Archive for the ‘Kyle Devitte’s Firing Squad’ category

The Greatest 2011 MLL Draft Prospect Article Ever Written.

September 2, 2010

Disclaimer: This article contains minimal hyperbole.

Still pretty.

The 2011 draft is the most important draft in the last five years of the league.  It may be the most important draft in the history of the league.  As such, you are reading the most important primer.  Also, it is important to note that as much as I suck at predicting games (and boy do I SUCK at that); I am unmatched in my ability to identify MLL talent.

The draft order is still being determined for 2011, due to possible expansion teams and ret-conned transactions.  However, if new teams were to come into the league, the order of the first round of the collegiate draft would be: [Hypothetical Expansion Team 1 and 2] Toronto, Whatever the Machine will become, Denver, Boston, Long Island, Chesapeake.   That order will hold throughout each round unless there are trades, and the order itself is based on this year’s finish.

Similarly, the order in which I present the class of 2011 will also vary according to their finish.  This is not a definitive ranking so much as it is a collection of what I believe to be the players ready to contribute to MLL teams right now.  Save the hate mail/comments.  I’m HELPING you. Now read, monkey, read!

Hey Martha?! MARTHA?! The Dow is down AGAIN?! I SAID THE DOW IS DOWN AGAIN! GET OFF OF THE PHONE AND GET ME A BANANA, WOMAN! Monkeys are so misogynistic.

Joel White LSM, Syracuse University

Plays like: Brodie Merrill

An absolutely devastating LSM for the past two years, Joel White not only plays like Brodie Merrill; he is the NEXT Brodie Merrill.  He’s fast, he’s strong and he has filthier handles than a sexed up Harley Davidson.  If White has a better season than he had last year (he should – he has improved every year for the Orange) then he will be the #1 pick.  Elite, shut down and takeaway longpoles are rare – a guy that can be all of those things at once can change the destiny of a franchise.

Billy Bitter A, UNC

Plays like: Mike Watson

Reckless.  Kid just plays recklessly.  That’s why people love him.  His ability to get free of his defender and go right to cage is what makes him one of the best attackmen in the game.  He took a beating last year, and so did his stats – 71 points sophomore year; 44 as a junior – but he’s the guy every team wants.  Bitter flies around the offensive zone like a surface to air missile – it will be scary to see what he can do with the dive shot in the MLL.  Also, I miss Mike Watson and Bitter reminds me of him. I hear he shills water that’s wet now.

Kevin Crowley M, Stony Brook

Plays like: Stephen Berger

Oh, yah, sure – he’s Canadian.  But he’s also one of the most viable Canadian midfielders of his generation.  That’s really not as grandiose as it sounds, but it’s impressive nonetheless.  He’s already played against MLL level competition at the 2010 World Games. In fact he had a goal in both of the USA/Canada games, the first of which gave Canada the lead back in the third quarter.  He’s a physical specimen and will develop into a complete player under Rick Sowell this year at the Brook.  But unlike Berger, he won’t be the last guy picked in the draft. BOOM! ROASTED!

Shamel Bratton M, UVA

Plays like: Flashy like a Powell, runs like Josh Sims (back in the day)

Yes, the Bratton brothers will be MLL bound after this season.  It feels like only yesterday we were all watching youtube clips of their high school games and wondering what kind of impact they will have on the NCAA lacrosse scene.  Well, not to be a downer, but both the Bratton bros are good players.  They’re not world beaters – but they have world beating confidence and will try anything on the field.  In the NCAA that drives coaches crazy – in the MLL it will drive fans crazy.  Shamel is more polished offensively (42 points in 2010: 24 goals and 17 assists) and will step onto the first line of any MLL team out of the gate.

Jay Card A, Hofstra

Plays like: Jeff Zywicki

Another sneaky Canadian.  It’s like they have a factory up there in the cold north that produces lacrosse players with snake DNA.  If you turn the sound down on your TV and watch Hofstra games you can almost feel Card slither to net right before he scores a goal.  If this were 2005 I’d make a Harry Potter joke, but its NOT 2005 and now we know that Harry Potter sucks. Get over it. Let me get this straight – the most powerful and popular “wizard” of all time ends up with a ginger?  Are you kidding me? Maybe he can wizard her some personality to go with her devil locks.  What was I saying? Oh, yeah Jay Card. Watch him lead the NCAA in points.  Lock it in.  He’s that good.


