gibson in front of Hall-of-Fame goaltender Bob Watson. Ladouceur was a prototypical “stay-at-home” defender with a long reach, a heavy stick, and solid fists. He rarely found himself on the far side of the centre line, scoring 6 goals in his 11-year 150-game career. But he did score a big one in the 2002 Championship game, one of five Championships he won with the Rock.

Dan LadouceurThese days, Laddy’s role in the NLL is a little different: as the Georgia Swarm offensive coach, his job is to train the Swarm forwards how to get around guys like him. This is a position at which he seems to be excelling, considering the Swarm at 8-3 and leading the league in goals scored, despite having played one fewer game than half the league.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Dan Ladouceur (well, via email – I assume he was sitting down) and talk about his early days with the Rock as well as his new role with the Swarm.

Many thanks to Dan for taking the time to talk to me.


GP: Hi Dan… thanks a lot for doing this.

DL: Hey Graeme, no problems.  Happy to help out and share…

GP: Let’s start with your playing days with the Toronto Rock. In your early days, who were the players you learned the most from?

DL: Obviously one of the most influential guys  I played with was Jimmy Veltman.  He had a quiet style of leadership but was so fiercely competitive, you couldn’t help but follow him anywhere and want to learn and know what made that guy tick.  Other guys like Glenn Clark, Pat Coyle, Terry Bullen – Those guys all taught me about being effective defensively, and I like to think I took a little bit of each of their style and came into my own.  And other guys like Colin Doyle and Kim Squire, they reminded me that the game was fun, and to enjoy the experience.

GP: Conversely, in your later days, who were the players that you enjoyed teaching – the ones that learned the most?

DL: I really enjoyed my time rooming and chumming with Scott Campbell when he came to TO.  He is a great guy and great player.  The young Rob Marshall was great to be around as well.  I think he is and always has been a great guy and great teammate.

GP: You won five championships with the Rock. Does any one of them stand out as different from the others – more memorable or special in some way?

DL: In 2000 I won a Champions Cup and a Mann Cup in the same year.  That year was pretty special.  The win in Rochester [2003] was amazing as well.  Having never won there before and going in to take a championship is something movies are made of. The home town fans and family that made the road trip was amazing to see and feel.

2002 was great.  To be able to chip in, all of us on the back door, and help bring that home was amazing.  Also very big learning experiencing for me as far as preparation from a coaching point of view goes.  One goal that game was directly related to Ed Comeau and how prepared he always is.

GP: At one time, I heard a rumour that the Rock were not allowed to trade you because of your job as a Durham police officer. Was there any truth to that?

DL: It was never an arrangement I made or condition of a contract.  They could have moved me if they wanted. Playing in another city would have been challenging logistic wise, especially in the early years when I was not very high in seniority in the policing world.  I’m sure I could and would have made it work, but just been grinding like so many other players in this league with work and travel schedules that would cripple normal people.  I’m thankful I did not have to deal with those challenges.

GP: While you were playing, did you ever think about coaching sometime in the future, or did you not really consider that until your playing days were over?

DL: I never really thought of it much to be honest.  I mean, you know great coaches when you come across them in your career.  Les, T, Keenan, Clarky all great coaches and all have totally different styles.  I just never thought I would or could do the things that those guys did.

Casey Powell giving Ladouceur a totally legal check

GP: Now moving on to your role with the Georgia Swarm. How did your job with the Swarm come about – did you call them or did they call you?

DL: Eddie [head coach Ed Comeau] called me in the summer time to talk lacrosse.  We had some great conversations, catching up as we went.  I was not out pounding the pavement or cold calling places.  I was still processing my time in Toronto and my work life keeps me engaged a lot of the time, so it was not like I was experiencing a Lacrosse void.  I knew I wanted to coach more, to implement what I learned from John Lovell and my experience in Toronto, but when Eddie called, I was not in the process of chasing anything.

