Cannons vs. Lizards – Pregame Snacks.

The Lizards play the Cannons this Thursday.  It’s going to be on Comcast Sports Net and it’s being called by Jason Chandler, possibly the biggest broadcast star the MLL has ever created.  I’m serious.  The baby-faced assassin has been placed on this earth to call lacrosse games and provide guidance to both fledgling and nuanced MLL fans alike.  More importantly, the Cannons have a winning percentage of 100% with J. Chand calling the action.  This season, anyway.

(The best part about previewing games this early in the season is that the stats do the writing for you. )

The Lizards top point man is Matt Danowski.  He has two goals and four assists.  A staggering 15% shooting percentage makes those numbers even more impressive.  Have I mentioned that I’m a UNC fan and hate all Duke players in all sports?  Now I have.  Keep that nugget fresh in your mind, I’m sure it will come up again this season/article.

(Is this fair?  I feel like this isn’t fair…)

Long Island’s leading Scorer is Stephen “Last, er, uh, not…picked” Berger with four goals.  His biggest advantage is being super-angry about not being picked by Team USA and taking it out on the field, but he’s more of a dodger than a finisher and plays almost exactly like the Cannons own Justin Smith.  He sort of looks like him too, if Smitty was dipped in a vat of acid like the Joker.  Nicholson, not Ledger.  Don’t get cute.  Berger will be locked down by Sweeney all game.  Don’t worry about him.

(Seriously, this is like playing dodgeball against a team of six year olds.  That are handcuffed to each other.  On the moon.)

I see that you are wearing your "no chance" pants for this game. Well played.

By comparison, the Cannons have one player that has out-scored both Berger and Danowski – Matt “Barncat” Poskay.  “The Barncat” has eight goals and has broken the 100 goal barrier for the Cannons.  To say that Poskay is the definition of a true Cannon is beyond obvious, but should be stated as many time as possible.  As long as he accepts the “Barncat” moniker and stops calling himself “Country”.

The Lizards have scored 18 goals in two games, and I have to say that averaging less than 10 points in the MLL means that you have basically no chance of winning against an NCAA team much less a professional lacrosse team.  Ask the Nationals, I heard they lost to a bunch of high school kids last week.  Who’s scared of Team Canada now? Can’t win a lacrosse game without longpoles or a goalie, right?  Hey Canada, enjoy the Bronze this year.

It would be far too easy to blame the Lizards struggles on their goalie Drew Adams.  He’s sporting a 57% save clip to go with a respectable goals against average of 12.5.  Good for fourth in the league so far.  Out of six.  Adams has had the unenviable task of replacing one of – if not the – best goalie(s) in MLL history in Brian Dougherty. It seems like only last week that I was casting aspersions on the twinkie filled net minder but the big man has decided to retire from the MLL, despite being named to Team USA.

Doughy-ty one of only two players that have retired from professional play but are still suiting up for the US in the 2010 lacrosse world cup.  The other player being former Cannon Kevin Cassese, whose name I simply cannot type correctly and I, for the sake of convenience only, am glad is not playing ball for Boston in 2010.  But then again, he played for Duke, so the name thing is less important.

The retirement of Brian Dougherty explained in just one picture:

Kip Turner has been great for the Cannons in the first two games.  Wait, did I just type that?  Yes.  I did.  Well, he has indeed been pretty great so far.  He has had some “Kip turner moments” as I call them, when he wanders out of goal for a loose ball and then turns his back to the field for some reason.  Maybe he talks to the ball.

All I know is that the Kipster is third in save percentage (54%) and Goals against average (11.5).  Now all he has to do is stay in the damn cage and keep throwing pretty outlets.  Or I’m going to list the guys that were picked after him in the draft.  You’re safe for now, Kippie.  Safe for now…

The Lizards defense is seen to be their strength, but really its only strength is its retirement plan.  The average age of the Lizards defense is 29, which doesn’t seem old, but in MLL terms is practically ancient.  That being said, LI holds it’s opponents under 25% shooting (22% in fact) good for best in the league.  Somehow I think that will change against the midfield heavy Cannons line up.  The Liz have no pole to match up with Paul Rabil and have serious trouble covering feeders.  Good news for Ryan Boyle; better news for Rabes who should have a field day with Frank D’Agostino and Steve Panarelli in the open field.

The Cannons have the advantage on face-offs, but Long Island’s Greg “Beastman” Gurenlian (44%) has a slight advantage over Chris “What the H-” Eck (45%) in the weight room.  Gurenlian is the guy at the gym that eaves the weights out and never wipes down the equipment.  Because he never leaves.  That being said, the only team that has been dominating face-offs this year are the Bayhawks who play in some place called Chesapeake.  Where is that?  Is that a mountain?  Is that where that guy wrote “Watership Down”?  That book sucked.  If your teacher makes you read “Watership Down” take the F and toss it in the trash.  It’s not worth it.  That’s the book dumb people say is their favourite to look smart.

No St. Louis Post-Dispatch, it's astonishing that talking rabbits are really a part of the national teaching curriculum.

The Cannons are primed for a 3-0 start, but they have to stay vigilant after they get a lead.  Last year the Cannons main problem was holding on to leads and this year it looks like they might have the same affliction.  They were up as many as seven goals on Chicago in the third quarter last week, but they only ended up winning by two goals and were outscored 6-3 in the fourth quarter by the Machine.  The Cannons also held a six goal lead against The Outlaws early in the third quarter of the home opener, but were outscored 6-4 down the stretch in that game as well.

Remember, if you see Jason Chandler on the street, give the guy a hug.  He needs/deserves the attention.  Tune in to CSN on Thursday and watch the Cannons run show on the Lizards.  Because Long Island is just Las Vegas without any fun stuff to do and MORE people with plastic in their faces.

NO! NOT THE GAMBLER! KYLE, HOW COULD YOU?!

Go Cannons.

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