John Galloway G, Syracuse

Plays like: Mickey Jarboe

Simply put: the best goalie prospect to come out in the last five years.  With new teams coming into the league and nearly every team keeping an aging keeper on their roster he’s a lock for the first round.  I mean, assuming he doesn’t go out in the first round to Army again.  That was crazy.  I watched that game, and Galloway should not shoulder any of the blame for the loss.  The offense squandered opportunities left, right, center, and diagonally.  It was an inept game of Connect 4 to see who could suck the most on Cuse’s attack.  Galloway is rare in that he does not have any weaknesses.  He’s not even afflicted by the dreaded addiction to cakes and pies that eventually does in every keeper.  Word is the Roch are coming back and this is the cornerstone that they need.

It's like tic tac toe for smart peoples!

Rhamel Bratton M, UVA

Plays like: Flashy, but strong like the middle Powell, all around midfield presence like A.J Haugen (also back in the day)

The difference between Rhamel and Shamel is that Rhamel plays with a chip on his shoulder.  And he plays better defense if only because early in his UVA career that’s where he got his time.  He’s a little stronger than Shamel and when you’re meaner and stronger than your brother chances are you’re going to bring the pain on the field.  Ask my brother.  I used to tie him to the goal and rip shots at him even though he’s 6’ 2’’ 220lbs.  I’m just that much meaner.  So is Rhamel.

Brian Farrell D, Maryland

Plays like: Nick Polanco

Okay, maybe he’s not as fast as Polanco once was, but he’s certainly as dynamic and definitely just as deadly with his checks.  Farrell, like every D-man, thinks he’s a midfielder with a big stick and will run the ball up the field if he gets a chance, which is good because that’s the first box you check when you scout poles for the MLL.  Hey, what’s Black and White and Red all over? A newspaper, you idiot.  What do you think this is? Bad metaphor hour?  Farrell is an absolute beast – if you thought Diogo Godoi was big you should probably watch Farrell at some point next year.  He’s damn near glacial.

Kyle Wharton A, Johns Hopkins

Plays like: Drew Westervelt

He of the ripped net and Rabilesque shooting technique, Wharton has achieved notoriety as Hopkins’…only good player returning next year?  Burn?  Sort of.  Wharton doesn’t dodge. (He doesn’t have to everyone ducks when he catches the ball) Doesn’t really feed. (9 assists in 2010). Doesn’t like passing up his shot. 2010: 75 shots – second on the team to Stevie Boyle.  He’s only on this list because of his size and power; he’s listed at 6’ 2’’ 200 but he looks more like 6’ 4’’ 230 – that shade of blue is slimming/someone is fudging their numbers.  Wharton will have to take a huge step forward if he’s going to go in the first round of next year’s draft, but if he plays in the right system and gets the shots he likes he will be deadly.

I’ll be honest, I could do a list of 20 guys that could make the first round.  I know a ton of people are out there going “how could you forget ________ he’s ____________ing awesome!” I’m sure he is.  This is just a sample of next year’s draft.  Imagine the possibilities of each one of these guys as a Cannon and you will see where I’m coming from.  Each one fills a void.  Each one steps in immediately.  Each one could be ours.  All ours. Muaha….Muahahahah MUAHAHAHAHAHAHahahahahah!!!


A man can change his stars – can a team?

See you in 2011, folks.

Go Cannons.


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:

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.


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:

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:

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.


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 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.

A Galaxy Without Stars

July 31, 2010

Hold still, this will only hurt for 1500 words.

MLL fans, I need to ask you a question.

Why don’t you like your MLL team?

No, not you Boston.

Not even you, Denver.

I mean, everyone else.  Why don’t you like your team?  Why don’t you care?  There are 19 guys killing themselves on the field to entertain you every weekend and you don’t even go see them?  The attendance of four teams has not only dropped from 2009-2010 – it has plummeted.

(Allow me at this juncture to reiterate my appreciation, admiration and affection for Major League Lacrosse; I’m not going where you think I’m going.)

