Hey all, hope all is well in the Yard! First off, let me say how excited I am to know that the NFL is back again! It would have been a very long fall without Sunday football, let me tell you that.
In my world, things are moving along steadily. We just finished up camp season and it was the best one yet. Camps in Waterloo, Orangeville and Oakville were the best we’ve had in years. The turnouts were top notch, as was the instruction as many of the Rock greats were there to help out the youngsters. One thing that made the camp unique this year was the addition of a “trick shot” competition that will wrap up online (at www.torontorock.com) at the end of August. This was new this year and the finalists certainly earned their spot by dropping some of the neatest stuff we’ve seen in years. Family, friends and fans can vote online to crown this summer’s champ. My personal favorite is the Flying Leprechaun from the Waterloo camp. This one had creativity, flare and great tricks! Best of luck to all the competitors.
As far as playing goes, we (Six Nations Chiefs) just wrapped up our first round in the playoffs against the KW Kodiaks. We beat them 3-1 in a very hard fought series. Many didn’t give them a chance, but they really made us work and we are hoping to carry that momentum into our clash in the second round with Peterborough. They are the favorites to win the Mann Cup again this year, but I like what our team is doing right now and if we want to be the best, we are going to have to beat the best at some point! Let’s go Chiefs!
It was an interesting end to the regular season to say the least. I have been answering a ton of questions as to why on earth I scored on my own net in our regular season finally against Brampton. Well, to answer the pundits….We needed to win that game by four goals to move up to second spot in the standings. That would have given us a bye, some rest and likely a different opponent in the second round. We valued all that stuff pretty high, and when it was apparent we were simply going to win the game by 2, it was suggested we score on ourselves and take the game into a full ten minute overtime to see if we can win by four. In the end, it didn’t work, but we did feel good about our game and have had a good playoff thus far. Like I said before, onward to Peterborough. It was however, one of the strangest games I have ever been apart of. I am sure if I was watching without knowing the full extend of the standings, I would have had some questions myself!
There have also been some pretty significant moves during the Rock’s off-season. Anyone who knows Terry Sanderson, the Rock’s GM, knows he is not one to stand pat! He is always trying ways to better his teams, and even after a championship this year will be no different. In his first big move, he got Dan Carey from the Colorado Mammoth in exchange for a few picks, Creighton Reid and Matt McLeod. It hurts loosing Cleody and Reider, but to get something you have to give something in the wonderful world of sports! In this case, did we ever get something! Dan has the potential to be a big time scorer for us this season. He is coming off some injury plagued seasons, but in my opinion is one of the smoothest shooters in the game. He has great game moxy and has won at many levels. Let me be the first to welcome another great part of the Toronto Rock. He will elevate the game of the other lefties, LeBlanc, Pascas and myself no doubt about it!
In the other move, Terry shipped Kyle Ross to Washington for goaltender Matt Roik. Again, very sad to see Rosco go. He was a big part of our championship and he is going to be missed. A great teammate. In return, we get another piece of what seems to be our goaltending situation. Matt is a great goalie who also has winning pedigree. I believe he has won a Minto, a Mann and an NLL title. Due to the great play of Tyler Richards in Washington, I suppose it was time for him to find a new home. I welcome his play to our team. He is a fierce competitor and a great stopper. He will help fill the void left by Whipper in the upcoming season.
Speaking of Whipper, how nice was it to see him become a first ballot Hall of Famer? I know he never played for accolades, but now that his career is over, I am sure we can spend a night and reminisce about all he has accomplished as the Greatest Goalie the NLL has ever seen. He will be missed this year, but the Hall of Fame will be a great way to send him off. Well earned Whip! What an honor to see him elected the year after watching my other very good friend, Dan Stroup get inducted. Well done boys!
Anyway, it seems as though even on off-season for an NLL’er is filled with lacrosse. I guess that is the way it should be. I am off to Peterborough for our first of our seven game series. I expect one hell of a series. If you are in Ontario and want to see some fine lacrosse action, Six Nations, Peterborough, Brampton and Brooklin will have lots going on. As will Orangeville and Whitby which is shaping up to be a great Jr. A final as well.
