Wednesday, January 16

[LINKS] More mid-January 2019 Lax Linkage ...

"Demonstration of Streamingo's capabilities in Game analytics. Analysis of a National Lacrosse League game." [youtube]
  • ARTICLE: "PHILADELPHIA WINGS [NLL] Announcer Loses Job After Talk About Native Player." []
  • AUDIO: "2019 US Lacrosse Convention Diversity Panel - Round Table conversation featuring JOVAN MILLER and KYLE HARRISON. Moderated by Terry Foy" []
  • VIDEO: "RUTGERS Men's Lacrosse Career Development Day in NYC" [youtube] 
  • VIDEO: "JOE ROGAN Watches Lacrosse" [youtube: Lieutenants Loft]
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Tuesday, January 15

[LINKS] Mid-January 2019 Linkage. Dig it.

"Lacrosse Goalie Coach SCOTT RODGERS on how a lacrosse goalie can defend One on One play. One of the hardest plays to defend ." [youtube: Crease Coach Lacrosse Coach & Goalie Clinic]
  • VIDEO: "All Access, UVM Lacrosse - JAKE BERNHARDT, UVM assistant coach, gives STX an inside look at the lacrosse facilities of the most northern team in D1 lacrosse." [youtube: STX Men's lacrosse]
  • VIDEO: "WESLEYAN Lacrosse - The Cardinal Way - Episode 2" [youtube:LaxDotComTV]
  • VIDEO: "Experience DENISON Men's Lacrosse - Head coach MIKE CARAVANA and a number of current student-athletes discuss the benefits of playing lacrosse at Denison." [youtube]
  • CARTOON: "LAX DAD - Everyone Knows An Annoying Lacrosse Dad" [youtube: LaxFactor]
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Thursday, December 20

[TBT] MO' Lax Links!!!

#TBT SYRACUSE vs UMASS - 1992! [youtube]
  • VIDEO: "The Excitement Behind The Rebirth Of An NLL Franchise - The NLL announced a new expansion franchise in LONG ISLAND is joining the league in 2019. Renee Washington sat down with former NEW YORK SAINTS Radio Announcer Peter Schwartz and Erik Baker, the Co-Founder and Managing Director, GF Capital Board Member, GF Sports, to discuss the history of lacrosse in Long Island along with the expansion news." [youtube: NLL]
  • VIDEO: "MIKEY POWEL - A Lacrosse Movie." [youtube] ... From 2005!
  • VIDEO: "Biggest Hits and Best Defensive Plays from the 2018 NCAA Lacrosse Playoffs" [youtube: Lacrosse Analytics]
  • VIDEO: NEW ENGLAND BLACKWOLVES [NLL] Town Hall.  [youtube]
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Tuesday, October 30

"The Lacrosse World Turned Upside Down"

 The Lacrosse World Turned Upside Down

We have seen snippets and clues for the last couple of months, including a vague announcement about the formation of PREMIER LACROSSE LEAGUE, the upstart field lacrosse league spearheaded by PAUL RABIL, on the eve of last months NLL draft.  .

We have also seen some interesting announcements coming out of  the MLL recently.  Most notably rumblings that the league will be  rebranding itself with a new logo etc.  See Twitter 10/18.

On October 23rd however, RABIL officially blew the minds of pro lacrosse enthusiasts by announcing that the PLL would start play as early as summer of 2019.  With that announcement came the unveiling of the roster of players that would join RABIL and his secured TV contract with NBC Sports.

It has yet to be determined how this roster of players will be divided.  The league will be a “touring” league without traditional franchises rooted in any particular cities.  This format, already attempted in the pro lacrosse realm by the LXM tour between 2010-2014, never really gained traction.

The roster of over 100 players joining RABIL consist mostly of the top players in the world, delivering a massive blow to MAJOR LEAGUE LACROSSE, a league that JAKE STEINFELD  has built over the last 18 years.

