Working for the Weekend: MLL Week 2 Notes
Some rookies are beginning to matriculate into the MLL, while others, such as Kevin Crowley and Jordan McBride, are held up with visa issues. Several players will also miss MLL play because they'll be with Team USA, Canada or the Iroquois at the FIL World Indoor Championships, which run May 21-28 in Prague.
With the Hamilton Nationals and Chesapeake Bayhawks playing Thursday night, and Denver-Boston and Long Island-Rochester set for Saturday, here's a look at those stories and some other news and notes in advance of Week 2 of the MLL season.
Billy Bitter will be the highest 2011 MLL draft pick to date to make his pro debut when he plays for Denver Saturday against Boston. The now former North Carolina attackman was the No. 3 overall pick in the MLL's preseason rookie draft. With so many regular offensive players out of the Outlaws' lineup due to the FIL World Indoor Championships (Brendan Mundorf, Drew Westervelt, Max Seibald, Bill McGlone, Jarrett Park), Bitter will have immediate opportunities to show his ability.
"I think we're going to see flashes of what he can do in Major League Lacrosse," Denver coach Tom Slate said. "He's going to be an instant impact just with how explosive and tough he is, physically and mentally. We're excited to have him. ... We're going to have to lean on him a little bit. This guy, you almost have to put him in a spot where he likes to be and just kind of get out of his way. That's what we're going to do."
Slate said attackman Connor Martin and midfielder Sean Delaney will also be big factors in the offense this week.
Chesapeake Bayhawks defenseman Kyle Hartzell missed Week 1 of the MLL season because he was still playing with the NLL's Washington Stealth, which lost Sunday in the league championship game. He will play for the Chesapeake Bayhawks Thursday night. Hartzell, a member of the Team USA indoor team, will then leave Friday for Prague and join the U.S. team at the indoor championships.
Outlaws defenseman Eric Martin also just finished his NLL season with the Stealth Sunday. He was originally scheduled to play for Team USA at the world indoor championships, but decided against it, citing too much travel, according to Denver coach Tom Slate. Martin will be in Boston Saturday with the Outlaws.
Scott Rodgers started and played all 60 minutes in goal for the Hamilton Nationals in an 18-10 loss to Denver in Week 1. That was in part because Brett Queener, whose been used as part of a goalie rotation with the Nationals previously, was out with what coach Regy Thorpe called an upper body injury. Queener has been dealing with the undisclosed injury for a few weeks and is unlikely to play Thursday against Chesapeake. Joe Marra, a 2010 Fairfield graduate, is Rodgers' backup.
Ryan Flanagan, the North Carolina defenseman drafted by Hamilton with the No. 7 overall pick, will not play with the Nationals this season due to injury, Thorpe said. Inside Lacrosse first reported that Flanagan would likely be out for the season because of surgeries needed this summer to repair shattered bones in both feet and a sports hernia.
"We would have loved to have Ryan Flanagan playing for us this year, but we understand he's been playing banged up all year," Thorpe said. "We didn't completely know about it, but hopefully he'll be good to go next year."
John Galloway, Midfielder?
Syracuse goaltender John Galloway, the all-time winningest goalie in Division I men's lacrosse, is apparently a heck of a midfielder, Rochester Rattlers coach B.J. O'Hara said. The Rattlers drafted Galloway in the fourth round (No. 20 overall) of the collegiate draft, and he'll have a chance to compete with veteran Mike Gabel for playing time upon becoming pro eligible.
"His numbers have always been strong. His ability out of the cage adds another dimension," O'Hara said of Galloway. "I'm told he can even play midfield. His stick is that good. Obviously we're not going to do that with him, but I've heard some guys say he plays in some men's leagues and tournaments and he's a pretty good offensive player."
Greer to LXM
Zack Greer, a Lizards attackman for the last two seasons, did not sign an MLL contract and is set to play with the LXM Pro Tour. Former Princeton attackman Tommy Davis, an eighth-round pick in the 2010 supplemental draft, has replaced Greer in the Long Island lineup.