It was All-Star roster week and there were some mild surprises on both sides. It is a bit premature to name the All Stars when most teams have played 1/4 of their season games but we will not split hairs here. Let's take a closer look at the rosters:
Valley- All-Star errors East Division
If the goal of the All Star Game is to reward those players which are playing the best that specific season then one player stands out on the East roster; Colin Doyle.
Doyle has had a fantastic career and this selection may have been a career achievement choice because his stats on the season are well below others and his own career stats. Sure he has missed the last 2 Rock games because of injury but 4 goals in 3 games is not the Popeye of old. More worrisome is his 4 looseballs. That's not an average, that's his total for the season!
Watching games this season, Doyle has seemed a step slow. It has translated to his early season stats. It may just be a concidence but Toronto's offence has been much better over the past 2 games and Stephen Leblanc has found his game after seeming lost early in the season.
Another error is the premature inclusion of Johnny Powless in his rookie season. Powless has had a solid start to his NLL Career but to name him to the All Star roster based on his early play neglects better choices from Rochester. He is 6th on his team in scoring (9G, 6A for 15 Points, 12 LBs) and has been outplayed in all areas by Stephen Keogh (9G, 12A for 21 Points, 16 LBs) and Cory Vitarelli (11G, 7A for 18 Points, 25 LBs) on his own Knighthawks team.
Powless will be a strong player in the future but Vitarelli or Keogh are more deserving of All Star nods based on this year's results.
Valley- All Star errors West Division
The West Division has been the better division after the first quarter of the season. It shows in the depth of their All Star choices. Grant, Prout and the rookie, Jones have been lights out for Colorado all season and are deserving choices. Crawford and Benesch from Minny are having quietly productive seasons. You can make a solid argument for all the players on the team.
The omission though? Scott Ranger from Calgary. Ranger has been a threat for Calgary in all their games and is tied for the team lead in goals with about half the shots at net when compared to Dobbie and Dickson. I think Ranger is caught in a "they all look the same" dilemma when trying to figure out Roughnecks All Stars. The difference between Ranger, Dickson, Shattler, Evans and Dobbie is so small overall that selecting the reigning league MVP (Shattler) is the easy choice.
Peaks- All Star Rookies
A number of first timers were selected and it is nice to see the league transition from the old guard to the new guard. Twelve players were selected to their first All Star game which is a good sign for the future of the league. Congratulations to them all and I hope they will be at many more All Star games.
One could argue that Mike Thompson as the East Starting goalie is an error but no goalie in the East Division has really exerted themselves over the season so far. You could throw a blanket over all the tenders right now. One of the problems with choosing All Stars after 3-4 games I guess. Given a few more games it is likely that someone would have risen from the East pack. I do think Thompson benefitted from a great performance against the Rock when he was clearly superior to Roik in a big game.