All the best to all the lacrosse fans out there, we’ll catch up again soon.
Well folks, the NLL season is upon us again! Seems like just yesterday my teammates and I were licking our wounds from a lost opportunity in Washington, in a tough loss to the Stealth.
Well here we are, nearly 8 months later and we are back at it. 10 teams looking for the NLL title and for the first time in a very long time, 10 teams that have a legitimate shot. The parity in the league might (as I've said before) be at its very best. Orlando folding gave every team increased talent and depth and there are no more "doormats". Expect a game every night or you will be piling up the losses.
Either way, in Rockland our focus remains the same. Unfinished business! Be one game better than we were last season. Easier said than done, but we are going to cherish the challenge.
This past Saturday we hosted the Edmonton Rush to the ACC for a tilt with them. As it always is early, play was a little sloppy and a little rushed, but as both teams settled down the fans got to see a really fast paced, action filled NLL game. The story line, in my opinion, was the play of both goalies. Whipper, as he always is was great in our end, holding the Rush to one second half goal! In the other net, Disher was just as good, keeping them in the game as we rallied off scoring chance after scoring chance.
Defensively, we were a little rusty and a little out of sorts, but when they settled in, it was nice to watch. Offensively, we had a really good night all around. I was very pleased with our unselfish play and our ball and feet movement. This could be a really special group!
Either way, we don't have anytime to dwell on this one as we go into our nemesis "Blue Cross Building" in Rochester for a match with the new look Knighthawks this Saturday at 7:30pm, on TSN 2. If we are going to make a statement, this would be as good a time as any as we haven't won in that building (aside from the NLL title in 2003, I believe) in a vvvvveeerrrrrryyyy lllllooooonnngggg time! It will be a good challenge, as they are very skilled offensively and have added Matt Vinc, who is highly regarded around the league as one of the best goalies.
If we are going to have success this year, we are going to have to win in this building. Period.
Enough NLL talk. I'll check back in Monday with you all to keep you up to date with our progress as we continue toward our end goal.
Before I leave I wanted to tell you about one giant pet peeve of mine. This is a small thing, but it has driven me nuts since it happened last. I'll tell you my feelings and you can tell me if I am over reacting, or maybe I am just nuts? This happened easily four times to me last season alone. When we are entering or exiting the building, there are always fans with their hands down to get a high five, or some kind of acknowledgement. I dig that. I was one of those kids at one point myself! So as a rule, I always try to get in some high fives and some friendly banter. Lately (I say lately, because I never remember having the balls to do this myself, or ever seeing it earlier in my career), kids have been doing the old "how she doing". They hang their hand there, I go to hit it and they move it away and start chirping me! It drives me nuts. What am I supposed to do? Don't give anymore high fives in concern that I am going to wave and miss and get chirped about it? Then you have their parents telling anyone who will listen what an A**hole I am! Or do I continue with the humiliation and frustration of the "now you see it, now you don't"?
I'll leave it with you and let you guys decide!
Anyway, until next time.
Hey all, nice to be back in the yard! Things have been busy in the Doyle household, but I had a few minutes and a few things I wanted to talk about.
First off, the great Sparky Anderson passed away late last week in California. Being a Tigers fan from day one, he was really the first coach/manager I really ever had the opportunity to learn to respect. My father used to always fill car rides with stories of Sparky and his unique antics as a manager, and I never forgot that. It was nice to read all the great things and the amount of respect people in the baseball world had for Sparky...he will be missed.
Staying with the State of Michigan, like it or hate it, the Wolverines are FUN to watch! Did anyone see that incredible 67 point performance last weekend! I am still on the fence as to whether or not I like Rich Rod. in Anne Arbor, but I do like the brand of football he is producing, at least from the offensive end. The D leaves much to be desired, but with a young core there for a few years, defensive recruits will hopefully show some interest! Denard Robinson is just insanely athletic! He is worth the price of addmission and brings something we haven't seen there since Sir Charles Woodson! Bowl or not, I am back on the Wolverine banwaggon! Go Blue
By the way, Carey Price just finished the night with a 2-0 win over Luongo and the Canucks....just thought I'd mention that!
