This is the week of the year that none of us enjoy in management. Cutting our roster down to the 23 that we think will give us the greatest opportunity for success is a very agonizing process. Don't get me wrong, we are very excited for what lies ahead but unfortunately we have to make some very difficult and speculative decisions.
With 2 teams eliminated from the schedule that left 46 players out jobs this season around the NLL. Every team has gotten better and we can't be left behind in the process.
Scott Davidson is a great kid, for the past two seasons he has done everything that the coaching staff asked him to do. He was added to the 23 man roster last season and was our safety valve for anything happening to Jamie Hanford. He played that role extremely well and came to camp loaded for the oportunity to step into that void left by Hanford's departure.
With a new coach, inevitably comes new philosophies, Coach McMahon sees no place for a one dimensional player that can only accomplish one thing in the pared down NLL. Having that player dress in your starting roster means that potentially a more productive player is not playing.
Our camp was extremely competitive, as I assume were most in the League. We had tremendous competition for 23 roster spots, we will have even more competition over the next few weeks to see who starts on Dec. 29.
We have an extremely dynamic, athletic and versatile roster. Any number of players could begin to take draws for us. Jason Bloom, Nenad Gajic, Gavin Prout, Chris Gill, Nick Carlson and Tom Ethington have all taken draws in their lacrosse careers and with the likes of Sims, Carlson, Gajic, Gallant, Carey and others on the wings, we may have some of the best loose ball hounds in the league. Faceoffs are exactly that, battles for loose balls, we are committed to winning those battles.
I spoke highly of Davidson and still do, I like him as a player and think that he may still have a future in this league when expansion stretches our roster again. Spack was also a great competitor but lacked experience in the indoor game at this level, but also may battle for a spot in the years to come. I was very impressed with his work ethic and athletic ability.
With all that being said, roster positions are ultimately decided by Coach McMahon. My job is to provide him the tools to do the job, its his job to execute the usage of those tools and melting the proper tools together. I willl always defer to him when it comes to who we keep and who we release.
I am extremely excited by this team, and have been overwhelmingly impressed with our new coach. After watching the first few camps and spending significant time with him, he has an outstanding ability to bring the best out in his players. Our players like him very much already and seem to be extremely fired up to play for him.
I have established a great trust for Coach McMahon and feel very strongly that our face off situation will establish itself very quickly.
If I can indulge, this is the way the roster is breaking down compared to last year.
Jason Wulder has replaced Ben Prepchuk, and looks fantastic in camp, he will be a significant contributor with Prout and Langtry on our right side. He knows how to set a great pick and moves the ball extremely well. Both of our superstar right handed veterans love to play with him already.
Rookie draft pick Dylan Llord is replacing Mike Law, this kid could be a very special player very soon and can shoot the lights out of the ball. We were very impressed with his raw talent and atheltism. He will take some time to experience the speed of the game at this level.
Matt Brown and Jed Prossner both had great camps and are being added to the roster as left handed offensive players. The Matt Taylor trade was facilitated by a wealth of talent at this position, we are keeping an extra player here because of Matt Brown's ultimate potential return to Arizona. We are deeper here than ever, with new additions Brown and Prossner and the return of Carey, Shewchuk and Jordan Cornfield.
Bruce Murray will replace the retiring Dave Stilley, and don't let his size fool you, he is very athletic for a big man. He is the real deal on defense. Big, strong and fast, our guys have hated to play against him for years, ask Gary Gait, this is an amazing addition to our squad.
You could almost call Nick Carlson a replacement for himself, he is back!! He looks great in practice and is running like the Carlson we all remember from 2006, this is a great upgrade for the team.
Our defensive corps have looked great in practice and we are excited for the return of Catton, Leveque, Moss, Coyle, Ethington, and Gallant.
Our transition defensive players Gajic, Sims and Carlson looked outstanding and we are thrilled to see them do what they do this season. Jason Bloom will be moving to the offensive end and will look to contribute there this season. His versatility is his greatest asset, he can literally do it all, a fantastic athlete that can play defense and score. I look for great things from him this year.
We have replaced Davidson with Chris Gill this season. Chris spent last season on our practice roster last season learning the indoor game. From Washington, DC, Gill is quite literally HUGE, he came to camp larger than he was last season and showed us what a monster he can be on the defensive end. This is a player that might challenge Sims and Carlson for pure speed.
These 21 players along with our stand-out goaltenders, Nash and Levis, showed in camp why the 2008 Mammoth will be a contender once again. We feel that we have made upgrades at every position and while we are dissappointed with the loss of some very beloved players from last season, we can't help but be very excited about our prospects for the upcoming year.
As I said before, I have great trust in Coach McMahon and his systems, he has selected a fantastic team and the chemistry has already begun to gel among the entire group. I am confident that the faceoff question will be a non issue come Dec. 29.
Sorry for the long post but I thought this would be a great time to talk about the entire team.