Archive for August 2010

Pointing the Finger

August 26, 2010

It’s my fault.  It really is.  Remember that as you read through this.  I’ve thought about it for days now.  If only I had written something less inflammatory.  If only I had bitten the bullet and found my way to Annapolis.  If only I was there to heckle the Bayhawks myself.

If only.

But don’t worry; I’m not going to do what you all think I’m going to do which is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izCeFd3mUqE

Okay, maybe a little.  I’ll flip out a little.  Seven stages of grief in five days?  It was more like seventeen stages of grief every hour.  It sounds insane, but I really do blame myself a little.  I goaded the opposing team.  I covered up the Cannons’ weaknesses even thought I knew they were there.  I played down the significance of the Bayhawks’ ability to key transition.

See the worst part about this “job” is that I’m not supposed to be a fan.  I’m supposed to be some sort of mouthpiece of MLL knowledge because, frankly, no one else is doing it.  I just happen to be a Cannons fan since the inception of the franchise so I plop down my work here.  And wherever else will have me.

So this may/will come as a surprise.

I didn’t have high hopes for this team when the season started.  There were several players missing from the storied 2009 squad when training camp finally began in May.  And yes, they were storied, I wrote stories about them.  This makes them storied.

You know what I think?  I think you forget who was on this team last year.

101 points of offense left the 2009 team.  71 goals, 30 assists worth of players LEFT the Cannons.  They left! WHY DID THEY LEAVE?  Don’t worry child; we’ll get there.

I’m not going to tell you who those players are.  I’ll let you guess.  Go ahead.

Johnny Christmas is the first guy named by the average Cannons fan.  Would you like to guess how many points Mr. Christmas had?  25?  30?

Try seven. SEV-EN.  Five goals and two assists – in SEV-EN games.

My uneducated fan guess was Tom Zummo, but that’s only because I miss Tom Zummo and his two goals and two assists like the flower misses the sun.  *sniff*.

😦

You see the loss of Christmas was ancillary.  As was the departure of Zummo, Kevin Cassese, Brett Garber and Bobby Horsey (only Garber played in 2010 – he had a great year, but followed his dad to Chicago to get playing time.  Make of that what you will).  Losing Ray Megill had a much bigger impact than most people will realize as well, but his departure was eased by McClay’s move to become the second LSM and cover for Mitch Beslisle at close D.

So who is left?  Who could POSSIBLY be left?

77 points are left.

Three deserters are left.

Three players with the blood of the 2010 season on their hands are left.

(I really don’t want to do this, Kyle’s ego is making me. He knows he’s wrong, he’s just making excuses and doing what you expect him to do.)

Let us begin with the negligent Cannon with the most potential: Brandon Corp.  When the Cannons picked Corp in the 2009 a lot of people were upset.  I wasn’t one of those people.  Look back…oh look the MLL decided to purge their entire database of all things Kyle.  That’s cute.  Anyway, what I was trying to link you to was my draft day article where I raved about the Cannons snagging Corp in the first round.  One of Corp’s coaches was a teammate of mine in college and he told me stories about this kid like he was the fish that Hemingway struggled to catch.

It's a metaphor for a similie.

His statline for 2009: Seven (SEV-EN) games, 8 goals, 3 assists, and 9 ground balls.  Not great, but not horrendous.  Big things were expected from Corpy in 2010.  Then he disappeared.  (I know where he went, but I won’t dignify the organization with a name in one of MY articles, you can figure it out.)

Next up: Clifton Alrich. Yes, Clifton, your secret is out.  That’s your real name.  Matt is your middle name.  You can’t switch to your middle name because it’s cooler just because you feel like it.  My middle name is Jordan, would I like to switch to my middle name?  Hell yes I would!  Is there a character on South Park named Jordan?  No – the greatest basketball player in the history of the earth is named Jordan.  It’s a much cooler name.  But my name is Kyle, damn it.  I accept it, Clifton.  Grow up.

I'm not a ginger, and I don't own a russian winter hat.

Clifton’s statistics for 2009: 11 games played, 21 goals, 3 assists, 32% shooting percentage.  That’s a pretty sizeable contribution.  21 goals in the MLL is nothing to scoff at.  The 2010 squad had two players that scored 21 goals: Paul Rabil and Matt Poskay.  Did I mention that Alrich played attack?  He was a STARTING attackman, people. A STARTING attackman just up and bounced.  No announcement.  Nothing. Just 24 points faded into the ether.