What does this mean for the MLL?

First of all this is a major kick in the groin for the league.  To see a mass exodus of talent like this is a major set back to say the least, despite the league retaining three of the four best players in the world currently (IMO) in LYLE THOMPSON, ROB PANNELL and ZACH CURRIER. The remaining most recognizable players from the MLL however have signed on to the PLL.

All isn’t lost for the MLL, as they've signed on with ESPN on their OTT platform for the upcoming season.  That to go along with almost 20 years of history and well established franchises like BOSTON, NEW YORK, CHESAPEAKE and DENVER.

The MLL has some great sponsors in WARRIOR and COCA COLA behind them.
OBTW, What does WARRIOR think about its primary endorsement guy breaking away from the league they have been propping up for 18 years?
I digress.

One cannot can’t deny that the MLL and pro field lacrosse have reached a turning point. There have been rumblings, especially last season, regarding player discontent with venues and overall lack of professionalism.  Just go back and look at RYAN FLANNIGAN's Twitter feed to see examples of why players have jumped ship. Various reasons that include the security breach that took place last year.

In many ways it is a sad day in the MLL's storied history comprised such great sporting moments. The league as we know it will never be the same. It is a shame that the MLL couldn’t build on its history and take pro field lacrosse to the next level. 

Granted all of the history isn’t great ... The small crowds, the lack of TV contracts, franchise instability and contractual issues are all part of that history.

It's a shame to see the a potential demise of the league that pioneered pro field lacrosse and given some of the all time greats (GAIT(S), POWELL(S), GRANT Jr.'s, etc) the platform to showcase their abilities on a pro level.

In my view, the MLL has not had great leadership from the commissioner level.  Longtime commish DAVID GROSS is gone.  Many insiders will tell you his leadership or lack there of,  is the reason the MLL has found itself in it's current position.

GROSS is gone and SANDY BROWN is at the helm now.  He has come in and it appears he has gotten the message loud and clear.  One of his first things he did was secure the ESPN deal as well as take down the paywall at LAXSPORTSNET.

BROWN  announced a 51% increase in team salary caps and added two more games.  It appears some franchises like BOSTON, DENVER, CHESAPEAKE and NEW YORK are maturing as franchises and already seemed to be on solid footing.

Alas, it appears to be too little too late, as the damage has been done and the top players don’t feel appreciated. They are taking a leap of faith by starting their own league with a model that hasn’t worked in the past.


I was pretty skeptical when I saw the initial announcement that RABIL was forming the PLL, but when I saw the roster of talent he assembled and the TV contract his group landed, I took notice.  The venture appears to have significant funding with some major players.  This legitimizes the PLL even more.  I am not an expert by any means in what goes on on Wall St or the investment banking world,  but RABIL has amassed quite a roster on the field and in the board room. 

The league is offering players full time salaries and full time benefits.  It is reported that PLL players will have an “equity” stake.  Who gets what and how much equity has yet to be been reported.

It would be foolish to think that the compensation PLL compensation is sufficient, otherwise as over 100 players wouldn’t have jumped ship so quickly.

Other than the player pool and NBC deal not much else has been made public.

After taking a couple of days to digest this, it occurs to me that that what RABIL has done is quite the feat.  Say what you want about him as a player, or a personality, but to have the vision and act on it is something to be admired.

What does the Future Hold?

Well that’s the biggest question isn’t it?  I like how the PLL has released information in segments.  First, there was the initial announcement, followed by a player pool and an NBC announcement.  The next shoe to drop to be will be the team rosters and the cities that the PLL will be touring.

Will they be going into MLL cities?  What venues are they going to?  RABIL has mentioned MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER venues, such as RED BULL ARENA, which is no surprise, RABIL already having forged a relationship with the energy drink maker.

Rosters ... No matter how they divide the talent there will be six competitive teams, all with top talent, however  it remains to be seen who the appointed coaches, GMs and support staff will be selected.

