Archive for the ‘Inside the Numbers’ Category


Money Ballers: Calgary’s Shawn Evans outpaces all challengers for 2014 crown

Calgary's Shawn Evans produced in the playoffs and is the 2014 Money Ballers' champ. (Photo: Kevin Hoffman)
Calgary's Shawn Evans produced in the playoffs and is the 2014 Money Ballers' champ. (Photo: Kevin Hoffman)

The end of another National Lacrosse League season is upon us. The Rochester Knighthawks are champions once again, and after three straight championships, the word “dynasty” can legitimately be used (or at least discussed) for the first time since the Rock of the early 2000s. There were certainly no shortage of clutch performances this past weekend, starting from Mike Poulin and Matt Vinc and working your way out. The Calgary Roughnecks got out to a very quick lead, as former Knighthawk Shawn Evans scored only 36 seconds into the first and Curtis Dickson doubled the lead a little over a minute later. READ MORE »


Money Ballers: Calgary’s Shawn Evans closing in on title for 2014 season

Shawn Evans has an 8.5-point lead in the Money Baller race, with 1 game (and maybe a bit more) left. (Photo: Dan Brodie)
Shawn Evans has an 8.5-point lead in the Money Baller race, with 1 game (and maybe a bit more) left. (Photo: Dan Brodie)

After 81 regular season games and 9 playoff games, the 2014 National Lacrosse League season all comes down to next weekend. One game to decide it all. Or maybe one and a bit. The Calgary Roughnecks took a big step toward winning their third championship with a 10-7 victory in game 1 of the finals. One question that comes up often in many team sports, including lacrosse, is whether a strong defense can negate a strong offense, or whether the offense will break through the defense. Obviously it depends on the day, but count this game as a vote for “defense wins.” READ MORE »


Money Ballers: Calgary’s Shawn Evans extends lead at top of standings

Shawn Evans was the scoring hero, again, in Calgary's playoff win Saturday against Edmonton. (Photo: Dale MacMillan)
Shawn Evans was the scoring hero, again, in Calgary's playoff win Saturday against Edmonton. (Photo: Dale MacMillan)

After winning their divisions and earning a bye in the first round of the playoffs, both the Edmonton Rush and Rochester Knighthawks lost Game 1 of their Division Finals series. The losses required both teams to take full advantage of the home floor in Game 2 to force a Game 3 mini-game, and then win that to advance to the National Lacrosse League finals. So in order to have the regular season division winners meet in the final, Rochester had to win two and Edmonton had to win two. To paraphrase the great American poet M. Loaf, three outta four ain’t bad — unless you’re the Rush. READ MORE »


Money Ballers: 3-way tie for weekly lead can’t push Calgary’s Evans from top spot

Shawn Evans of Calgary maintains the top spot among playoff Money Ballers. (Photo: Brad Watson)
Shawn Evans of Calgary maintains the top spot among playoff Money Ballers. (Photo: Brad Watson)

It was a bit of an unusual playoff weekend for long-time National Lacrosse League fans. Not because the lower-seeded team won both games, not because the home team won both games, and not because the winning team scored 12 goals in both games. None of those are really all that strange. The unusual thing is that after a playoff game, we’re used to talking about teams having been eliminated from the playoffs and that didn’t happen. The Knighthawks and Rush may have lost this past weekend, but they are still very much in the hunt for the championship. READ MORE »


Money Ballers, playoff edition: OT heroics push Shawn Evans to front of list

Calgary's Shawn Evans is an OT hero, and the early leader among playoff Money Ballers. (Photo: Brad Watson)
Calgary's Shawn Evans is an OT hero, and the early leader among playoff Money Ballers. (Photo: Brad Watson)

We had a couple of “Money Baller classics” this past weekend as the National Lacrosse League playoffs got underway. A couple of rivalries and the clean slate of the playoffs led to two close games with back and forth leads which went down to the wire. In the case of Colorado and Calgary, they even stretched the wire a little bit with overtime. And of course, lots of lead changes leads to lots of Money Baller goals. The festivities began in Toronto. The Rock roared into the post-season, winning four straight and stealing the No. 2 seed in the East from Buffalo in the last weekend of the regular season. READ MORE »


Money Ballers: Colorado’s John Grant Jr. emerges to claim his second MB crown

John Grant Jr. (24) didn't play in Colorado's final game but still won his 2nd Money Ballers title. (Photo: Jack Dempsey)
John Grant Jr. (24) didn't play in Colorado's final game but still won his 2nd Money Ballers title. (Photo: Jack Dempsey)