GP: What did you first think of the idea of being an offensive coach, having been a defensive guy for your whole NLL career?

DL: The way Eddie laid it out to me, his thinking, his expectations and our approach as a group, I had zero doubts about my ability to meet his expectations.  I acknowledge that I cant tell Lyle or Miles or Randy or Shane how to put the ball in the net, but I can offer some experienced observations on how they are being defended, tendencies, weakness and areas to exploit.  Seemed like a very progressive approach to be honest and I was excited to be part of that and work with Eddie and Sean [Ferris, Swarm assistant coach].

GP: Lyle, Miles, and Jerome Thompson have been playing lacrosse together their whole lives, but they’re still pretty young and none has been in the league longer than two years. Do they need much coaching, or do you just stand back and let them do their thing?

DL: Those guys truly “feel the game”  They are attentive to the little bit of structure and principals we have in place and do their roles so well within those parameters, but there is also no scripting or controlling that creativity.  None of that O door need coaching per se…  They need reminders, reinforcement and feedback.  It is a very unique group I get to work with, and as my first experience, I could not be more happy or proud.

GP: Which Swarm players have you been the most impressed with this season – those who are consistently playing above the level you expected from them? What about non-Swarm players?

DL: Lyle Thompson – what can ya say.  He came back for year 2 with his feet running.

Mike Poulin – I played with Mike and I am so excited about the player he is now and the leadership he brings to this group.  He wants to win and is willing to do the little things to get there and let others follow his example.

Tom Schreiber and Kieran McArdle – Not that they are American.   That they are so dangerous in their rookie seasons…  So many talented US players just need a chance and they could have an impact as well.

Josh Currier – Watched him in Jr out of Peterborough.  Kid is gonna be good for a long time.

Ben McIntosh – Guy is coming into his own and its a dangerous thing.

GP: And we’ll finish up with some fun ones. Who was the toughest guy you had to defend against?

DL: John Grant was always a handful.  I liked the challenge of playing against him.  And he would talk to you on the floor as well.  Let you know that last slash hurt and that he owed you one or just make a funny comment.  He is so strong and creative and competitive.

GP: I know you had limited scoring opportunities as a defender, but who was the toughest goalie to score on?

DL: lol.  Bob Watson!!!  Had lots of opportunities, but Bobby always had my number!!!!

GP: What was your favourite arena to play in as the visiting team?

DL: Philly was a great place to play in back in the day.  Great passionate crowds.  Calgary and Colorado were great as well.  I hated playing in Rochester.

Game report: Georgia 13 @ Toronto 12 (OT)

What a heartbreaker. But what a great game. The matchup for top position in the East was everything we hoped it would be – close, defensive, fast-paced, and with some beautiful passing and scoring at both ends. Goaltending was solid, there were some nice transition plays, a number of penalties but nothing crazy (though one had a fairly major impact on the outcome), and we even got some free extra lacrosse at the end, though only 46 seconds of it.

