Helmets, Fighting And Some Lacrosse: A Week In The NLL
The NLL’s second week is in the books and there were a number of exciting games, and quite a few memorable moments. Buffalo beat Toronto 14-10, Colorado beat Minnesota 20-14, Calgary beat Washington 13-10, and Rochester spanked Philadelphia 22-12. I’ve seen most of all four games now (thanks to the NLL’s deal with Livestream), and there was some great lacrosse being played out there.
Other games might have featured better teams or talent, but the Philly-Rochester game was clearly the biggest game of the weekend for the league. It was big because Philly had a whole new cast of characters, and because Johnny Powless made his pro debut for Rochester, but mostly because the US Lacrosse convention was in town that weekend, and a ton of lacrosse people were in attendance. At first it was a great game with Rochester going up early, and Philly fighting back, and Rochester surging and finishing them off. Then it became more of a spectacle as Rochester and Philadelphia literally fought each other in the final minutes.
Pretty much every single player on the floor got involved and when you see this, you know what I’m talking about:
I understand the argument for fighting in the NLL. You get slashed in the face on purpose, your team takes exception to it, and then two guys fight. That I can deal with. See? I’m willing to compromise a little sometimes on my no fighting stance. But when the goalies get involved and every guy on the floor ends up fighting someone, and it happens in the last minute of a blowout, it means the game got out of hand, and the refs probably failed to do their job. The game was chippy and intense, but the brawl was still over the top and totally stupid. Is that really what is going to bring new fans to the league? I mean here we are talking about the NLL and we’ve only focused on a goalie fight and a brawl. Is that good for the sport?
Obviously I’m to blame here as well because I’m talking about it, but I was quite shocked to see it all go down, and had a hard time not wondering what the hell went wrong… A fight in the middle of the game can provide a switch of momentum, but a brawl at the end of a blowout? Well, that’s just really poor sportsmanship.
As for the lacrosse action in that game, it was a lot of fun to see Johnny Powless play and put up 3 goals and 2 assists in his debut. He’s going to be an exciting player to watch for years to come. He could even be the next John Tavares! Powless is only 18 years old and is playing against seasoned pros but he looks like he’s been at it for years. Rochester’s offense was impressive for much of the game and if they can keep that up they could be the team to watch this year.
Speaking of John Tavares, the old man has still got it. His 1 goal was an absolute near side snipe, and his 7 assists were almost double the next closest player’s total in the game. I feel like one can become a better player just by watching John Tavares operate. So cagey.
Toronto seems to have lost Blaine Manning to injury for a while and that’s a big blow. The Rock are now 0-2 and looking vulnerable. You can bet every team in the league will be looking to get some revenge this year and Toronto needs to regroup before it gets out hand. Both Buffalo and Calgary are tough teams to be sure, but there won’t be any easy wins in the NLL this year. And without Bob Watson in between the pipes, a certain consistency may be gone with the Rock. Only time will tell if they can reload.
And to address my earlier point about the brawl, it wouldn’t be fair to judge the whole NLL on the Philly – Rochester fiasco, because a lot of teams were doing it right. Jeremy Thompson of the Buffalo Bandits shows you how it’s done: one fan at a time.
I watched less of the Colorado – Minnesota game for one reason: the video wasn’t that good. Grainy full screen just doesn’t work for me. But the Mammoth did have the first team HeadWrapz in the NLL. So that’s kind of cool. Almost as cool as them winning!
You want another gear/helmet note? Ok, the Buffalo Bandits have black helmets with orange accents. Tracy Kelusky however had a black helmet with red accents on. I’m sure they’ll fix that up next week, but it was weird to think they couldn’t get him a team helmet in time. There has to be at least ONE extra laying around somewhere, right? I guess there was, and it was black and red.
My final note is that there is a non-Reebok helmet in the NLL right now on the head of Geoff Snider. It seems that if a doctor determines a player needs better protection, that player can choose to wear a Cascade Sports M11 helmet instead, as long as they cover the logo. GREAT to see the NLL is valuing head protection above all else! Protecting the players in your league has to be a top priority. So kudos for that!