Blogs | 3/2/2010 9:14:05 AM | John Gurtler
Eight games. Eight weeks. The halfway mark, looking at the home stretch. Call it what you want but let's be honest, the Bandits 2-6 mark isn’t pretty.
No pointing fingers or being an armchair web-pocket, injuries certainly have played a roll. Not one chance to get the whole band of brothers together as each game produces a walking or weaving wounded. If you think about it, head coach Darris Kilgour hasn’t had a chance to have all of his key players out on the field at once this season. No chance to let the rabbit run.
Obviously, having John Tavares out of the line-up for six games hurt. The tempo and command has been way off. But to have Kenny Montour, Roger Vyse, Frank Resetarits, Chris White, Sean Greenhalgh, Mike Thompson and a host of other nagging injuries at the half-way mark of the season? The depth chart has turned into a Ouija board. Who’s next?
Every team has a quest to stay healthy. And, as brutally tough as this game is, there is a fine balance on fielding players fit for battle. The Bandits have been lucky the last few seasons with low ‘man-games lost to injury’ but this season is breaking the norm.
But is that it? Injured? “What’s he got?” “Two forks and a knife.” Wait a minute, hold on. Before you think the Bandits are done, take a broad look at the team – and the game for that matter.
Things are changing with the speed and talent. Every team in the NLL loop can win on any given game night. Defenses are better, goaltenders are making spectacular saves and the offensive talents craft some exciting scoring plays.
The Bandits are no exception to this exciting brand. The defense, goaltending and offense have played well-but not consistently. Philadelphia beat the Bandits at their own game Saturday night by scoring right after a goal and took plenty of time and space away.
It just seemed like the Bandits could not get into a groove with illegal picks and penalties. Philadelphia found their rhythm on the power play, scoring 34 percent of their total goals with the man advantage; almost mirror image of what the Bandits did two weeks ago in Philadelphia.
But let’s be honest, nobody works harder than the Bandits. Sometimes I think they try too hard and that boggles everything up. You can see it with passing, checking, transition and shooting. And when it all clicks, this team is good.
The Bandits lead the NLL in one category at the halfway mark of the regular season: Attendance. You, the fans of Banditland, lead the league with an average of 15,651 attending the first four games of the season. Congratulations.
Which leads me to forecast the next eight. The final eight. The crazy eights. Eights on the eights. Eight days a week. Let’s see, the eight that should go with the two already there, making it 10. And it takes three after that. While optimistic, failure is not option.
Post Note: This week’s radio broadcast is on KB1520, with the pre-game beginning at 7PM. It was great last week to have Rich Kilgore do the game with me and the timing couldn’t have been better with his selection last week into the National Lacrosse League’s Hall of Fame.
The announcement of his selection was amplified Saturday night over the PA, bringing the fans to their feet saluting Richie who waved from the press box. My regular partner, Randy Mearns, was on the road @ Harvard with his Canisius College Griffs.