ILIndoor Top 40: Colin Doyle #19

Colin Doyle's NLL numbers may be down, but his ability to lead is as strong as ever in Toronto. (Photo: Graig Abel)
Colin Doyle's NLL numbers may be down, but his ability to lead is as strong as ever in Toronto. (Photo: Graig Abel)

No one’s about to put forth the argument that Colin Doyle’s 2012 National League season was one of his best. Statistically speaking, he finished the season with 59 points, his lowest total since scoring that same number of points in 2001. But a closer look reveals a couple of different explanations as to why his points total was down and here’s a clue: It’s not because he’s lost his touch. Pro athletes are a proud bunch who rarely make excuses, and we’re not about to make any for Doyle. But when you do the math and understand what Doyle went through in 2012, it becomes clear that he remains respected, and feared, presence on the floor.

Ten points in the first 5 games of the 2012 campaign solicited many questions about Doyle and his game. He’s 34. He’s played 14 NLL seasons. He’s played in 188 straight games, tying the league mark for consecutive games played.

So when Doyle was forced to miss 2 games, his return not only brought a healthier body back to the floor for the left-hander out of Kitchener, Ont. It brought back a few answers. In his third game back from injury, he dropped 6 points (2-4) on the Wings. Then 6 more on the Bandits, 7 on the Knighthawks, and 8 on the Bandits.

Notice the trend? Yeah, it was a tear that produced 49 points in his final 8 games of the regular season before scoring 8 points in Toronto’s 2 playoff games.

And that wasn’t all for Doyle. Less than a month after the Rock’s season was over, he was in uniform for the Six Nations Chiefs. And with 49 points (12-37) in 13 games, he led the team in scoring for the regular season before notching 26 points (4-22) in 10 playoff games that ended with a loss in the MSL finals to eventual Mann Cup champion Peterborough.

As it does for so many veterans who shape their skill to evolve with the game, it all goes beyond the numbers, beyond the points for Doyle. It’s about Doyle limping back to his Toronto bench during a game. It’s about Doyle with extra padding on his shoulder. All this during games, continuing to play and showing teammates young and old what it takes to be a leader.

Fact: A 2-time NLL scoring champ who also has 4 other Top 5 and a total of 9 Top-10 finishes in single-season scoring, Doyle finished 26th last season, the worst showing of his career.

Top 40 (last year’s rank in parenthesis)

No. 40: Jeff Gilbert (not ranked)
No. 39: Kevin Crowley (nr)
No. 38: Kevin Ross (nr)
No. 37: Adam Jones (nr)
No. 36: Jordan MacIntosh (nr)
No. 35: Paul Rabil (30)
No. 34: Tyler Richards (17)
No. 33: Scott Ranger (nr)
No. 32: Chris White (20)
No. 31: Sandy Chapman (15)
No. 30: Aaron Bold (nr)
No. 29: Jeff Moleski (10)
No. 28: Andrew Suitor
No. 27: Ryan Ward (nr)
No. 26: Dane Dobbie (25)
No. 25: Mike Carnegie (31)
No. 24: Stephan Leblanc (26)
No. 23: Josh Sanderson (7)
No. 22: Athan Iannucci (16)
No. 21: Mike Poulin (nr)
No. 20: Gavin Prout (22)

Chavez is an avid lacrosse player in Rochester and a journalist for the Democrat and Chronicle as well as a longtime Inside Lacrosse contributor. Email him at bob.chavez@nllinsider.com or go to RochesterSports.com.

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