Thursday, January 26, 2012

Peaks and Valleys- A weekly look at NLL Trends

Junior cracks 1000


We are taking a break from slagging poor performances this week to celebrate John Grant Jr’s 1000th point. He joined John Tavares, Gary Gait, Colin Doyle and Josh Sanderson in the exclusive 1000 Point Club as he led his Colorado Mammoth to a big win in Calgary last week.

Junior has always attracted a wide array of opinions during his career. For every person who thinks he is a magician, there is a dissenter who labels him an under-performer. Well 1000 points certainly doesn’t scream “under perform” does it?

Let’s take a look at his NLL Career stats: (Courtesy-

                              Games Goals Assists Points LBs PIM

2000 R Rochester    12       37      40        77     76    32
2000 P Rochester      2         9        7        16       9      6
2001 R Rochester    14       42      48        90   124    18
2001 P Rochester      1         3        1          4       5      0
2002 R Rochester    16       52      53      105   102    43
2002 P Rochester      2         6        5        11     10      0
2003 R Rochester    16       46      53        99   115    20
2003 P Rochester      2         6        7        13     17      4
2004 R Rochester      5       16      19        35     34      6
2005 R Rochester    15       49      56      105     83    31
2005 P Rochester      2         7        6        13       7      2
2006 R Rochester    16       54      43        97     86    22
2006 P Rochester      2         8        2        10       8      2
2007 R Rochester    15       51      60      111     81    40
2007 P Rochester      3         8        7        15     24      0
2008 R Rochester    16       47      45        92   116    16
2010 R Rochester    15       39      44        83     85    17
2011 R Colorado     16       36      47        83     45    12
2011 P Colorado       1         3        1          4       2      0

Career Totals                     519   544    1063  1030  271

The raw numbers are amazing to look at especially for the balance. He isn’t a pass-first player nor is he a straight gunner. To amass 500 goals AND 500 assists is incredible.

What really stands out in the stats are his ability to put up consistently strong numbers throughout his career in all categories. He has 1000 points but also has 1000 Looseballs. For comparison Colin Doyle, has put up 1200 points and 965 Looseballs which is also incredible.

Looking at the stats even further you then remember that Junior only played 5 games in 2004 and missed the entire 2009 season due to injuries and illness. Using his averages around those missing season would add 150 Points and Looseballs to his totals.

It also seems that the cool Mountain air has rejuvenated him. Though playing with Gavin Prout and young gun, Adam Jones certainly helps, Junior is on pace for a career best 149 points at the age of 38.

So let us celebrate the career of John Grant Jr. He has persevered through a knee injury and a serious infection to continually provide brilliance season after season. He is one of the games greats.


We continue or work on LB Plus and anecdotally it seems that our thesis is being proven. Of course we will let the season play out and perform the work before claiming our brilliance to the Lacrosse world!

What is noticeable is the ability of the winning teams to limit second chances and the inability of losing teams to do the same. Toronto is winless because they give up too many second chances on Defence while simultaneously running countless 1 shot and out possessions on Offence. Philadelphia turned their game around after a terrible opener by performing on defence and limiting second chance opportunities.

Friday, January 20, 2012

2012 Six Nations Rebels Jr. B Tournament Schedule

What once seemed so far away is now closer as Six Nations has published their Pre-Season Tournament Showcase schedule. Just over 2 months to March 31st, fans.
We will be there and provide score updates via our Twitter feed.

All games at the ILA.

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM


10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

1:00 PM – 2:00 PM

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM

3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM

6:00 PM – 7:00 PM

7:00 PM – 8:00 PM

8:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Peaks and Valleys- A Weekly Look at NLL Trends

Peaks and Valleys

Your weekly look at the trends in the NLL

After the first full week of games, it’s time to look at some early items that pop out in the stats.

Peak- Calgary’s finishing touch

If you watched the first quarter of the season opener in Toronto, you would have thought Calgary was a men’s league team. They looked disorganized and sloppy. What changed? Well they got their transition game in order and started generating multiple shots on a possession and worked their way back into the game.

More strikingly, they have outscored their opponents 18-8 in the second half of games. Since those games have been against Toronto and Washington, Finalists for the past 2 seasons, you can’t complain about the strength of their opponent. Should this trend keep up throughout the season, look for Calgary to make a push for top seed.

Valley- Toronto Rock offence

The defending champs are 0-2 and looking decidedly old. Both Buffalo and Calgary exposed their transition game to generate several chances.