So who’s left?  Your boy.  Boston’s boy.  Sean Morris.

The Cannons second leading scorer in 2009, Morris had 21 goals and 21 assists in twelve games.  It’s impossible to ignore the impact losing 21 goals and 21 assists has on an MLL team, but numbers aside Morris gave the Cannons another feeder to go with Ryan Boyle.  He gave them another finisher on the wing and the crease. Most importantly he gave the Cannons another attackman that could drive to the net and score on a regular basis – something the 2010 Cannons did not have.   Apparently running camps and playing “indoor” lacrosse is more important then repping your city.

I’m not saying the Cannons would have been able to win the 2010 MLL championship with Corp, Alrich and Morris on the roster.  I just wanted to remind you who they were and how they could have helped achieve that goal.  I wanted to remind them what they did to this franchise.

Crap.  This hasn’t solved anything.  Just lashing out.  The funny thing is; I’m not even mad at them.

I’m just disappointed with everyone.

Again.

I Already Wrote This…

August 20, 2010

I’ve already written the championship article.  It’s not that I’m that confident about it; it’s just that it is so much easier to plug stats into a framework and make it look like an original article.  It’s a fun little trick that Sports information directors pull to convince people that their job is real.  It’s sort of like madlibs with numbers and superlatives instead of random nouns like “Feces” or “Posterior”.  I’m on to you, SID’s.  I am ON to you.

So what’s going to happen tomorrow?  Despite the victory article being ¾ in the can, I’m still not 100% sure the Cannons will curb stomp the Bayhawks.  I’d put it somewhere around 75% – in case anyone wants any bulletin board material.  But hey, if you’re on the opposing team’s site looking for bulletin board material then you should probably just face the fact that your team isn’t the favourite even though you’re playing at home.  And that’s just sad.

Enough with the riling.  Let us get on to the game preview – because you HAVEN’T read one of those yet, right?  Right.  Well if you did I wrote it or someone else wrote it and stole half of it and claimed it was theirs – you know who you are.  This is the definitive preview of the Boston Cannons vs. Chesapeake Bayhawks semi-final match-up.

Attack: The Cannons have the best feeder in the game right now.  Ryan Boyle (7g, 25a) has more assists than the entire Bayhawks attack line.  25 vs. 23.  I’d say that’s an advantage.  The Cannons attack also has the newly crowned MVP Matt “Barn cat” Poskay (45g, 6a) to go with their spritely rookie Max Quinzani (14g, 5a).    You already know these things – why repeat them?  It’s important to revel when you’re rooting for a team this good.  Everyone that followed this team from the beginning knows that.  It doesn’t mean I dislike Mike Battista or David Evans any less, it’s just important to note that this team would romp on those early 00’s teams like a zombie toddler in a room full of newborns.  The Bayhawks attack is their weakest link as the majority of the Chesapeake offense runs through the midfield.  Still, wily veterans like Buggs Combs and…Buggs Combs still need to be kept in check.  Chesapeake’s attack does well against teams that open up the middle and allow them to feed inside – which the Cannons allowed them to do in the season finale, but not in their previous match up.  Laziness or gamesmanship from the Boston coaching staff?  We’ll find out Saturday.

Advantage: Boston

Midfield: The Bayhawks are not fun to match up against in the midfield.  They are fast fast fast and key transition like breaking up with a girl by using a text message.  In other words: they’re ruthless.  Kyle Dixon (19g, 11 two-pointers, 7a), Peet Poillon (24g, 14a) and Ben Hunt (9g, 3a) bring serious heat from distance.  Kip Turner has to watch out for screens from his defense if he wants to stop the long-range bombs and keep the Cannons on top.  It would be a short(sighted) preview if I failed to mention that the Bayhawks have about 4-5 other midfielders that can dodge and make things happen with the ball.  Michael Kimmel (7g, 5a), Matt Abbott (5g, 5a) and Jeff Reynolds (5g, 0a) may not have gaudy numbers, but they make things happen between the restraining lines and they are far more versatile than the Cannons midfield crop.  Ask Matt Casey about Michael Kimmel if you don’t believe me.  It’s not like the Cannons are toothless at the midfield spot, though.  Far from it.  Have you heard of this Paul Rabil (21g, 6 two-pointers, 10a) guy?  Totally decent.  Pat Heim (14g, 2a) and Kevin Buchanan (20g, 11a) are also top tier players.  Justin Smith (19g, 4a) rounds out the midfield offense as the team’s creative visualizer.  Aside from Rabil, he’s the one guy on the team that can create his own shot whenever he wants.  Look for a big time effort from Smitty on Saturday.