I am going to go out on a limb and guess that they will go into a few MLL markets where there is an already established base, such as DENVER, BOSTON, NY and the MID ATLANTIC

You can bet that they will include the west coast markets. Southern California,  whether it be SAN DIEGO and/or LOS ANGELES.  SAN FRANCISCO / SAN JOSE is another market to consider.  What about SALT LAX CITY, PORTLAND or SEATTLE? ... All seem logical places to explore.  What about former MLL markets CHICAGO and PHILLY?  I would be surprised to see PLL go into markets where pro lax hasn’t done that well such as CHARLOTTE or MIAMI.

End Game:

In business terms, RABIL is a classic disruptor.  Say what you want, he has shaken things up with innovation and changed how we view pro lax going forward.  I say that is a good thing. 

With this move pro lax has grown from 9 to 15 teams. Player salaries have risen, and pro lax will be shown on linear TV.  The status quo wasn’t cutting it and he made the needed adjustment.  Well done, PAUL RABIL.

Lets be honest, the long term touring model in my estimation won’t work.  There will be some markets that will work, others won’t cut it.  I think we'll see the PLL use this model for a couple of seasons as a test market scenario. What will come out on the other end is some sort of merger with the MLL, with the best players playing full time in the best markets and the best product.  That's the end game, IMO.  Who has control and ownership is unclear, and quite frankly most fans, including myself don’t care. We just want a quality pro lax product that is sustainable long term with the potential to grow.

If the PLL can deliver solid TV ratings and find 8-10 legit new local markets for pro lax in the next 2-4 years this will be seen as a launching point for the game.  Is pro lax ready to take the next step forward?  If it does, new leadership, a new approach and a new direction is needed.  The PLL may give us that.

MLL franchises like the BOSTON CANNONS, NEW YORK LIZARDS, DENVER OUTLAWS and CHESAPEAKE BAYHAWKS can survive because they have established themselves as relevant in their cities.  I think and would hope they would continue to be a part of the landscape.

What do you think?  Share your thoughts.  Thanks for the time!

@bernasconirich on Twitter
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Tuesday, October 2

[LINKS] Our beloved lacrosse linkage is back, son!

"...Behind the scenes for all the sights and sounds leading up to the MERRIMACK men's lacrosse team's (Division II) National Championship victory against SAINT LEO." [youtube]
  • VIDEO: "14 MLL BEST Pro League Tips - FLORIDA vs DALLAS" [youtube: BTB Lax]
  • VIDEO: "DUKE Transition Drill" [youtube: POWLAX] 
  • VIDEO: "First Name Nation - Episode 2 (Nation United Lacrosse Documentary)" [youtube: Mako Sports]
  • VIDEO: "Harlem Lacrosse NBC Sports" [youtube]
Read More »

Thursday, August 9

[MLL Report] Predictions

NEW YORK (8-6) at DALLAS (11-3)

At the time of our last post, I didn’t even think the LIZARDS would qualify for the postseason.  The reasoning was there would be an FIL hangover.  Instead LIZARDS on TEAM USA players seemed to have used the FIL games as a springboard, as they have won 3 straight down the stretch since.

ROB PANNELL is on a roll - Can anyone stop him and the LIZARDS?  He broke his own season scoring record this year with 78 points (43g, 35a).  At this point he seems to be playing on a different level than anyone else in the MLL

While PANNELL and RABIL were away the LIZARDS left side has really come to life.  WALTERS, MANNY and TINNEY have given them another legit option. 

During the season the LIZARDS gave up the most goals in MLL.  But over the last two weeks they have only given up 12 & 11 goals.  Their group certainly is capable and DREW ADAMS is a great keeper. JAKE BERNHARDT was a big acquisition, giving their defensive unit a needed infusion of transition play.

The RATTLERS on the other hand have been the most consistent team all season and hold home field. 