One last thing before we talk about me. I have had the chance to see a bunch of these ESPN 30 for 30's up here over the last few months. I haven't seen such intriguing sports pieces in quite some time. I just finished watching one about Marcus Dupree and was overwhelmed how I had never heard that story before! It was a great piece! I also loved the one about the connection between Vlad Divac and one of his former Countrymen and the war between Serbia and Croatia that tore their friendship apart! Awesome story! One night in Vegas, about the killing of Tupac and the relation to the Tyson fight that night....Again, awesome. A Terry Fox story, done by Steve Nash and the run the Red Sox went on a few years back. I really want to see these under my tree for Christmas this year! Let me know if you've seen any I should!
Lastly, just gearing up for the final three weeks of training before tip off to training camp. It will be a grind as I prepare myself for what should be the toughest of training camps I have seen in my career. The Rock will be a tough team to make this year, that is one thing for sure!
Until next time, stay tuned...
Hope all is well in the yard again today. All I can say, it that is was one HE** of a weekend. We beat the Bandits 13-11 after being down 6-0 at one point early in the second quarter and the Habs are 1-1 going home for the next two. What a perfect world.....for now that is!
There is business at hand yet. We begin preparing for the Orlando Titans tonight at practice and the Habs are right back to test tonight against the Pens. First things first. The Rock are going on the road for the Eastern Final, that is a pretty good feeling, but not quite satisfying. We need to go there with the mindset that we can beat them and carry on with a chance to win the Champions Cup. We played a great second half this past weekend to beat what appeared to be a tired Bandit team. Behind great goaltending and a great defense the offence came alive after being down 7-4 at the half. Rookie Steff Leblanc came to play, lighting a fire under our offence and getting us going. The score and the emotions went back and forth until Garrett Billings was finally able to tie it at 10 with about 7 minutes to go in the fourth. From there we carried the momentum and the emotions home for the win. It was a very loud and excited ACC to say the least. I haven't heard the place that loud since our 2005 championship. It would have been nice to play one more at home, but with all three teams remaining having better records than us, we will have to finish this thing on the road.
Orlando will present a very tough challenge, as they have beaten us twice already this season. They have great talent and are very well coached and will be extremely prepared to play. We need to stick to our systems and get ready to out work them this coming Saturday night. Not sure yet if the game will be on the tube or not, but if it is be sure to tune into TSN 2 for what is sure to be a great game.
In the Western final, there has been what some may say an upset. Calgary was upended by Edmonton at home and Edmonton will now travel to Washington to take on the Stealth. Two very good, athletic teams facing off in what will be a very entertaining game of NLL lacrosse in Seattle. If you live in the Northwest, do yourself a favor and get to this game. It will be a beauty!
Now on to the NHL. All I have been hearing is that the Habs do not have a chance. No chance against the Caps, now none against the Pens. What do we have to do to get some respect? Yes, we are getting great goaltending, but we are also playing very good team, playoff hockey! Backchecking, winning faceoffs, blocking shots, scoring on the power play etc.. We need to get a split here at home and make it the best 2 out of 3 coming home. The foresight, to see what guys like Gill, Gomez and Gionta were going to bring to the table come playoff time is something that Gainey should be applauded for. Believe it or not folks, this team may be strong enough for a long playoff run!!! Either way, I believe and I will be tuned is as possible to watch them win or lose.
I'll plan on keeping you all posted once we return from Orlando. In the meantime, GO ROCK GO!!
Well folks, we got ourselves right back in the mix of things in the Eastern Division with two big wins this weekend. An exciting, down to the wire win at home against the defending champs and a decisive win in Philly on Saturday night. The Roughnecks were down Tracey Kelusky and Kaleb Toth, but showed why they are champs with their outright resiliency while in Philly is always tough enough to win as it is. They are down with some injuries as well, and likely did not have their best. Either way, we are 8-6 and control our own destiny again to try and host a playoff game at the ACC. Something that hasn't happened in over four years!