Awesome

Latrell at the draft

  • Both defenses. This seems weird since each team took over 60 shots. But there seemed to be a lot of shot clock violations and constant passing around because nobody had a decent look at the net.
  • Tom Schreiber. Does it get boring saying this guy’s name every week? As a Rock fan, I say no. One play he made in the first quarter was similar to a play from last week, where Schreiber ran at the net like he had a couple of times previously, taking a couple of defenders with him. He then casually flipped it back to a wide open Brett Hickey who buried it. This time, he actually dove towards the side of the net, looking like he was trying to tuck it in between Poulin and the left post, but instead flipped it back to Dan Lintner who buried it while Schreiber was still in the air over the crease. Very slick.
  • Thompson brothers. Again, we mention these guys week as being awesome after week on Addicted to Lacrosse but it continues to be true. Each just knows where the others are going to be and I’m kind of surprised that the Miles-from-Lyle-and-Jerome goal in the third quarter was the first goal this year featuring all three of them. Actually, I checked and this is the only goal since 2005 featuring three players with the same last name, which means that neither the Gajic nor the Morgan brothers ever did it. The Kilgours (Travis, Darris, Richie) all played together on Buffalo from 1995-1999 but I don’t have goal stats going back that far.
  • Kieran McArdle – he scored the same goal three times: a laser from about 20 feet out and a little to the goalie’s left.
  • Latrell Harris. He played a solid game and then topped it off by giving the Rock a one-goal lead (finally! Harris scores on a breakaway) with 1:01 left in the fourth quarter. The elation lasted twelve seconds (see below).
  • Overtime! Who doesn’t love overtime! Well, I know a couple of people who get very stressed during OT and don’t like it. But I do!
  • Chad Tutton shot while on the run and then was hit into the crease, landing at Nick Rose’s feet. This tripped Rose up and he landed on Tutton, but not before making the save. Rose, as you may know, is a big guy. After Rose got up, Tutton got up, patted Rose on the shoulder, and headed to the bench. Not sure if he was saying “nice save” or if Rose apologized and Tutton was saying “don’t worry, I’m fine” but either way, it was nice to see that kind of sportsmanship. It was also nice to see the defenders not lose their minds because an opposing player hit their goalie accidentally.

Not awesome

  • Mike Poulin. Poulin was not terrible by any stretch, but he seemed to get fooled a lot. There were a number of shots where he’d make the save, and then look around frantically because he didn’t know where the ball was. At least twice it dropped behind him and he stopped it from going in the net or it rolled just wide. In one case, he saved most of it, but then danced around a little to try and get control of it, and it actually did bounce into the net. The ref had already whistled play dead so it didn’t count. But seeing as Poulin never really had control of the ball, play probably should not have been stopped and the goal should have counted.
  • Latrell Harris – The very next play after his tie-breaking goal, the Swarm win the faceoff and Harris chases down the player with the ball, and is called for interference. Not quite the worst time to take a penalty, but… actually that might have been the worst time to take a penalty. So the Swarm are down by one but are now on the power play with a minute left in the fourth quarter. Of course they pull their goalie to go 6-on-4. Shayne Jackson scores the tying goal with 3.9 seconds left.

Other game notes

  • Teddy Jenner made a great point on twitter after the game:

    Powless comes off the IR from concussion symptoms and scores the game winner in over-time; teammates immediately smack him on the head
    Teddy Jenner (@OffTheCrossebar)

  • For the upcoming Star Wars night, they played some ads featuring Rock players. One was wearing a Darth Vader mask and “force-choked” another, still another did his best Chewbacca impersonation. The ads were just terrible. And great. Or possibly great because they were terrible.
  • Two different people asked me whether women’s lacrosse features a “too many men” penalty. Is it “too many players”? Or “too many women”? I have no idea. Anyone out there know?

2017 NLL Predictions

Here are my predictions for the final regular season standings as well as the major annual awards. The “Dark Horse” predictions are my “not as likely but could happen” picks.

Final Standings

East

  1. New England
  2. Buffalo
  3. Georgia
  4. Toronto
  5. Rochester

West

  1. Saskatchewan
  2. Colorado
  3. Calgary
  4. Vancouver

Individual Awards

MVP

Winner: Mark Matthews
Short list: Shawn Evans, Dhane Smith
Dark horse:  Adam Jones

Goaltender of the Year

Winner: Aaron Bold
Short list: Dillon Ward, Nick Rose
Dark horse: Frank Scigliano

Robert HopeDefensive Player of the Year

Winner: Robert Hope
Short list: Ryan Dilks, Kyle Rubisch, Graeme Hossack
Dark horse:  Mitch de Snoo

Transition Player of the Year

Winner: Karsen Leung
Short list: Alex Kedoh Hill, Chad Tutton, Chris Corbeil
Dark horse:  Challen Rogers

Rookie of the Year

Winner: Ryan Keenan
Short list: Challen Rogers, Mike Messenger
Dark horse:  Kieran McArdle