JORDAN WOLF is leading the offense.  RYAN McNAMARA is one of the most underrated players in the MLL TY THOMPSON has had his best season to date w (36g, 3a).  Will BEN REEVES be in action? He looked great during WOLF’s FIL absence. 

During the season DALLAS was second in MLL goals against.  They played great as a unit. JOHN SEXTON has come in from NOTRE DAME and given them another dimension at LSM to go along with JOEL WHITE.

MATT DUNN is up for DPOY. He will be tested by PANNELL,  having "held" him to 3g, 2a in their last meeting a couple of weeks back.

The FO game appears to be pretty even.  DREW SIMONEAU and TOMMY KELLY have faced each other twice this season, with SIMONEAU holding only a slight advantage.  Both teams are solid in cage.

When you get down to it, I have to go with NEW YORK, PANNELL and their veterans to put them over the line.  It will be a higher scoring game.

DENVER (8-6) at CHESAPEAKE (9-5)

This is a game between the highest scoring team (DENVER: 225) against the team with the fewest goals allowed (CHESAPEAKE: 174). 

But the man who will have the biggest impact may be HC DAVE COTTLE.  How will use his offensive personal?  Top to bottom they may have the best offensive group in terms of individual talent.  But there is only one ball to go around.  COLIN HEACOCK led the team in scoring this season (23(1), 14) with 38 points.  But since LYLE THOMPSON and JOSH BYRNE has been reinserted since the WORLD GAMES he only has 3 points in the last three games.  How COTTLE sets up his offense is crucial.

On defense they have held opponents to a league best 3 games in single digits.  NIKO AMATO has been solid.  Their SSDMs ISAIAH DAVIS ALLEN and NICK MANIS are very underrated and will have a lot to say.  Another concern is STEPHEN KELLY was injured last week and may miss out.  CJ COSTABILE may have to step in and FO.

DENVER are the most consistent franchise since joining the MLL. ERIC LAW (40g, 18a) finished 3rd in MLL in scoring isn’t the most impressive athlete out there, but all he does is score goals and win.  Don’t underestimate this guy.  He leads the offense and is a winner.

They rival the LIZARDS for the best left side in MLL. CHRIS CLOUTIER has taken the league by storm in his rookie season.  He put up 40 points (26g, 14a) in just six games.  However he has picked up an injury and his availability is in doubt.  He isn’t their only option MATT KAVANAGH   (34g, 19a) and ZACH CURRIER can cause problems for the BAYHAWKS defense. 

Another guy to watch out for is JOSH HAWKINS, he is having a great season appearing in all 14 games putting up 6g, 4a from his SSDM position.  He had a great game in their win last win in ATLANTA last week.

When it is all said and done I will go with the BAYHAWKS.  Their offensive talent, great defense and home field will prevail. 

So, we like the LIZARDS and BAYHAWKS to advance, what do you think?  Let us know on TWITTER.  

Thanks as always for the time, @bernasconirich

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Tuesday, July 10

[MLL REPORˇ] Coming Down the Homestretch

MLL REPORT:  Coming Down the Homestretch

Believe it or not the MLL season is winding down with most teams having only 4 or 5 games left.  The WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS  in ISRAEL are on the horizon.

We are going to take a look and project who the four postseason teams will be and how the WORLD GAMES may effect the teams.  Let’s look at how they countdown 9-1, CASEY KASEM style.

The defending Champions OHIO MACHINE have had a rough 2018 and come in at number nine with a 2-7 recordTOM SCHREIBER has missed time due to injury and NLL commitments and has only played in 3 games (4g,11a).  He will also be departing with TEAM USA.  KYLE HARRISON is injured and has appeared in 6 games (7g,1a, 1 2pt).  PETER BAUM has only played 5 games, (9g, 1a, 1 2pt).  With these guys missing so much time no wonder they are in the basement.