Advantage: Chesapeake

Defense: Boston’s defense is a lot better, statistically speaking, than I give them credit for.  It’s too bad that stats mean almost nothing when you’re qualifying a defense against another defense in a six-team league.  You could look at man-down numbers, but that’s not going to tell the whole story.  (The Cannons have a 70% kill percentage, Chesapeake clocks in at 76%).  Chesapeake has a great crop of young and physical defenders; Boston has a great crop of grizzled hard-checking veterans (Sweeney, McClay, Passavia).  If you look at the style match-ups, Boston has the immediate advantage, as the Bayhawks attack is rather pedestrian and easily contained by a tight defense that communicates well.  The Bayhawks only initiate from behind the cage when their midfielders are inverting, so if the Cannons D adjusts to that they should benefit from their strength on the interior.  The Bayhawks have great individual defenders like Joe Cinosky and Michael Evans, but their team defense is much more suspect than the Cannons.  Then again, Kyle Hartzell has this highlight in his pocket:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eua3KjmRFgE&p=96C44D9E262CE9FE&playnext=1&index=31

Sorry, Boyle.

Advantage: It’s a wash, yo.

Face-off: Alex Smith’s statistics make me want to puke.  He’s the greatest cheater this nation has seen since Richard Nixon.  You are a crook, Mr. Smith and Mr. Samuel L. Jackson agrees:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMGMZsKXz94

Chris Eck is a saint.  Like Val Kilmer “Saint”, not mother Teresa “Saint”.  I just exhausted all of my religious imagery allowance for the entire year.  It was worth it.

Eck’s stats vs. Smith: 30-63

Smith’s stats vs. Eck: 33-63

Advantage: The Ice Cream Scooper.  Barely.

Goalie: A Pariah in Boston, Chris Garrity has made a concerted effort to gain followers at his new digs.  Joining him down there in Charm City, or whatever you arrogant Balti-Morons call it, is another former Cannon Mike Levin.  What does it say about a team when they take another team’s scraps over and over?  It says they’re desperate.  Kip Turner is the goalie of the year, but somehow did not make the All-MLL team because the rest of the league thinks that if they give the Cannons too many awards that they will break every record for being awesome in the history of the MLL.  Newsflash – they already have.  Turner’s snub for the All-MLL team is even more egregious when you consider that the player that replaced him on the team is Drew Adams.  Drew Adams?  The goalie with THE BEST defense in the league playing in front of him? That Drew Adams?  Wow.  That is insane.   I don’t even want to finish this goalie preview.  Goalie of the year and rightful heir to the All-MLL team goalie spot vs. Benedict Arnold’s horse?

Advantage: Kip Turner! Yay, Kip!

Coach: Bill Daye wears pressed khakis and a new polo shirt at every game.  Brendan Kelly wears a trucker hat on the sidelines and has little to no MLL experience to speak of.

Advantage: BD.

Intangibles: The Cannons have you, me, an army of bro-ish interns and The Ginger Wizard Kevin Barney.  The Bayhawks have Press Releases and an average attendance of 4,412.

Advantage: Cannons Nation.

I Was Wrong

August 11, 2010

There are times where I sit down to write these articles and have no idea what I’m going to say.  I just sort of puke on my computer with my mind and what comes out gets posted up and ends up being coherent like 65% of the time.

This is not one of those times.

This time, I have to apologize.  I have to eat humble pie made of crow and feet.  I hate apologizing for things because I am a man and men we do not like to admit when we are wrong.  I have been boastful, arrogant and flat out incorrect. Deep breath.  Here it goes:

Bill Daye, I am sorry for giving you crap for almost five seasons for sticking with Kip Turner.  Kip, I’m sorry that I said you sucked for four of those five years.  To clarify, I’m not apologizing for making fun of you, just that I said you suck.  I feel as if that needs to be said.  And BD you should be thanking me because I cut every single joke I had about you out of my columns.  A little bird told me that you don’t like it when I bring you up in print and compare you to Science fiction anti-heroes.  Which is a shame because I had some seriously hilarious Lando Calrissian lines that everyone missed out on.