This weekend we are off to Buffalo for the rubber match of our season series. A win can lock us in the playoffs and give us a really good shot at second place.....maybe even first if we get some help. It doesn't really matter, our mindset will be preparing to beat Buffalo in order to have the season series 2-1. We have had some success in Buffalo over the years, but the HSBC will be packed with Orange laden fans looking to boost their team to a win and a better shot at the playoffs themselves.....Strap in for a NLL BEAUTY!!!
Outside of lax, I got to spend Easter with my family. It was great to see my daughter understand moderately about the Easter bunny, although I think she still equates it with chocolates! It was nice to have a little down time between lacrosse and teaching to be able to spend some quality time with my family.
On a side note, what did you all think of my movie last from last week? Everyday I keep thinking of new movies I'd like to add in, but that is what top five lists are all about!!!
As busy as I am teaching and playing, one of the side projects I am helping the Rock run is a school presentation aptly named "School House Rocks". This opportunity is something that the Rock run every Tuesday during the winter months at seleceted schools accross the Greater Toronto Area. For the most part we meet with kids anywhere from grades 1 through grades 8. I walk them through the history of lacrosse, the history of the NLL and of course some personal history as well. I then touch on the idea of leading a healthy, active lifestyle as well as teaching the importance of respect, leadership and accountability. Three things that are very near and dear to me. So far, the visits are going great and the responses have been outstanding. It really reminds me of why I enjoy teaching and being a role model so much. Watching kids learn and understand about life's most important issues is truly gratifying. I am really truly enjoying the presentations and look forward to visiting many new schools as we close out April and in to May. Of course it is always a little easier when we are winning, and we have something to celebrate so the last month and a half was tough!
Anyways, onward and upward. I'll touch base again next week regarding our game in Buffalo and our position in the East. We will be ready for the game in Buffalo and we really understand its importance!
Let's go Rock!
Hope this reaches everyone well. Things have been crazy as usual on my end, but what is making things tougher is our recent 0-5 slide. It has been almost two months since our last win, and we are all beginning to forget the feeling we had to start the season.....Job #1 is to get that feeling back. What one win would do for our team!! Oh well, we don't have to wait long to get our shot as we host Calgary this Friday, then travel to play Philly on Saturday. I can guarantee you all one thing. Neither game will be easy as both teams are as desperate or more desperate than us. Should make for some great lacrosse!!!
On the weekend, I really did feel like we deserved better. You won't hear me say that too often, but they are a good team and we went blow for blow with them. We just couldn't bury our chances, and they did....simple as that! They got another outstanding game from their goalie Matt Vinc, and some key goals at key times. They are the class of the East for now without question. We are all chasing them now with that win. We need to take the good from that game and roll with it this weekend. Calgary are still the defending champs, and Philly is always tough in their own barn. I expect two great lacrosse games without question.
Outside of the game, it sure was nice getting a chance to go down to Florida at this time of year, I just wish we had another week there! The weather was beautiful and it just had that summertime feel, that all of us "Ontarians" are wishing for. I hear the nice weather is on it's way here by the end of the week. Here is to hoping!
Next up is the launch of the Toronto Rock Lacrosse camps across Ontario, Canada for the summer of 2010. I will be teaming up as the director of the summer lacrosse circuit which will be open for all kids aged 6-14. We will be travelling to my hometown of Kitchener - Waterloo, Whitby, Orangeville and Oakville. The first three taking place in July and the later in late August. I can't wait to get moving on these as it offers a great chance for me to get to know as many "little laxers" as possible over the summer, while spreading the great word of lacrosse and of the Rock. I am looking forward to seeing many of you this summer at some point or another. Stay tuned to www.torontorock.com for all the details.
Stepping away from lacrosse for a minute, I thought I'd compile another list and get some feedback from you guys on it as well. Last week, I was asked to name my favorite sports movie of all time. I stumbled for a bit (it was live t.v.) then came up with Hoosiers. Now, Hoosiers is on my list without question, but if I had more time would I have picked something else? Either way, here is my top five list of BEST SPORTS MOVIES OF ALL TIME (or atleast of my era)!
1. Slapshot: I am Canadian, this affirms it! Great movie to watch on bus rides, that is likely why I am so attached to it. I love it each time I see it.