Numbers wise you have to rule out Chicago.  They have played their “home” games at rotating locales and their crowds depend almost exclusively on their [inappropriate adjective] local advertising.  We’ll come back to them at the end. Average 2009 attendance: 2,569.  2010 attendance: 2,364

Toronto is now officially the most woeful defending champions in the history of not only the MLL but all secondary sports franchises in the history of the world.  They make the 2005 Florida Marlins look competitive. But it’s cool because they tanked this MLL season on purpose to rest the Canadians for the world championships.  They were totally strong enough to walk to the podium and snag their silver medals.  Good plan.  Average 2009 attendance: 3,846. 2010 attendance: 2,372.

Boomer? Is that you? You push me over at a game again and I'll crack your other eyesocket. Just sayin.

The Bayhawks are in complete chaos.  They have BEEN in a perpetual state of said chaos ever since what’s his name decided to go play guitar and Gary Gait decided that the MLL just wasn’t for him.  No hard feelings for Gary, but when he left that franchise had no identity and was made up of the carcasses of other MLL teams and local hangers on that wanted to pick up chicks at the Greene Turtle by telling them that they were pro lacrosse players.  I’m not even going to bring up the name change because it’s just too easy to bag on.  Average 2009 attendance: 4,419. 2010 attendance: 3,835.

The Long Island Lizards are easily the most tragic of all MLL teams.  The storied tradition of “Strong Island” and all of it’s pseudo-Jersey shore/Manhattan beach club opulence combined with the allure of playing lacrosse in culturally landmarked locations should make LI the biggest and baddest club in the league.  But they’re not.  They’re a defensive team that struggles to score and finds a way to effectively kill the shot clock and their fans enjoyment by running a one on one enterprising offense of futility.  Average 2009 attendance: 4,303. 2010 attendance: 2,996.

That was fun.  You took your beating like a man and I respect that. Now listen up, because I’m going to tell you why you lost your fans.

First, I’m going to tell you why attendance is a problem that Boston and Denver have never had.  Oh sure back in the day the Cannons were more Scrappy-Don’t than Scooby-Do like they are now, but the blue collar attitude and playing style of the team drew fans that respected their hard work.  Meanwhile, Denver has never met a fast break it didn’t like.  Naturally people that have never seen lacrosse before like it when their team scores a lot.  No one ever said lacrosse fans were complicated.

The difference between the rest of the league and Boston and Denver is not location.  It’s application.  Both of those teams have made consistent efforts to grow their fan base and improve their team.  Whether it’s trading up to draft Paul Rabil or rolling the dice on Ryan Powell, both teams have made moves for big name players.  Newsflash: fans dig that.  Fans don’t dig an entire team made up from two local colleges.  Fans also do not dig trading away all of their draft picks.  Fans certainly don’t dig it when you constantly draft defensemen like you’re the Detroit Lions pick receivers.  Fans also don’t like it when your entire team is comprised of only one nationality.

Neither Denver nor Boston has moved just for the sake of moving.  The Cannons moved twice (Cawley to Nickerson to Harvard) to accommodate their fans, each time going to a larger and/or friendlier stadium.  Denver has never moved.  Long Island and the Bayhawks have moved more times than I can count, Toronto has played at two different venues in two years and even managed to relocate a few times when they were the Rochester Rattlers.  Chicago doesn’t even HAVE a home stadium.

Red herrings.  All of these arguments are Red Herrings.  One of the Herrings even has a maple leaf on it.  The real reason the four misfits can’t draw crowds is because they don’t have any stars.

Look closer for the leaf. It's like one of those paintings with the hidden image. Relax your eyes. A scooner IS a sailboat, stupidhead.

This is more applicable some teams than it is with others, of course, but basically the absence of true star power put a hex on each seat in each team’s arena.  Only those fans powered by nostalgia and lacrosse addiction have the ability to sit through games on the Island, the Bay, the wherever and the Canada.

You disagree.  Good.  I like it when you fight back; it occurs so rarely nowadays.