Les Bartley Award

Winner: Troy Cordingley
Short list: Derek Keenan (though you could put his name here every year)
Dark horse: Jamie Batley

GM of the Year

Winner: If the Rock are above .500 and make the playoffs, Jamie Dawick. Otherwise, Steve Dietrich
Short list: Derek Keenan (though you could put his name here every year)
Dark horse: Curt Styres or Doug Locker

This was a tough one since the Rock, Knighthawks, Swarm, and Stealth made a lot of moves but I’m not terribly confident in them. Most other teams didn’t make many at all.

2017 NLL: Who’s in, who’s out

Here’s a complete list of all the roster changes for each team.

Note that these are the changes as of the final roster from last season, so a player might be listed as “In” even if he played for that team during 2016.

BanditsBuffalo Bandits

In: Craig Point, Brad Self
Out: Chad Culp, Tyler Ferreira, Jay Thorimbert
IR: Bryce Brochu, Craig England, Adam Will
PUP:
Holdout:
Practice Roster: Tim Edwards, Justin Martin, Kevin Orleman, Blaze Riorden

The Bandits have the fewest changes of any team in the league. They went to the finals last season, so that makes sense. Added to the lineup are veterans Craig Point and Brad Self, while Culp and face-off specialist Thorimbert head to New England and Tyler Ferreira to the rival Knighthawks.


SwarmGeorgia Swarm

In: Liam Byrnes, Bryan Cole, Jordan Hall, Mike Poulin, John Ranagan, Connor Sellars, Leo Stouros, Sean Young
Out: Reid Acton, David Earl, Zack Higgins, Jesse King, Jordan MacIntosh, Drew Petkoff, Johnny Powless, Joel White
IR: Jesse King, Jordan MacIntosh, Johnny Powless
PUP:
Holdout: Laughlin Elder
Practice Roster: Brayden Hill, Warren Hill, Drew Petkoff, Adam Shute

A few big names start the season on the injured list for the Swarm. Newcomer Jordan Hall should help boost the offense and Mike Poulin gives the Swarm a solid #1 goalie, something they haven’t really had since… well, a long time ago in a state far, far away. Defender John Ranagan joins from New England and five rookies also made the team.


BlackWolvesNew England Black Wolves

In: Chad Culp, Doug Jamieson, Seth Oakes, Reilly O’Connor, Scott Self, Matt Spanger, Jay Thorimbert
Out: Dan Ball, Tye Belanger, Phil Caputo, Jordan Hall, Stephen Hoar, Mike McNamara, John Ranagan
IR: Derek Searle
PUP:
Holdout:
Practice Roster: Dan Ball, Connor Brown, Joel Coyle, Mitch McMichael

A couple of fairly significant changes for the Black Wolves. The versatile Jordan Hall is now in Georgia, while Jay Thorimbert and Chad Culp bring their veteran smarts from Buffalo. Reilly O’Connor also arrives from Calgary, and Scott Self helps to shore up an already-strong back end. Hopefully Evan Kirk has another strong year, since backing him up with be rookie Doug Jamieson instead of Tye Belanger. Then again, Evan Kirk’s rookie year was rather impressive so the fact that Jamieson is a rookie may not matter.


KnighthawksRochester Knighthawks

In: Josh Currier, Jarrett Davis, Tyler Ferreira, Kyle Jackson, Luc Magnan, Joel Matthews, Quinn Powless, Wayne Van Every
Out: Adam Bomberry, Cody Jamieson, Mike Kirk, Mike Manley, Craig Point, Derek Searle, Brad Self, Scott Self, John Sullivan, Ty Thompson, Cory Vitarelli, Joe Walters
IR: Andrew Suitor, Cory Vitarelli
PUP: Adam Bomberry, Cody Jamieson
Holdout:
Practice Roster: Luke Laszkiewicz, Dan Lomas, John Rae

