Thursday, October 5

[MLL REPORT] Boston Cannons Barney: What went wrong?

Boston Cannons Barney:  What went wrong?
Boston Cannons and former GM Kevin Barney parted ways a couple weeks ago.  From everything I have seen Barney is a first class guy and it is always too bad when someone loses such a great gig in the lacrosse world.  That said there were a series of events that led to his demise as the Cannons fell to the basement in the 2017 season.
MLL Semi Finals 2015:  This was the beginning of the end for Barney and his tenure.  The date was August 1st and the Cannons were defeated by the NY Lizards in overtime 16-15.  OBTW, the Lizards went on to win the MLL title.
In the overtime period goalie Adam Ghitelman ran the length of the field on a fast break took a shot and was robbed by Drew Adams, seconds later Paul Rabil fed Matt Gibson for the game winner.  I firmly believe if the Cannons win that game they go on to win the title.
 I have watched the Cannons since the inception of MLL, to me this was their best team (even better than the one that won the title in 2011).  The roster composition and style of play were unique and successful.  The use of two way mids was something that was providing a winning formula.  That fateful game against the Lizards had offensive mids (Kevin Buchanan, Ryan Tucker & John Glesener) they had “flex mids (Max Seibald, Drew Adams, Josh Hawkins & Marty Bowes).  Lastly, they had what I call the most unique player in MLL…Scott Ratliff as their LSM.  His work on both ends of the field and on the FO wing brought the Cannons something nobody else had.  Shit, look at him with the Atlanta Blaze this year….he sometimes runs most of the game at midfield with his longpole!  For good measure rookie Joe Nardella was the FO man that night.
After that loss things have gone sideways for the Cannons.
Losing Tucker and Expansion:
The Atlanta Blaze came into MLL in 2016, Cannons HC was lured away to lead the new franchise down south.  I thought at the time this would be a huge blow, and it was!  Tucker was the architect of the team, his style of play was an exciting and a winning formula.  The Cannons have not made the post season since his departure as HC of the BC.  He did return this season as an assistant coach after he didn’t even make it through one season in the ATL.  That is a different story for a different post.
Something for Nothing:
Unfortunately for the Cannons Scott Ratliff is an Atlanta native.  The reality of the MLL is the Cannons were forced to deal him to the Blaze.  Brodie Merrill was obtained in a trade for Ratliff, Merrill is an all- time great and would seem he would be a decent return for Ratliff.  Problem is Atlanta picked up Merrill from the Cannons in the expansion draft.  They lost Ratliff for NOTHING, poor GMing.
Ryan Tucker had a fine rookie season in 2015, he was a top five pick from Virginia and looks the part as an MLL offensive midfielder.  He is big, strong, powerful dodger and shooter.  He is also the son of John Tucker.  For obvious reason he wanted to follow his dad and play in Atlanta.  Problem for me is Tucker was picked in the expansion draft.  Why on earth would you leave a young midfielder unprotected?  So he can play for daddy?  C’mon man…SOMETHING FOR NOTHING.
Rookie John Glesener was a tour de force that fateful evening for the Cannons.  He carried the team on his back scoring their last couple of goals.  His size and skill make him a prototype MLL midfielder.  There is one big issue though, he hasn’t played since in MLL.  He played for West Point and his military commitments have prevented him playing in 2016 & 2017.  Cannons lose a great player with no compensation.  Sound familiar?
Throw in the loss of the athletic Brent Adams in free agency to Denver Outlaws, Adams resides in Denver so again I can’t hammer Barney too much, but once again…SOMETHING FOR NOTHING.
The other midfielder who played that fateful evening was Marty Bowes.  This I will hammer Barney for.  Bowes is the type of player every MLL team needs, a competent local player.  No one will argue he was the best player that evening, however he is someone that can play both ends of the field and is a professional in every way.  He was pretty much thrown in the trash by the Cannons  last year.  He went on to play for the Florida Launch this season.  For anyone who has come into contact with him is not surprised he played a part in the Launch making the playoffs the season.  A local guy, active in the local lax scene, no travel to worry about, competent player.  To discard card Bowes was a moronic move.  Once again…SOMETHING FOR NOTHING.
Now Josh Hawkins has left via free agency this week to the Denver Outlaws, one more time, SOMETHING FOR NOTHING.
Another thing not to lose sight of the Cannons are one of a few teams to have a legit fan base.  If they were to have a home playoff game in late August I could see a crowd in excess of 10k.  The league needs the Cannons to thrive to help the soft attendance numbers.
The draft has been a disaster the last couple of years as well.  In the 2016 draft only defenseman Branden Mullins has made an impact.  The jury is very much out on Barney’s 2017 class.  Sergio Perkovic was picked 2nd, but played very little due to a wrist injury suffered at ND during the spring.
But the straw that broke the camel’s back for me was to infamous Will Manny trade this year.  Manny was arguably the team’s best and most popular player and a member of Team USA.  He was traded mid season along with Joe Locasio for Dave Lawson and Chris LaPierre.  There was one big problem though.  Both Lawson and LaPierre refused to report to Boston.  The Cannons lost every game post Manny trade.  Manny was given to the Lizards with no compensation.  
So today we sit here and the Cannons do not have one player on the Team USA roster.  FO man Joe Nardella who tore an ACL in the last game of 2017would have been on the list if not injured.  How can the Cannons not have one of the top 46 players in the USA?  Finger should clearly be pointed at Barney and his roster composition post John Tucker.  
It must be noted the team does a great job with charities and are very visible in the Boston sports community.  But that isn’t what this is about.  As we stand today the Cannons finished in last place and have the league’s worst roster.  The new GM has a lot of work to do.  The one silver lining is they will pick first in the upcoming MLL draft.  More on that in next post.  Good luck. Thanks for the time.

 

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