The playoffs seem to be out of reach at this point, that would be the 1st time they missed the playoffs since 2013.  BEAR DAVIS is one of the better Coach/GM’s in MLL, but this year things have gone sideways and they won’t have a chance to defend their 2017 title.

Coach LIAM BANKS and his ATLANTA BLAZE come in at number eight.  They have lost five in a row after winning three in a row earlier in the season.  KEVIN RICE is second in MLL with 46 points, but IMO they are way to reliant on him as a ball carrier.  JOE NARDELLA has stabilized their FO game going 53% with 3 goals and 3 assists since arriving from BOSTON.  They sit at the 6 loss mark and have no margin for error from now until the end of the season.

The number seven team is the BOSTON CANNONS.  They have scored the least amount of goals in MLL, with 11.77/game.  The roster has been a revolving door all season.  There is a definite VIRGINIA flavor since DOM STARSIA and BEN RUBEOR joined the staff.

UVA alums ZED WILLIAMS and MARK COCKERTON were brought in via trade while the likes of DAVEY EMALA (OHIO) and KYLOR BELLESTRI (DENVER) both being dealt in recent weeks.  They join fellow Cav JAMES PANNELL in the Cannon offense. PANNELL has been their most consistent offensive player with (18g, 9a) in 8 games, which puts him at number 15 in scoring.

They look like a different squad since WILLIAMS (12 goals, 4 games) and COCKERTON (13 goals, 3 games in BOSTON) have been inserted.  WILLIAMS looks to be a force with his size and versatility.  He was languishing in DALLAS and couldn’t crack their talented lineup.  In person he certainly passes the eye test.  The CANNONS caught a huge break picking him up.

Number one draft pick TREVOR BAPTISTE has been solid going so far going 52/100 with 1 goal since being drafted.

Long term its looks like they have righted the ship, but in terms of making the postseason this year I think it may be too much of a task.

Number six is a bit of a disappointment with a 4-6 record, The FLORIDA LAUNCH.  Coming off a great season in 2017 where they made the playoffs and drafted really well.

IMHO they have the best three-man attack unit in the game with MLL leading goal scorer DYLAN MOLLOY (32g, 11a), KIERAN MCARDLE (25g, 12a) and Rookie of the Year candidate JULES HENENBURG (14g, 10a) who has earned a starting position.

Defense, that’s a different story.  The LAUNCH rank 8th in goals given up at 148 goals against on the year.  Defending DPOY and Team USA member TUCKER DURKIN has had some injury issues and missed games and looked less than 100% in a couple of others. BEN WILLIAMS was added at FO and has stabilized a shaky situation going for 131/271, 48% since arriving.

With their six losses they have no margin for error, but they are very capable of winning out with their firepower.

New York comes in at number five. They have been very inconsistent, particularly on defense, they have given up the most goals in MLL at 149 to date.  ROB PANNELL is the best attackmen in the game, his 57 points (29g, 28a) are eleven more than his next closest competitor.  PAUL RABIL isn’t as dominate as he once was, but is still 11th in the league in scoring with 33 points.

Another thing to consider is they will lose PANNELL and RABIL to the World Games for at least one game.  Those two in addition to KYLE HARTZELL, JOE FLETCHER and KEVIN UNTERSTEIN from their defense, STEVE DENAPOLI was also selected but is injured...but I digress.

When they come back what kind of shape will they be in?  I see them missing out on the post season for the second year in a row!  They are another team with no margin for error.  Although I wouldn’t be shocked to see them sneak in.

Coming in at number four are the CHARLOTTE HOUNDS.  This is the first of our projected playoff teams. They came out of the gate really quickly winning four of the first five games. They have lost three of four since.  I still remain bullish on the HOUNDS though.

MATT RAMBO has had a great second MLL campaign and currently is 5th in scoring at 41pts (24g, 17a).  They will certainly miss their Team USA players too, JOHN HAUS (13g,11a) and RYAN BROWN (27g, 5a, 1, 2pt) are big contributors.  Is there a better pure shooter than BROWN currently?  I don’t think so.