Lots of changes for the Knighthawks, some of them temporary. Joe Walters is out for the year after committing to the MLL. Also out is Craig Point, who only played four games last year but amassed 18 points, good for the third highest points-per-game average on the team. Jamieson, Bomberry, and Vitarelli will hopefully be returning to the lineup before long, and the oft-injured Andrew Suitor would be a welcome addition as well but also starts the year on the IR. In the meantime, Jarrett Davis returns from out west and Quinn Powless hopes to play a full season. NLL sophomores Luc Magnan and Tyler Ferreira help to strengthen a defense that is missing both Self brothers, John Sullivan, and the retired Mike Kirk.


RockToronto Rock

In: Connor Buczek, Damon Edwards, Steve Fryer, Latrell Harris, Brett Hickey, Mikey MacDonald, Kieran McArdle, Challen Rogers, Tom Schreiber, Matt Sawyer (head coach)
Out: Kyle Aquin, Jamie Batson, Colin Boucher, Colin Doyle, Rob Hellyer, John Lovell (head coach), Luc Magnan, Rob Marshall, Brandon Miller, Kevin Ross, Josh Sanderson
IR: Rob Marshall, Patrick Merrill, Brandon Miller, Brock Sorensen
PUP: Rob Hellyer
Holdout:
Practice Roster: Jordan Magnusson, Reid Reinholdt, Brodie Tutton
Protected: Paul Rabil

Where to start?

When you lose two of the top four offensive stars of all time in the same off-season, who do you replace them with? How about Americans who have never played a box lacrosse game in their lives? Doesn’t sound like a great plan but having watched Kieran McArdle and Tom Schreiber in the pre-season, it may not be that bad. But losing Doyle and Sanderson isn’t even the biggest loss for the Rock, points-wise. Rob Hellyer scored 27 points more than Doyle and Sanderson combined in 2016, but will miss all of 2017. Brett Hickey returns from an injury that cost him the last six games of 2016, so that will certainly help, and Mikey MacDonald has looked really good in the pre-season as well.

Challen Rogers will join the returning Damon Edwards, Brodie Merrill, and Jesse Gamble to form one of the best transition units in the league. Another question is in net where Steve Fryer, with all of 60 minutes in his NLL career, replaces Brandon Miller who’s recovering from hip surgery.

Oh, and the Rock are the only team to make a coaching change this season. Seems like there isn’t much about the Rock that didn’t change.


RoughnecksCalgary Roughnecks

In: Holden Cattoni, Chad Cummings, Christian Del Bianco, Riley Loewen
Out: Garrett McIntosh, Pete McFetridge, Riley O’Connor, Mike Poulin
IR:
PUP: Vaughn Harris
Holdout:
Practice Roster: Garrett McIntosh, Keegan Rittinger, Bob Snider

Just a couple of changes for the Roughnecks. Riley Loewen joins from the Rush replacing Riley O’Connor, who was traded due to league rules that prohibit two Rileys on the same team. Peter McFetridge is now in Vancouver and veteran goalie Mike Poulin signed with the Swarm. Frank Scigliano and second-year-player-but-still-a-teenager Christian Del Bianco will likely split the goaltending duties.


MammothColorado Mammoth

In: Greg Downing, Zack Greer, Jacob Ruest, Taylor Stuart
Out: Jackson Decker, Adam Jones, Mike Mallory, Mike Woods
IR:
PUP: 
Holdout:
Practice Roster: Brent Adams, Zach Herreweyers, Mike Mallory, Nick Ossello

One big change for the Mammoth: Adam Jones was sent to the Rush for constant scoring threat Zack Greer. Losing Jones hurts but who has Greer score the most points against in his career? The Mammoth. They’ll be glad to have him on their side for a change.


