Just watched the Toronto Rock – Boston Blazers game on TSN2. Dave Randorf and Brian Shanahan did the announcing, and did a fine job. Randorf isn’t that familiar with lacrosse or the NLL, but is doing a far better play-by-play job than many other lacrosse neophytes I’ve heard in the past. The video is very clear (apparently in HD, though I don’t have HD), and the whole thing is just very professional – much better than the Score did a few years ago. After a couple of years without it, it’s great to see Rock games on TV again. All the games are streamed live on the internet, but this is just orders of magnitude better.
One thing I hate about watching lacrosse on TV is that the announcers always feel like they have to explain all the rules – over and back, shot clock, crease violations, stuff like that, during every game. I understand that lacrosse is a niche sport and they’re trying to build interest among those watching who may be unfamiliar with it, but it’s still annoying to those of us who already know it. Another thing I hate is that lacrosse doesn’t get the high-paying advertisers, so we get lots of the short-infomercial type commercials – MicroForce, Slap Chop (we actually have one of these, with a different name, and it works really well), Palm Wallet… (Having said that, the second half of the game had less of these than the first half.) Of course, lacrosse is on TV rarely enough that I’m not going to complain about it. Uh, except now.
First Rock goal of the season: rookie Creighton Reid? Unassisted? After a bad play by Dan Dawson? What planet are we on again?
Rock rookie Garrett Billings scored four in the first half of his first ever NLL game and one more in the 4th. Hominuck, LeBlanc, Reid and Billings each scored in their first Rock game. Beautiful.
Remember when I said that the return of Colin Doyle might help Blaine Manning rebound from last year? Manning has a hat-trick in the first half and another goal in the 4th, while Doyle had a goal and seven assists.
Troy Cordingley said at half-time that they’re doing all the “little things” well, and one of the things he specifically mentioned is getting on and off the floor quickly. How did he manage to coach Josh Sanderson in Calgary last year? Sanderson is an outstanding player, but during his time in Toronto, he was always brutal for taking his time getting off the floor.
- The edges of the carpet looks like they don’t fit near the edges. The time-delay video of the conversion from ice to lacrosse floor was very cool.
- There were an awful lot of empty seats right behind the benches.
- Boston should have won their challenge in the second quarter – the ball didn’t cross the line before the player stepped on the crease line, so the goal shouldn’t have counted.
- Is Troy “potty mouth” Cordingley really a first-grade teacher? Wow.
- A couple of times Boston players looked like they wanted to fight – kudos to the Toronto players for not responding.
- Both Boston goalies are former (very capable) backups for Watson in Toronto. Watson outplayed them both, though Cosmo really pulled it together in the second half.
- The NLL has a new stats provider this year, but they had problems in the second half of the game. Last year, Pointstreak was usually a couple of minutes behind the game, but right now, ten minutes after the game ended, the web site still says it’s 12-5 in the third, and has for half an hour or so.
Anyway, it was a great game, and it was surprising how different the Rock team looks compared to last year. I’m sure it’s not entirely because of Doyle’s return, but they seemed to be brimming with confidence, and playing smart. Looking forward to the home opener next Friday!