One can debate the current whereabouts of Stephan Leblanc but it’s a failure of the whole unit that stands out. Against Buffalo in the first quarter they generated 1 second chance opportunity. Buffalo had one sequence where Steinhaus got a rebound and was stoned by Roik, only to have Culp pick up the second rebound work it around a bit and then get it back before firing a goal past Roik to tie it at 3-3. Doyle, Billings, Sanderson and Carey have a combined 8 Looseballs over the first two games. If not for Kasey Beirnes with 11 LB’s vs Buffalo it would look even uglier.

In order to get their offence on track, they need to get their big guns doing more of the dirty work and generating more LB Plus and more second chances. Buffalo and Calgary used that formula to achieve success against Toronto.

Peak- Vintage Mike Accursi

Mike Accursi had a fantastic game at Philadelphia. 10 points is good. 16 total shots is solid. 10 looseballs is fantastic. His stat line looked like it was 2002 when he had 56 points and 98 LB’s for Buffalo. I expect his stats to normalize over the season but it’s nice to see a great player turn back the clock from time to time.

Valley- Philadelphia Defence

They gave up 22 goals. Gave up 7 PP Goals in 11 chances and generally looked awful in their home opener. They look like a two player team up from with Dawson and Crowley pulling the load.

However what really stands out is a lowly 3 forced turnovers. In 60 minutes of action it takes true ineptitude to only force 3 turnovers. Granted the game devolved into a penalty-filled punchfest but unless Philly gets better on D it looks like a long year is ahead in the City of Brotherly Love.


Further to our post last week on LB Plus, we have done some work with Dan Shirley of the NLLBlog to develop game logs for each NLL game this week. We will track every possession in a game as a way to further develop the field of statistics in Lacrosse. Look for more details as we advance through the season and work out the kinks.

I am also now questioning the recording of Turnovers and Forced Turnovers on the NLL website. In each game there are a larger number of TOs when compared to FTs. It would seem reasonable to state that to have a Turnover. Now with game logs we can hash out exactly how to balance turnovers and forced turnovers to make them match up.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Not All Looseballs Are Created Equal

It’s a simple game, Lacrosse. Score more than the other guy and you win. To score more however, you need to typically have the ball more than the other guy. You can accomplish this in several ways (make more saves for one) but the chief statistic we use and one coaches harp on repeatedly, is the looseball.

A looseball is a ball that is not in the possession of any player and therefore can be obtained by any player on the floor. Collect a looseball and your team can score. Miss a looseball and you can find yourself trudging to the bench after being scored upon. Win the looseball battle and you win the game 9 times out of 10.

The question though is, are all looseballs essential to the team’s success or are certain types of looseballs MORE important to a victory than others? Since Lacrosse boils down to goals and goals are the product of scoring chances or shots it would seem that in some instances a looseball that either denies an opponent a shot attempt or gives your team a second consecutive shot attempt would be more important to team success than picking up a looseball at mid-floor.

We at LiveLaxBlog have decided to study this phenomena which we call, the Looseball Plus (or LB+). A LB+ occurs when an offensive player recovers a ball for his team AFTER a shot at net and which leads to a subsequent shot attempt in the same possession. For the Defence, a LB+ occurs when a defensive player or goalie recovers a ball BEFORE any shot attempt by the Offence on that possession. All other looseball recoveries are simply Looseballs for the purpose of our experiment.

With that in mind, we will be using the 2012 NLL season as a barometer of the effect of LB+ on a team’s winning percentage. For each game we will be tabulating Looseballs and LB+ for each player. We will publish a weekly update, usually on Wednesday, with that week’s LB+ Leaders and the LB+ season leaders for both individuals and teams. Consider it our effort to push the analysis of the sport to a new level.

On top of that, we will be looking at a couple of other new statistics and will debut them as the season progresses. It is our hope that we will find new stats that show how effective (or efficient) an individual player is and how positively (or negatively) they impact their team’s success.

Look for our LB+ stats next week. One game in a weekend is not enough to get a true feel for the statistic. If you have any questions or comments please contact us. We are always happy to discuss and fine tune things to make them work for the game.

Monday, January 9, 2012

OLA Midget Draft First Round Results

Through our various sources we have confirmed the opening round picks for this past weekend's OLA Midget Draft.

1- G. Lewis (OS) to Barrie
2- J. Hulbert (Oak) to Beaches
3- J. Tinney (Gue) to Barrie
4- C. Brown (HH) to Mississauga
5- C. Shilling (Oril) to Barrie
6- E. Renaud (Burl) to Burlington
7- P. Masterson (Lon) to Burlington
8- W. Petschenig (Nep) to Peterborough
9- M. Gilray (Clar) to Peterborough
10- A. Devitcos (WD) to Orangeville
11- B. Milne (Gue) to Burlington
12- T. Fedyk (CW) to Whitby