RushSaskatchewan Rush

In: Matthew Dinsdale, Adam Jones, Ryan Keenan, Mike Messenger
Out: Jarett Davis, Zack Greer, John Lintz, Riley Loewen
IR:
PUP: 
Holdout:
Practice Roster: Matt Hossack, Matt MacGrottty

The best get better? Possibly. Adam Jones scored two fewer points than Zack Greer last season, but played two fewer games because of work commitments. Hopefully playing in Canada will eliminate those missed games. Ryan Keenan was the first overall draft pick for a reason, and it sounds like the Rush players are very excited about his presence. Highly-touted rookie Mike Messenger replaces John Lintz in the Rush defense.


StealthVancouver Stealth

In: Keegan Bal, Tye Belanger, Brendan Fowler, John Lintz, Pete McFetridge, Tommy McKee, Ryan Wagner
Out: Garrett Billings, Mitch McMichael, Jeff Moleski, Eric Penney, Cliff Smith, Rory Smith, Jarrett Toll
IR: Garrett Billings, Cory Conway, James Rahe, Jarrett Toll
PUP:
Holdout:
Practice Roster: Brandon Clelland, Justin Goodwin, Evan Messenger, Eric Penney

Having Billings and Conway on the IR to start the year won’t help, but from Teddy Jenner’s interview with Conway a week or two ago, it sounded like his debut in the Stealth lineup wouldn’t be delayed for long. McMichael was traded east, Moleski retired, and Cliff Smith will miss at least part of the season due to work commitments as he attempts to start a career in law enforcement. The revolving door of Stealth goaltenders continues as Tye Belanger gets the nod as Tyler Richards’s backup.

Grabbing a solid veteran defender from a division rival isn’t easy but Doug Locker did it twice this off-season. John Lintz and Pete McFetridge will make a big difference in the Stealth back end.

Could happen…

As I like to do at about this time every year, I’m going to look at the playoff picture and see what the possibilities are. Can a last-place team finish first? Can a first-place team miss the playoffs? Sometimes the possibilities are surprising.

Some options are no longer possibilities. Saskatchewan and Colorado have not only clinched playoff berths, they’ve clinched home playoff games, which means the final playoff spot in the West is between Calgary and Vancouver and neither can finish higher than third, so not much room for surprising finishes there. Neither Georgia nor Toronto can finish first in the East.

Let’s see what could happen. UPDATED after games of April 10.

Georgia finishes second in the East

If Georgia wins out, NE loses out, and Rochester beats Buffalo and Saskatchewan, all three teams are 9-9. The first three-way tiebreaker is the combined record against each other. In this case, Georgia would be 4-3 against NE and Rochester, New England would be 4-4, and Rochester would be 3-4, so Rochester finishes third (of the three, so fourth in the division). Then we drop to the two-team tiebreaker. Georgia and New England would be 2-2 against each other, so we go to Eastern division opponents. Georgia would be 7-5 while New England would be 7-6 so Georgia gets second.

Toronto finishes second in the East

The Bandits will have at most 8 losses, and New England will have at most 9. Toronto already has 10, so they can’t finish better than third.

Buffalo misses the playoffs

Buffalo is in the playoffs

Buffalo can finish with no more than 8 losses. Georgia already has 9 and Toronto has 10 so the Bandits can finish no lower than third.

Rochester misses the playoffs

If Rochester loses three of their four remaining games, Toronto wins their remaining four, and Georgia wins four of their remaining five, Rochester is out.

New England misses the playoffs

 

No announcement has been made by the league or the team that New England has clinched, but I can’t find any scenarios where New England finishes any lower than third. Toronto already has more losses than New England can have, so Toronto will finish lower than the Wolves. There are no ways Georgia can have fewer losses than New England, so either NE is ahead of Georgia and Toronto (so they’re in), or they end up tied with Georgia. But in that case, Rochester is either also tied with them (so they’re out, given the three-way tie-breaker I mentioned above) or has a worse record. In the second case, NE is ahead of both Rochester and Toronto so they’re in.

Unless I’m misunderstanding the three-way tie-breaker, New England has clinched a playoff spot.

