The Case for Poskay

You know him as the titular goal-poaching cherub that patrols the crease for the Cannons.  I know him as the guy in the MLL that really sucks at making fun of me.  Yes, folks whether you call him by his self-imposed nickname “Country” or by my nickname “The Barn Cat” he is the league’s leading scorer – Matt Poskay.

Yes, with 39 points (34 goals, 1 two-point goal and 4 assists), Poskay is at the top of the league all by his lonesome.  Its all the more impressive considering that he switched positions this year and is playing his first season at attack.   See you thought I was going to say something else there, didn’t you?  If you want sensationalism you can look elsewhere, good sir.  This column was not born out of assignment or desperation.  It was birthed by a singular, significant and superb question.

Who is the MLL MVP?

It’s the sort of inquiry that makes me realize that I’m the only media member who actually thinks about the MLL with the World Games going on.  Although I did vow to pose nude with the Canadian flag and be painted like Kate Winslet in Titanic if the Canucks win.  I’ll do it.  You think I won’t do it?  BECAUSE I WILL! My sexual napalm aside, the MLL MVP is one of the things that defines an MLL season. Think about it.  Past MVP’s include Jay Jalbert, Gary Gait, Mark Millon, Conor Gill, Ryan Powell, John Grant Junior.  Are those the best payers in the history of lacrosse?  With a few exceptions and limitations (no defenseman have ever won the MLL MVP for instance) I’d have to say yes.

So does scoring a metric ton of goals get you the MVP this year?  In the last six years every MLL MVP has lead the league in scoring – save one.  Ryan Powell’s second MVP award is sullied, nay – tainted, by Conor Gill leading the league in scoring with 24 goals, 5 two-pointers, and 33 assists.  Sure, Powell had a strong season with 34 goals and 24 assists, leading his team to a 7-5 record, but Gill had four more points and the Cannons rocked 8 wins and four losses.  Travesty?  Clearly. A conspiracy to prevent the Cannons from having yet another MVP award and rewarding an expansion franchise that would eventually flame out.  Poor form.

So we’ve established that the leading scorer doesn’t always get the MVP.  It’s just accepted that unless you’re a Cannon you do. That’s fine.  And yes, I’m aware that Rabil won the MVP last year.  Not even the league could deny his machismo.  It’s irrelevant.  What is relevant is the prospect of Matt Poskay getting his own hardware.  Now it wouldn’t be fair play if I didn’t explore the advocacy of devil’s as they relate to this argument.

Razor Ramon ALSO oozes machismo.

Sure, Poskay has 34 goals, but how many of them did he create?  Uhm. By dodging?  Probably four or five of them.  Maybe three.  But does every great player have to be a great dodger?  John Grant junior is one of the best players in the history of the league, but the only thing I’ve ever seen him do is the bull dodge.  Poskay has a different skillset.  He’s sneaky.  Like small forest animals, Poskay will find a way into your campsite.  You cannot prevent it.  If you man-mark him, you lose your crease slide.  If you zone up, he can backdoor cut you like your/my prom date with an exact-o knife.  How do you stop a cutting finisher in lacrosse?  You kill his feeder.

Yes, the naysayers will attribute all of Poskay’s goals to the exploits of Ryan Boyle operating the Cannons offense behind the cage.  It’s the easiest argument to make.  A crease monkey without a feeder is just a monkey with a stick.  Well, I suppose that would be funny to see, a monkey with a stick and all, but its not entirely accurate.  Take a look at Boyle’s numbers.  He only has 23 assists.  I say only ironically as he leads the MLL in assist with ease, but he doesn’t have 34 assists.  He didn’t assist on every single one of Poskay’s tallies.  And even if he did, The Country/Barn Cat apparently put in 11 goals without him.  When Mark Millon won the co-MVP in 2005, shared with Gary Gait, he was playing with Conor Gill – the best feeder in the history of the game. All due respect, but suck it Jon Hess and Darren Lowe – Gill was the best ever.  Millon had 38 goals and Gill had 34 assists in the ’05.  Curiouser and curiouser.  It appears that now we have a precedent.

For those of you skimming this at home I totally just compared Mark Millon to Matt Poskay.  The only difference really being that Poskay talks to his fans and doesn’t request final cut on his interviews.  A story for another time, perhaps.

So after establishing that a top goal scorer playing with the best feeder in the league can win an MVP, where else is there to go?  Well I suppose we can look at other candidates but it will only take a paragraph or two.  Honestly, there aren’t many challengers for the MVP award, folks.

There are no goalies on fire (although I wish there were, a few of them could lose some pounds burn unit style) No dominant defensemen (even if there were none of them would be even close to MVP status) and only a handful of high scoring midfielders and attackmen (Only two of them are playing this weekend – the rest are USA/Canada National team members; thus their points will drop).

The two players not selected as the best their country has to offer?

Peet Poillon (20 goals, 2 two-pointers, 15 assists) and Matt Danowski (20 goals, 4 two-pointers, 11 assists).  The first thing I notice there – only 20 goals each; fourteen less than Matty P-game.  Peet Poillon is the focal point of his team’s attack. The offense runs through the midfield in Chesapeake and Peeteeiee is the first option.  He has to be; Kyle Dixon is too busy knitting on the sidelines after taking the first check of the game.  Matt Danowski leads the Long Island Lizards in all statistical categories.  Unfortunately his team has THE WORST OFFENSE IN THE LEAGUE.  What happens when you’re the best player on the worst team?  Do you know what happens to a toad when it’s struck by lightning?  The same thing that happens to everything else!

Oh, and those Team USA/Team Canada guys?  Child, please.  Only Mundorf plays on a winning team, (the Outlaws) had a WAY better year statistically in 2009, (34g, 10a) and didn’t even get to sniff Rabil’s MVP because Jesse Schwartzman was eating it.

It’s not done and dusted for Poskay, though.  He has three games left to prove that he can be the 2010 MLL MVP.  The first game is this weekend’s contest against the Nationals, a team currently comprised of street toughs, angry Iroquois Nationals and two dynamic (re: American) goalies.  I don’t even think they have a coach.  Regardless of the opposition, Poskay will have to put up some goals without his remora fish to cement his MVP candidacy.  In my mind it’s just a matter of time before the Barn Cat gets what’s coming to him.

Mr. Ryan Boyle, please get off my back.

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