MICHAEL EHRHARDT will also be a huge miss from the defense.  In fact, he may be the best LSM in MLL this year, he already has 16pts and 3, 2pt goalsKEVIN CROWLEY is a TEAM CANADA member and will be missed.  CROWLEY led the NLL in goals this past season in NEW ENGLAND and was instrumental in CANADA'S 2014 GOLD MEDAL.  He currently has (6g, 1a) in five games played.

Since coming into MLL, DENVER has been one of the most consistent teams making the playoffs most every year.  This year looks to be no different.  TONY SEAMAN is making a big run at GM of the year.  Look at some of the talent he has brought in this year.  JOSH HAWKINS was a free agent sign up, KYLOR BELLISTRI  (16g, 4a) was a trade acquisition from BOSTON.  But the best may be CHRIS CLOUTIER was drafted out of UNC with the 29th pick and has been on a tear scoring 18g and 8a in just four games thus far.

Like many of the teams the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS is going to cause problems.

They have TEAM USA members DREW SNIDER and JACK KELLY.  This is a big TEAM CANADA squad too with WES BERG, ZACH CURRIER and DILLON WARD.  So with WARD and KELLY both participating goalie may be an issue.  FO man MAX ADLER (79/138, 57%) who has been a big surprise is also a miss from TEAM ISRAEL.

That certainly is a lot of talent to lose, but they are far enough ahead and have enough talent to lose their contingent short term.  The OUTLAWS should qualify again for the post season, but they certainly have work to do.

DALLAS currently sits atop MLL with an 8-2 record, but are number two on my list.  Although they are new to DALLAS, the RATTLERS have been a serious title contender the last few seasons.  They look like they have what it takes to win the elusive title.

JORDAN WOLF (27g, 19a) trails only ROB PANNELL in scoring.  However he along with NED CROTTY (9g, 8a) will be absent from their offense.  JOEL WHITE and JOHN GALLOWAY are their leaders on defense and will also be missing.  But, this is a squad that is loaded and have added BEN REEVES from YALE and JOHN SEXTON from NOTRE DAME. They can be a suitable replacements   for WOLF at Attack and for WHITE at LSM.  If BLAZE RIORDAN had enough minutes played he would be leading MLL in both GAA and Save% at 11.30 and .612%.

I love their defensive unit with MIKE MANLEY, MATT DUNN and JORDAN STEVENS.

TY THOMPSON is having a career season putting up 28 goals.  So despite the TEAM USA players missing they will have more than enough to qualify for the postseason.

CHESAPEAKE is the team I see standing with their sixth STEINFELD TROPHY when all of the dust settles.  First off I love DAVE COTTLE as a coach, he has the experience and has put together front to back the best team IMHO.

In goal NIKO AMATO leads in GAA and Save % (11.64 and .573%).  The BAYHAWKS have held opponents under 10 goals two of their last three outings.  Defenders like GARRET EPPLE and MATT REISS have impressed.

At midfield it starts with STEPHEN KELLY who has burst onto the scene going 129/220, .586% at the FO X.

MYLES JONES didn’t make TEAM USA, that’s not a bad thing for the BAYHAWKS.  He is leading a balanced offense with 26 points (15g, 10a, 1 2Pt).  MATT DANOWSKI who has only appeared in 5 games his season and longpole JESSE BERNHARDT are the lone TEAM USA members.  JOSH BYRNE and rookie IAN MacKAY are on TEAM CANADA.

On attack STEELE STANWICK has resurfaced and has 16 points (13g, 3a) in 5 games played.  LYLE THOMPSON remains on the roster although we haven’t seen him yet.

So when the dust settles, I like likes CHESAPEAKE to win the title.  The other playoff teams will be: DENVER, DALLAS and CHARLOTTE.

Well thanks again for the time!  Follow me on TWITTER, @bernasconirich.
We love feedback!

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