Update: Nailed it.

Vancouver finishes third in the West

It’s still possible for Calgary and Vancouver to end up tied at 7-11. The season series would also be tied at 2-2, so then the tiebreaker falls to record against divisional opponents. Vancouver would be 6-5 against western rivals while Calgary would be 3-8 so Vancouver gets in.

2016 Pre-season predictions revisited

We’re just past the mid-season point, so I’m going to look over my pre-season predictions for the standings and major awards and see how things are progressing. I don’t think I got any of my major award picks right (except for a “maybe” in ROY), but a few of my “dark horse” picks were surprisingly accurate.

Standings

In the East I had Rochester, Toronto, Buffalo, Georgia, and New England in that order. Clearly New England is doing better than I thought and Toronto is not, but if you swap them and also swap Rochester and Buffalo, I nailed it.

In the West, I had Saskatchewan, Vancouver, Colorado, and Calgary. Obviously I greatly overestimated Vancouver’s success this season. Move them to the bottom and I’m right again.

MVP

Prediction:  Mark Matthews, who’s always a good choice for this award and is having a good season with 66 points in 11 games. But Dhane Smith is on pace to outscore Matthews by almost fifty points and beat the single-season scoring record by 25. Smith is the clear winner here.

Goaltender of the Year

Prediction: Aaron Bold. Again, always a good choice and is having a good season but right now, I’d have to give this to my dark horse choice, Nick Rose, closely followed by Mike Poulin.

Defensive Player of the Year

Prediction: Sid Smith but I’m going to have to go with Chris Corbeil on this one. I watched the Rush defense against the Rock at the ACC recently and they not only prevented looks and shots very well, but they were also really good at knocking the ball out of a forward’s stick and then scooping up the resulting loosie. I thought Corbeil was particularly good at this. He can also score in transition (6 goals so far) and on one transition chance going the other way in the Rush/Rock game, he caught up to Jesse Gamble, which I didn’t think was even possible.

Kedoh says no!Transition Player of the Year

Prediction: Karsen Leung. Leung’s numbers aren’t where they were last year and he didn’t score until his 8th game, so I’m going to go with another dark horse prediction, Alex Kedoh HIll. Hill has 25 points and 73 LBs and is a major part of the Bandits’ super-fast transition game.

Rookie of the Year

Prediction: Wes Berg. No idea if I got this right or not. In terms of points, Berg, Randy Staats, and Jesse King are all within 3 points of each other. But Swarm transition player Chad Tutton is also having a great rookie season, with an impressive 11 goals and is playing solid defense. Graeme Hossack in Rochester is also playing some great D. This might be a cop-out, but I’m going to say there’s no clear winner at this point so we’ll have to see what the second half of the season holds.

Les Bartley Award

Prediction: Dan Perreault. Um, yeah. Not only is Perreault not the coach of the year, he’s not even employed in the NLL right now. I did have Glenn Clark as my dark horse pick, and the way the Black Wolves are playing, he might be my mid-season choice.

GM of the Year

Prediction: Doug Locker. Um, yeah. I still think Locker did a pretty good job in the off-season, picking up Billings, Moleski, Hawksbee, and Travis Cornwall, and the Schuss-for-Powless deal last year was great for both teams. I don’t think it’s his fault that the team isn’t playing well but that said, I can’t give the GM of the Year award to a guy who created a sub-.500 team. John Arlotta also made some significant changes to the Swarm and in three or four years this might be a really good team but similarly, since they’re currently 4-8, we can’t say that now. Plus we’ve thought “this team could be really good in a couple of years” about the Swarm for ten years now and they just never seem to get there.

I may have to go back to the Black Wolves, as GM Chris Seinko did a great job to trade for Shawn Evans, reacquire Kevin Crowley, and also bring in guys like Dan Ball, Derek Suddons, and Sheldon Burns, all of whom are contributing on this surprising team.