July 22, 2009

MLL Playoffs: After Outlaws, Implications Loom

from press releases and staff reports

With three weeks remaining in the Major League Lacrosse season, playoff scenarios loom. The first-place Denver Outlaws, who have qualified for the playoffs in each of their four seasons, clinched the first spot with an 11-8 win over the Washington Bayhawks.

Denver (7-2) is currently trailed by Boston (6-4), Long Island (5-4) and Toronto (5-5) in the league standings. No team has been eliminated from playoff contention, yet.

Per majorleaguelacrosse.com, here are the implications for Week 11:

Current Standings

* Denver is the current No. 1 seed due to the best overall winning percentage and has clinched a playoff spot due to the fact that, at a minimum, their record would be 7-5, which is currently the best possible record for any playoff team, but can be accomplished by only three other teams at most.

* All other seeds are in order based on winning percentage; no tie-breakers currently necessary.

* No teams are currently eliminated.

* The worst possible record for a playoff team currently stands at 5-7, but could end up at 6-6 or 7-5.

* Games played will not be completely even until after Week 12, when bye weeks are completed.

Week 11 Schedule (all times Eastern)

Thursday, July 23 - Boston at Toronto (7:30 p.m.)
Saturday, July 25 - Long Island at Denver (7 p.m.); Washington at Chicago (9 p.m.)

What Can Happen in Week 11?

* Denver (7-2) clinches the No. 1 overall seed with a win over Long Island AND a Boston loss to Toronto.

* Boston (6-4) clinches a playoff berth with either a win over Toronto OR a Chicago win over Washington.

* Long Island (5-4) clinches a playoff berth with a win over Denver AND a Washington loss to Chicago.

* Toronto (5-5) clinches a playoff spot with a win over Boston.

* Washington (3-6) would be eliminated from playoff contention with a loss to Chicago AND a Long Island win over Denver.

* Chicago (2-7) would be eliminated from playoff contention with either a loss to Washington OR wins by both Long Island and Toronto over Denver and Boston, respectively.

* All four playoff spots could be set this weekend if Long Island beats Denver, Toront beats Boston AND Chicago beats Washington.


MLL News and Notes

Golden Oldies

In the 2009 MLL All-Star Game this past Thursday, the league's Old Schoolers edged the Young Guns in an incredible overtime victory, winning 22-21. While it seemed that the Old School would run away with the victory entering the second half, the Young Guns made a strong push to tie the game late in the fourth and send the game into overtime. Denver's Brian Langtry earned Bud Light MVP honors after scoring 3 two-pointers and an assist.

‘Cause this is Thriller

Hopefully everyone tuned in for the All-Star Game last Thursday. Toronto Nationals' goalie Brett Queener wowed the crowd in the freestyle competition a la Michael Jackson's Thriller. In one of the longest freestyle competitions ever, Queener danced to the King's hit tune, finishing with a moonwalk and backbreaker shot to easily win over the crowd and the competition.

Playoffs? We're talking about Playoffs?!

Yes Jim, the playoffs. The Denver Outlaws are the first team to clinch a playoff spot in the 2009 New Balance Championship Weekend. Currently ranked first, the Outlaws have built a 7-2 record and have beat every team in the league. The Outlaws, since their inception in 2006, have qualified for the playoffs every year and have made two appearances in the Championship game ('06, '08).

rABILITY

Young Guns star and new record holder of the fastest shot in the world (111 mph), Paul Rabil recorded his 75th career regular season point in Boston's sweep of the Chicago Machine. In Boston's three games against Chicago, Rabil collected 15 points of his 41 points. His season-high in points came against Washington, on June 19, when he recorded 9 points.

Chicago's Leveirage

Machine attackman Kevin Leveille scored his 198th goal last weekend, against Boston. Despite Chicago's poor record of 2-7, Leveille is second in the league in goals scored. All-time, Leveille is fifth with 198.

Alrich better than Alright

Boston's Matt Alrich scored his 99th career regular season goal in his 49th career regular season game on Saturday.  Alrich now averages just over 2 goals per game. He has scored at least once in every game this season and two or more goals in 6 of his 9 games for 2009, most recently this past Saturday, when Alrich recorded a hat trick against the Machine.

Boyling Point

Attackman Ryan Boyle of the Boston Cannons earned his 149th assist and took his 300th shot in the Cannons victory over Chicago. Boyle was named the Bud Light MVP after scoring 8 points, 6 of which were assists. Boyle currently leads all players in assists (20) for 2009 and is fifth all-time in career regular season assists.

Groundhog

Boston defenseman Ryan McClay scooped up his 350th ground ball last Saturday against Chicago. McClay ended with 5 for the night and 26 for the season. In terms of career ground balls, McClay is 6th, but should surpass Jay Jalbert and David Jenkins by the end of the season and move into 4th place on the all-time regular season list.

Artificial Sweener? No thanks

The Cannons' Kyle Sweeney played sweet enough after recording his 1st power-play goal and 1st game-winning-goal against Chicago, this past Saturday. After a long exchange of goals between both teams, Sweeney help Boston breakaway by scoring in the third. Sweeney's power play goal was Boston's third of the game.

Saving Machine

Chi-town's Mike Gabel made his 650th save against Boston. Gabel, playing his fourth season in the league and with Chicago, is currently 7th in career regular seasonsaves made, and, despite a few disappointing seasons with the Machine, Gabel is slowing climbing the ranks in the record books.

Best Western

Denver's Drew Westervelt hit his 100th regular season point after defeating Washington in a spectacular, come-from-behind victory. Westervelt was the Bud Light MVP with 4 goals on the night, and leads the Outlaws in points (37). In his third season as a pro, Westervelt has already surpassed his points total from last season, and he did so in 3 games less.

National Pride

Toronto Nationals' Merrick Thomson tallied his 99th regular season career point after a 2-goal game against Long Island. Thomson leads the league in goals scored with 35, scoring a hat trick in 7 of 9 games so far, this season. Thomson has been consistent all season and is one of the key components to Toronto's playoff hopes.

Just Me, Myself, and I

Long Island's Brian Dougherty stands by himself at the top of 6 of the 9 career goalie categories. Perhaps the most impressive is career saves made. Despite giving up 19 goals to an overwhelming Toronto offense, the "Doc" made his 1700th save. That's a lot of saves. The second closest in saves, that is an active goalie, is Washington's Chris Garrity with 1157 saves.


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