Toronto: You have one of the best players in the world on your team, as evidenced by his place at #6 on the scoring list with 32 points in nine games.  You also have two of the most charismatic players at their respective positions in Geoff Snider and Brett Queener.  The problem is that you have surrounded these players with a cast of characters more sordid than a Todd Solondz movie.  Jordan Hall is your only other scorer in the top 25 and he only has 19 points.  No one knows who plays defense for you.  You let your coach bail on you to go to England in the middle of the season.

Chesapeake: Kyle Dixon, Peet Poillon and Danny Glading have all had great seasons.  Problem is, no one would know it.  You had nine guys playing in the All Star game.  Can you name them all?  I covered that game for Inside Lacrosse and I can’t name them all.  Chris Garrity had one of the best starts in MLL history, but no one wrote about it.  You fired John Tucker on a busy news day and replaced him with a youth coach.

Chicago: It would seem that my theory would fall apart with Chicago since you have some of the best offensive players in the league with the Leveille brothers, Matt Striebel and Chris Rotelli.  But then I remembered that you wasted a pick on Casey Powell in the supplemental draft and can’t find a goalie who will play for you.

Long Island: Tim Goettelmann is ready to break the all time MLL goals record.  That’s awesome.  He’s averaged a goal and decimals a game for ten years.  Matt Danowski is your best player and goes to the net every time he touches the ball like he’s Allen Iverson, and shoots 24% from the field like the Answer as well.  Your goalie has the worst save percentage in the league aside from Machine-washed-up Mike Gabel.  Your defense is your most marketable asset in a lacrosse league with a shot clock.  But…you have this on your website:

THIS is the first picture that pops up on the internet of the best all-around midfielder in the history of the game? Seriously?

I – I like that?  No…I LOVE that.  Those are three of my favourite players in the HISTORY of lacrosse.  Not the MLL – lacrosse as a sport.  Jay Jalbert, Greg Cattrano and Pat McCabe?  Seriously?  Three of the best at their positions, no doubt.  That’s the single smartest thing any MLL team has done this year.  Throwback shirts.  I don’t know what I would do for a Conor Gill throwback Cannons shirt, but I’m pretty sure it would be quite depraved and looked down upon by society.  Yes, folks – all it takes to end one of my tirades is a T-shirt.  I’m emotionally strapped and have a hair trigger, what can I say?

Long Island knows something that the rest of the franchises don’t – People come to see players, not teams.  Denver and Boston have the following players on their rosters: 9 of the top 20 scorers.  Two of the top three goalies (statistically) in the league.  The top goal scorer and overall scorer in the league.  The overall assists leader.  I could go on and on.  There’s also Rabil, Mundorf, Boyle, Westervelt, Poskay, Schwartzman, Seibald, Kippie, Reid, Bocklett – every one of them STARS in the MLL.  Statistical, marketable and recognizeable stars at almost every position.  That’s what it takes to win games and win fans in the 2010 version of Major League Lacrosse.

See you all think I write these articles to just straight murder players, coaches and teams.  I don’t.  I love the league more than anyone and I’m being betrayed by four of its six teams that clearly don’t care enough to run their franchises with any seriousness.  I’m sick of the mistakes.  I’m sick of the excuses.  I’m alone in my criticism?

I’m not the MLL apologist you are; I’m the MLL champion you aren’t.

King amongst Nerds. Nerd amongst Kings.

Cannons vs. Nationals Video Blog

July 26, 2010

Last year another lacrosse…journalist and I embarked upon a wonderful adventure for Major League Lacrosse.  We decided it would be a good idea to film our conversations and exploits on the sidelines of Cannons games.  I mean, if you had a field pass wouldn’t you do that?  Over time it developed into some sort of skit show, which is sort of hilarious considering I’m a terrible actor and Freshman is even worse.  This year our shenanagins were shut down, but with the help of some prodigious emailing and begging we procured our field passes and helped out a friend in the process.  Speaking of which, for all of your equipment needs check out the Brine/Warrior Outlet store at 38 Everett street in Allston, MA.  They have great gear at closeout prices.  Tell them Kyle and Dan sent you and you will get free stuff.  Usually I write a disclaimer here, but I really don’t care about getting in trouble any more.  If people REALLY want to take this seriously then go right ahead.  Jokes on you. Err, us.  All of us?

The Case for Poskay

July 21, 2010

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.