Thursday, September 21

[BOXLA] Inside The Boards:

 This week on Inside the Boards we will recap the Mann Cup, share some initial thoughts on the NLL Draft and touch on the latest expansion news. Lastly, in case you didn’t notice the Presidents Cup had some serious talent this season. 
The summer box season came to a close this week with the Peterborough Lakers coming away with a 4-2 series win over New Westminster Salmonbellies to capture the 2017 Mann Cup.  Not to brag or anything, but if you read the last Inside the Boards that was the predicted result.  I must admit things were not looking good after New West took a 2-0 series lead.  Many said it would take the champs a few days to get acclimated to the surroundings in British Columbia.  That turned out to be the case.

A couple of take always from the action, although I did dose off in the later stages of most of the games!  First of all the Lakers utilized a two goalie system with Evan Kirk and Matt Vinc sharing the cage.  It must be nice to have two world class goalies fresh for each game played.  Alex Buque was valiant for New West, one has to think playing six games in eight days in cage was too tall an order.

I was really impressed with the left side for New West, especially Mitch Jones, he was a beast in the series coming off a breakout season with the Buffalo Bandits in 2017.  But in the end the Lakers had too much depth for the Bellies to overcome.  The usual suspects of Shawn Evans, Curtis Dickson and Adam Jones were formidable (although Mitch Jones, Logan Schuss and Kevin Crowley finished 1,2,3 in scoring for the series).  Guys like Turner Evans, Holden Cattoni and Kyle Buchanan gave the Lakers the little extra needed to take the cup.
Shawn Evans won the Mike Kelly award as the series MVP for the second time going for 11g & 19a for the series.   In the deciding game he came out of the gates quickly putting in 3 goals in period one.  IMHO Evans may be the most underrated players in the world.  He may not be familiar to the casual lacrosse fan in the USA, but he has won everything there is to win in the box game.  It was his 5th Mann Cup win!

One final note, the turquoise hardwood floor is amazing in New West!

NLL Draft

The NLL draft took place on Monday, September 18th.  Pretty much all of the mock drafts had Josh Byrne and Zach Currier going 1 and 2 to Buffalo and Rochester respectively.  Some were speculating that Currier coming off his Mann Cup performance may overtake Byrne for the top spot.  Currier was a beast in transition for the Lakers chipping in with 4g & 5a in the series.  In addition he had an outstanding summer in MLL with the Denver Outlaws.  But the reigning MLL Rookie of the Year, Byrne was the Bandit selection.  He figures to step in on the Bandit left side.  You really couldn’t go wrong with either player.

When I heard the second selection I nearly fell out of my chair as Rochester selected Currier’s Peterborough teammate Jake Withers with the second selection.  I will go on record and say the KHawks will regret this decision.  In my eyes Currier is the more versatile of the two and will have a much bigger impact.  Withers is a top FO man, but doesn’t possess the all-around game.

The Bandits made another huge move picking up Jordan Durston from Vancouver in exchange for Anthony Malcolm and the #12 pick.  Buffalo came into the draft light on lefty forwards…problem solved with Durston and Josh Byrne.
Other than that I would say very few of the players taken will have a big impact this season.  The talent pool is so deep just making active rosters will be a major accomplishment.  The two teams coming in next year is going to open up spots and provide opportunity.  Speaking of expansion …..
Philly is Back!
In another of the worst kept secrets the city of Philadelphia will be back in business, although the Wings name was not officially announced.  I would be shocked if it was not the Philly Wings.  Welcome back to one of the most iconic NLL teams.  Once again Commish Nick Sakiewicz deserves a massive amount of credit.  He brings in another deep pocketed ownership group in COMCAST and the $5 Million expansion fee.  To me there is enough talent to easily stock these new rosters in Philly and San Diego.

Presidents Cup
The Mann Cup is the top prize in Canadian lacrosse, the “B” division Presidents Cup had some great talent in the 2017 edition.  The Alberta entrant St Alberts Miners came away with the finals win over the Six Nations Rivermen.  That was their second consecutive win.  The final nine team tourney was held in Six Nations.
Stay tuned for more box coverage Inside the Boards in the coming weeks.  Thanks for the time.





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