2. Hoosiers: I was relatively young when I first saw this and my father got it for us to watch. There are some very valuable lessons in that movie for a young impressionable athlete. I still try and watch it once a year to this day. Gene Hackman's best work.
3. Remember the Titans: I loved this movie. Without living through that ear, I really felt that this movie portrayed the difficulties of the times very well. Denzel was outstanding as a leader of young men, and his portrayal of the power of leadership still sticks with me today. Great movie!!
4. Field of Dreams and For the Love of the Game: I think I may be soft for Costner. Almost every sports fan will agree with Field, but For the Love of the Game? Yes, I loved this movie. I liked how it told the story of a baseball pitcher in a very unique manner. Very touching and interesting all the same. I guess I like Costner in the baseball world. "Field" speaks for itself......
5. Caddyshack: This was a toss up between this and Kingpin, but in the end the "classic" wins out. A timeless classic. One of those movies everyone has seen and can relate to in one way or another. What a cast!!
As it turns out, my list (which is in no particular order) could have been 40 long easy. Some of the tough omits were; Rocky, Jerry Maguire, Kingpin, Gladiator, White men can't jump, Any Given Sunday, and Best in Show (if you can call this a sports movie) If it is, I may have to reconsider my list, I love Best in Show!
I will still need to see Raging Bull and Bull Durham, they are my next two on my list. If you have seen them, let me know they are worth the time. I have heard nothing but good things about both!
Well, there you have it. Feel free to respond with your thoughts, if nothing else you will give me something to rent on my next day off!
T'ill next time,
Hey all, hope all is well with everyone on this dreary Tuesday in late March. Hope everyone had a great "March Break" for those Canadians and everyone around the world enjoyed their St. Paddy's Day celebrations! I know I did on both accounts.
Anyway, today's blog is going to be straight forward on an issue that happens to be very prevelant right now in sports, but most mostly in the hockey world. Because of an influx of head shots taken lately in the NHL it has become a hot topic once again. Last week the NHL took a new stance on the topic and sent some video out to every team so that everyone in the league knows and understands what a head shot is.....WHAT A JOKE!
Again, keep in mind this is my opinion, but what a joke. There is so much being made of head shots in sports and how concussions are so much more occuring lately and how leagues should change the rules of play to make things safer etc. Everyone is making their voices heard on what changes need to be made and excusing the play because the players are bigger and faster and stronger. Okay, I don't totally disagree that some changes could be made, but the bottom line is simple. Those giving the head shots know they are giving head shots...end of story. If you want to change that, you need to look a bit deeper than changing the rules or the suspensions. The fact of the matter is that players playing proffessional sports today have very little respect for their opponent or for their sport itself. Lets use hockey players for our example. Anyone who saw Matt Cooke's hit a few weeks ago can see that it was no accident. He knew outright that Savard was vulnerable and he finished it regardless. He also finished it high. What does that tell me. Well it is simple. Cooke has no regard for hockey and absolutely no regard for Savard. It wasn't a spur of the moment decision, or a hit that got away from him. It was simply a dirty hit, "inside" the rules. They couldn't susupend him because it did not break any rules. Fair enough.
The fact still remains that in today's sporting world, from the young players right on up to the pros there lacks a significant amount of respect. That is why there are so many more issues that we hear about in the bigs as well as in minor sports. Any adult will tell you that the youth of today have less respect for things than those of their era. The fact is, it is true. Not only in society do these rules exsist they also exsist in the sporting world. Respect is the block that sports used to be built on. You respect the game, the players, the refs, the fans etc.. That kind of respect is gone. Very few players still abide by it and even less care to think about it. If I want to hit someone from behind, I will. If I want to take a head shot, I will. I will suffer the consequences (there are very few) and move on. I DON'T CARE. What can they do to me? Same reason there is less respect in society. What can they do to me?