The 2014 National Lacrosse League regular season has come to a close. As always, there was expected behaviour (we all expected Rochester to be strong and Edmonton’s defense to be very good) and some surprises as well (Minnesota and Vancouver struggled and who honestly expected Edmonton’s defense to have a team GAA under 9?). The Money Ballers standings followed the same pattern: some expected behaviour (John Grant, Dane Dobbie, Cody Jamieson, Curtis Dickson all in the top 10) and a few surprises (Curtis Knight moved from 54th last year to 3rd, Stephen Leblanc moved from 23rd to 6th). Grant and Dobbie were pretty much No. 1 and No. 2 all season long and were only separated by 1/2 a point going into the final week of the season. Then a strange twist of fate led to a bit of a surprising finish. But we’ll get to that. READ MORE »


Money Ballers: Dickson makes big push to gain ground on Grant and Dobbie

John Grant Jr. maintains his lead in the Money Baller standings with 1 week left in the season. (Photo: Colorado Mammoth)
John Grant Jr. maintains his lead in the Money Baller standings with 1 week left in the season. (Photo: Colorado Mammoth)

This past weekend was the second-last of the regular season and fittingly, we saw the second-lowest scoring game in National Lacrosse League history, Curtis Dickson’s second sock-trick of the year, and Edmonton’s second loss of the season. In addition, the second-to-last playoff decision was made, as the Mammoth clinched the final playoff spot. The only remaining decision is where the Rock/Bandits first-round game will be played. Let’s take a second or two and look over this week’s games and their implications to the Money Ballers race. READ MORE »


Money Ballers: Mammoth’s John Grant Jr. finds himself in a familiar spot at top

John Grant Jr., right, is returns to the No. 1 Money Ballers spot with 2 weeks left in the regular season. (Photo: Dale MacMillan)
John Grant Jr., right, is returns to the No. 1 Money Ballers spot with 2 weeks left in the regular season. (Photo: Dale MacMillan)

The streak is over. By now you’ve heard that the Edmonton Rush’s perfect season is not to be, but the team that was able to do it may not have been who you expected. The playoff picture in the East became a little more solidified this weekend, and the first-place East team tried to play spoiler for a team in the West. For the second time this season, the Swarm and Bandits pulled off a feat that hadn’t been accomplished in the National Lacrosse League in twenty-four years, and we kind of have a new leader on the Money Ballers leader board. All that and more on this week’s edition of the Money Ballers. READ MORE »


Money Ballers: Dane Dobbie’s big weekend pushes John Grant out of No. 1 spot

Dane Dobbie carded 11 points in 2 games this weekend to move into the top spot. (Photo: Derek Stevens)
Dane Dobbie carded 11 points in 2 games this weekend to move into the top spot. (Photo: Derek Stevens)

It was a good news/bad news weekend in the National Lacrosse League. The good news: John Tavares reached yet another milestone in his amazing career, hitting the 800 goal mark. This is an amazing achievement when you consider that only one other player, Gary Gait, even has 600 goals, and less than ten players have ever reached 400. The bad news is something that nobody wants to hear, whether you’re a fan of the Toronto Rock or not. Rock forward Garrett Billings tore his ACL in the second quarter of Saturday night’s Rock-Stealth game and will miss the rest of the 2014 season. We didn’t have a changing of the guard in the NLL scoring race, which Billings currently leads, but we soon will. READ MORE »


Money Ballers: Colorado’s Grant builds on lead in overall standings as Dobbie pursues

Colorado's John Grant Jr. (24) had 7.5 Money Baller points on Saturday to extend his overall lead. (Photo: Bartley Young)
Colorado's John Grant Jr. (24) had 7.5 Money Baller points on Saturday to extend his overall lead. (Photo: Bartley Young)

In the Money Ballers world, points don’t always add up to wins. It’s possible to pick up a lot of MB points and still lose. But one thing that MB points can reliably predict is how close a game is. Lots of MB points means a close game, though the reverse is not true. There were three games this past weekend that were decided by four goals, but one of them was noticeably closer than the other two. Calgary’s win over Minnesota featured 16 Money Baller goals, while the games in Vancouver and Rochester combined featured only 10. If you’re looking for a game to keep you on the edge of your seat, look for one with plenty of MB points, and three of the five games this past weekend featured lots of those. READ MORE »