Thursday, February 2, 2012

Peaks and Valleys- A Weekly look at NLL Trends

What a difference one weekend can make! Last week it looked like Toronto was done and Buffalo would take the East. A 2-0 weekend for the Rock has righted the ship, a poor result in Minnesota by the Bandits and suddenly the Philadelphia Wings (?) are in first place. The league is very tight and the small plays that go unnoticed can make all the difference.

Valley- Dane Dobbie reported as missing

In the Calgary's season opener at Toronto, Dobbie was at his mercurial best. Mixing it up with everyone, driving to the net hard and generally impacting the game with his effort. Fast forward to the rematch in Calgary this past weekend and notice the discrepancy in stats.
In Game 1 he finished with 3 goals and 3 assists. In Game 2 he had 1 goal and 3 assists. Both are respectable point totals but it's the other stats that tell the true story.
In Game 1, Dobbie took 17 shots at the net, had 3 LBs, 2 Turnovers, 1 Takeaway and a penalty. A typical Dobbie game over his career.
In Game 2 this past Saturday, Dobbie had 3 shots at the net, 1 Turnover and ZERO LBs and Takeaways.
For Calgary to have any success, they need a lot more of Game 1 Dobbie and a lot less of Game 2 Dobbie.

Peak- Kasey Beirnes, The underrated star in Toronto

I've always been a fan of Kasey Beirnes' game. He's not the fastest, doesn't have a booming shot and is not particularly imposing when you see his name next to Sanderson, Doyle, Leblanc and Billings. But make no mistake, Kasey Beirnes has a huge impact on Toronto's offence in all categories. Let's take a look at his season so far:
In 4 games he has 5 Goals and 6 Assists which is about on average for his career. Now in the 11th year of his career, Beirnes has averaged about 4.75 Looseballs per game and has been fairly consistent. This year though he has upped his average to 5.75 looseballs per game. Over the past 3 games he has 22 LBs (Many of which are LB Plus) which is an average over 7 LBs a game. That's a great average for any player. Beirnes may not be putting up the big points but his hard work is allowing players like Sanderson and Billings to post big numbers and for his team to win games.

Valley- Stealth; Having the ability to prevent detection

Never has a dictionary definition better described a Lacrosse team than it currently does with the Washington Stealth. Dropping their last game AT HOME to Edmonton by a 16-5 score is hopefully the low point for last year's Champions Cup Finalists. Oh and Three isn't the end of the world but averaging 8 goals a game on offence just won't cut it this year.
They have been outscored 12-5 in the first quarter so far this season which is a worrisome trend. In order to right the ship they will need better starts than what they have gotten so far.

Can someone please tell the NLL to add more servers to the system? The redesign is nice but there are many times when we are unable to retrieve data from their website because the servers are too slow/too few.
After watching 4 weeks of action it is time to come out and state our approval of the new rules. The 8 second count to cross centre has had some impact on speeding up the game. The tightened up change rules are allowing more transition shots which is improving flow. The best rule however has been the immediate drop the ball on possession changes. One simple rule has taken away all the stupidity and tactics that have slowed the game down for years. Now all we need is for that rule to come to the summer leagues in Canada. Let's get it done, CLA!

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