Without dwelling on this any longer, there are some suggestions that would help. The first is have the pros respect the game enough that it can rub off on today's youth! What kind of message does that send to the kids of today if the pros act irresponsibly? Secondly, get the enforcer back in the game. Not the kind of enforcer that fights the other teams tough guy. The kind of guy that will deal with the Matt Cooke's of the game. If the insigator rule was out, it would make every player instantly more accountable for their actions. Simple enough in my world. You have a lack of respect for my teamate, you are going to be dealth with. Accountability breads respect, get back to the proper way of "earning" respect. Lastly, and this was a point that was brought to me. Teach these young hockey players how to skate with the puck, with their Heads up! Too many players, even the good ones leave themselves vulnerable because of the simple fact that they can't skate with the puck and see what is going on around them. Yes, the players are bigger and stronger and faster. Adapt, and be more aware of what is going on around you. Mabye spend more time with the puck on your stick then in the weight room....just a thought.
Regardless. As a proffessional athlete myself I have a tremendous amount of respect for the game I play and for those I play with and against. There are certain things I'd like to do, but don't because of that respect. I know for a fact, that that respect does not always work both ways. Simple as that. Those looking for a name in the game or those that simply don't care will play reckless until they are dealt with. Players like this have exsisted as long as sports have been around, the difference is, in the "old days" those players were dealt with. They either changed or were ousted from the game. Get respect back, decrease the amount of injuries due to reckless play.
Anyway, now that my rant is over I can get back to the business at hand. The Rock travel to Orlando this weekend in what has turned out to be a first place battle. With Calgary knocking them off last weekend, we can take a share of the lead back with a win this weekend. Fresh off a week off, we WILL be ready to go. Stay tuned for your NLL update first thing Monday. I will get you to speed with our weekend and the rest of the NLL action!
Well folks, the Olympics are in the books and from what I've seen my hat goes off to the city and the people of Vancouver. From all accounts, besides the obvious odd crack, the 2010 Winter Olympics were a hit. The fans were great, as they showed up and cheered ALL COUNTRIES, in all sports. It was great to see the Country rally around our athletes and even better to see the athelets show up and succeed.
As for Canada's hope to OWN THE PODIUM, I have split thoughts. First off, I think that it was great to see our Country (financially) get behind our athletes in hopes that they would succeed on our home turf. The problem I have with the whole concept is how Canada went about handling it. Canada went out of their way to announce the plans to OWN THE PODIUM, and in my opinion that was a mistake. Give some money, start some initiatives and give our athletes every chance to succeed, but please don't announce to the rest of the world, especially the Americans that we plan on OWNING THE PODIUM. I really think the American took offence to this whole thing and really went out to put it to Canada. The old "waking the beast" concept that happens all the time in sport. You talk about motivation! I would have kept the Countries support in house and under wraps and just allow the athletes to succeed with their help. When it is all over, the athletes could have done their part to repay our Country by thanking them for all their support. The OWN THE PODIUM platform was a successful idea poorly handled in in my opinion! For what it's worth.....
We could learn something from the Americans in this regard. Make it an expectation that these athletes get some financial help in order to succeed, don't make it an ordeal. I think we can learn from the outrageous support that our friends south of the border lend their athletes.
On the other hand, Canada has much to be proud of. After having some early troubles we battled back to win an unprecedented amount of gold medals and most importantly we won the ONE medal that counted more than anything else to this Country. Of course, I am talking about the gold medal in Men's hockey. What a great game, and it is a shame (as I've said before) that we don't see more of this. Hats off to the USA for making one hell of a run and congrats to Canada for making a Country believe in its roots! Well done fella's, way to make us all proud!
You may or may not be wondering why I haven't talked any lax yet. Well, anyone who saw the game against the Titans on the weekend probably knows why! With a promising 2-0 lead after the first quarter, all things fell apart and we were beat handily by a better team. They got very strong goaltending and some very opportunistic offensive play to beat us, at the ACC 16-11. We trailed from the second quarter on and really never got back into the game. A very tough loss indeed. We are now trailing them in the Eastern Division, but do get to enjoy a week off to re-group. That is exactly what we plan on doing....REGROUP! Get our game plans back in order and begin the process of turning our season around for the home stretch. I still think a 10-6 record will get us first or second, so that has to be our goal. We will have our work cut out for us, but we have a good bunch up for the task!
Anyway, just before I leave you I wanted to let you all know that I called Crosby's winner right before overtime started. He had been too quiet for too long. Great players play big on stages like that, and he is just that. It was only a matter of time!