With the new NLL playoff format in place, now players who play both box and field have a very tough decision on their hands.
The following article is based off of the speculation and facts already distributed publicly. This does not necessarily reflect the opinion of In Lacrosse We Trust, their staff or sponsors. Thank you.
The NLL season will run through the end of May in 2014. More than likely Major League Lacrosse will be about four or five games into their season. Only six of nine teams make the playoffs, but two thirds of NLL players will have a decision to make; box or field?
In the past MLL and NLL have not competed very much. In fact, it has worked out very well with both leagues reporting on how their players do in the other league. Players could be full time lacrosse players playing in two leagues throughout the year.
It has been well documented how the league has gone more Canadian in recent years, while MLL is mostly American. Only 28 players were American in 2013 and 28 of them played on Philadelphia. That could lead you to believe that the NLL might suffer in that department even more than in the past.
In the Past
playoff schedule will take big names out of both leagues respectively. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot
- Charlotte Hounds faceoff man Jerry Ragonese
Will MLL MVP Kevin Crowley be forced to chose Wings or Nationals?
Let’s look at the 2013 season where the NLL playoffs were ongoing during the MLL season opener. The Philadelphia Wings, home of the most MLL players of any NLL team, were eliminated. Paul Rabil returned to the Cannons the next day but other players, Kyle Sweeney and Kevin Buchanan, did not make it to their MLL opener.
Earlier today on Twitter New York Lizards head coach Joe Spallina expressed concern about players not being able to play in both. This seems accurate based on the past where some players would have to miss a few MLL games, MLL almost always being the one sacrificed due to the NLL being late in the season.Significant costs in best 2/3 series. Rather see the semi & conf finals be one game, championship a 3/5 series, but I like is headed.
- Former NLLer Brad MacArthur
Some have wondered why the NLL even bothers going into May. There are 18 games this season, two more than last. And playoffs will now go longer than they have before. Some, like Evan Swiker of the Reading Rockets an d Newmarket Saints Jr B forward Brian Gore, have even asked why have the two game series at all.
Presumably, and this has only be speculated by others such as Travis Larner from NLL.com, the league doesn’t want to rent out an arena for a third game that might not be played. Larner also speculated having games in two arenas so that each team gets a fair chance to earn more revenue.
What They’re Saying
Cut two roster spots…add four games…a joke of a playoff format! @PLPAlax don’t accept this crap
— Mike McNamara (@mikeymac1758) August 23, 2013
Steven Waldeck of the Lizards took to Twitter to say “full time players need to be full time players” and need both leagues to remain that way and not be forced to choose one or the other.
Dan Deckelbaum who has played in both leagues along with NALL and the PLL expressed on Twitter that the people running pro lacrosse need to “step it up” in a reply to the tweet fro Jerry Ragonese.
Ray Megill of the Ohio Machine said that the season should end on July 4th and that it should start during NLL season and players need to make a choice of what style of the game to grow.
Bobby Snider told us in an exclusive interview “I do think there needs to be some more games added in playoff rounds. Understanding that the league may not be able to facilitate this, it is something to consider down the road. Making the championships a best of 3 for example.
One player also told us “I wonder why the league is going from 16-18 games first. Then they put a lot of players in difficult situations especially the Philadelphia Wings. Would have to chose the NLL first because of the commitment is made prior to the MLL. The MLL teams will suffer without the NLL players that has been well documented with the Nationals in years past getting off to slow starts because their “star players” are still playing in the NLL.”
In order to incorporate the 18-game regular season, up from the previous 16, as well as the two extra weeks of playoffs, the season will have to be longer. It is expected to begin about December 28th and finish near the end of May.
None of the changes will become official until a new CBA is agreed upon by the league and players.
What is the future of a team who has relied on Americans?
It seems that there will not be a majority choice. Some players will chose different leagues depending on their needs. Some players might still try to play both and just finish up with NLL in the playoffs. Or things might continue as they have, with players missing the start of the season and joining late.
Most of our internal sources have said about the new format that the NLL had to try something new for their playoff format, but then most of the MLL sources have worried about losing several of their players for good or for long periods of time.
In the past MLL commissioner David Gross has said he wants to start the season earlier, not later. So this might be a debate that continues for a long time, and it is more than a simple box vs field. All of this might be for naught as the players still need to vote on this format being acceptable.