Gotcha.

Time out for second; quick story.  I went to a training camp session in the preseason and watched Kip Turner and Matt Poskay slap hands when they passed each other in an agility drill.  It was the kind of thing your bench-warmers do to keep themselves busy during practice.  We’re talking “Hey, hey! Slap hand!” – pure gregarious happiness. Look at them now – multiple award candidates.  Time in.

I feel better.  Especially now that I get to bring up the always/never trusty pointstreak.com and look up Mr. Turner’s impressive 2010 statistics:

12 Games Played, 615:25 Minutes played, 7-2 Record.

Only two other goalies played in all twelve games this season: Drew Adams and Chris Garrity.  Adams had the league’s best defense in front of him and Chris Garrity stopped all the hard shots and let all the easy ones in because his team plays fast break Bull feces all game.  Adams had no back up and really, neither did Garrity.  Turner had the best back up in the league breathing down his neck in Jordan Burke, who actually managed to come in and win a game for the Cannons mid season.

120 Goals allowed, 7 two-point goals allowed, 11.70 Goals Against Average.

120 goals allowed is the lowest amount of goals allowed since 2004 for a goalie that has played ten or more games.  That is INSANE.  Seven 2-pointers allowed is a fairly average number, but a few of those came when Kip ventured out of the net too much earlier in the season.  What? It can’t all be champagne and roses, can it?  The 11.7 Goals against average is second in the league behind Drew Adams, but to put that in perspective, those two GAA’s are two of the six lowest in the last five years.  Only Jesse Schwartzman (2009: 11.28) Mickey Jarboe (2007: 11.11) Brian Dougherty (2005: 11.6) and Greg Cattrano (2005: 11.35) have had lower totals.  Elite goalies – all of them.  Elite goalies that all had ELITE defenses in front of them.  Not to cast aspersions, but the Cannons D – while definitely respectable, -was NOT elite this year.  Kipper’s outlets and clearing ability saved more possessions than any other player on the Cannons roster.  He’s the best clearing goalie in the game right now.

.595 Save Percentage, 176 Saves.

This is the true measure of a goalie.  The save numbers.  Any goalie that even sniffs 60% in the MLL is otherworldly talented.  There is no way around that fact.  Kip turner’s talent has never really been in question.  His focus, his preparation, his fitness, his haircut – those have been in question since he was drafted.  It took five years for him to overcome each of those issues, but he has delivered a truly consistent and spectacular season.  In fact, it’s one of the best statistical seasons in the history of the MLL.   No other goalie had as many saves in 2010.  In fact, only one player was close, Chris Garrity.  He had one less save.  You know what they say, if you’re not first, you’re last.  How second place taste buddy?  You like it down there in Baltimore/Chesapeake/no-one-goes-to-your-games?  Do you miss Boston?  WELL DO YOU?  Because now we don’t miss you.

We have Kip Turner.  The 2010 MLL goalie of the year.

Casey at the Lax

August 10, 2010

Jello legs? The man still found ups

What’s good Cannons fans? The last three weeks have been sooo busy, but pretty fun at the same time. I think I’ve either worked played or partied in about 10 states in the last 3 weeks. Needless to say this lifestyle has drained almost all the life outta me. My legs felt like jello by the beginning of the 2nd half of the last game. It’s a good thing that we clinched home field advantage with our big win at Denver, because we didn’t play too well in that second half against the Bayhawks. Thankfully, we have two weeks to rest and recover!

Casey needed more than a cat-nap after the last couple weeks

Sunday was a travel day for me (Blog note: read what Casey had to say about travel in an earlier blog post here) and Monday all I did was sleep. Today, I woke up at 5am and went to the gym for some 6am hoops. We play just about every morning in the Cuse at the downtown YMCA. I’ve found that working out in the morning is a great way start a day off.. A banana and a bottle of water when I wake up gets the metabolism going. I’m planning on going back to the gym around 3pm for a weights work out.
 
I can’t wait for Championship Weekend! I wanna be physically and mentally ready to win a championship. This is all I’m thinkin about for the next two weeks. BTW… Everyone reading this should make plans to come cheer and chill with us down in Annapolis. We’re gunna need all the help we can get!
 
Holla @ cha boy!
Matt Casey