Powell Bros. to Booth: NLL Weekend Preview
NLL fans miss watching Casey Powell on the floor but the highest scoring American player in NLL history will be returning this weekend, in a broadcast booth, when CBS Sports Network airs the first of its eight live Saturday night games. They'll start out with Philadelphia at Buffalo and finish up with the championship game on Saturday, May 19.
Casey Powell and younger brother Mike Powell are part of the CBS crew. Casey declined to join the Rochester Knighthawks due to teaching commitments at a Florida school after the 'Hawks picked him up in the dispersal draft of Boston Blazers players last year.
''I'm really excited and actually can't believe that I'm going to be representing lacrosse and talking about this great game in a television role,'' he said during the NLL's weekly conference call Wednesday.
Powell said a knee he injured last summer is fine now but he defined the prospect of resuming an indoor playing career as ''uncertain'' right now.
Games This Weekend
(Byes: Colorado and Washington)
Minnesota at Philadelphia
This is the first of two meetings. They square off again in two weeks.
Philadelphia (7-5) is coming off a bye week that followed a 16-15 home loss to Colorado. The Wings have already clinched a playoff spot after being on the outside looking in for three years in a row.
''Our goal at the beginning of the year was to make the playoffs and another one of our goals was to host a playoff game and now the opportunity is right in front of us,'' says GM-coach Johnny Mouradian.
Minnesota (5-7) lost its fourth in a row 9-8 in overtime in Edmonton last weekend. With leading shooter Ryan Benesch out with a concussion, the left side of the offense was weak. His availability in Philly is iffy.
''If he's not 100 percent and ready to go, we're not going to [use Benesch],'' says coach Joe Sullivan.
Rochester at Calgary
These teams haven't met since April 3, 2010, when Calgary won 11-9. This is the first of two 2012 meetings. They go at it again April 14 in Rochester.
Calgary (10-3) ran its winning streak to five with a 13-11 home win over Washington last weekend.
''The character and competitiveness of our players and their ability to control that character and competitiveness is shining through,'' says head coach Dave Pym.
Geoff Snider sat out against Washington and Pym was vague when
asked if the faceoff specialist would be back in. There's a bit of
a flu bug making its way through the roster, he added.
Rochester (5-7) is coming off a second straight loss, 16-12 at home against Colorado.
''It's going to be our biggest test of the year,'' says 'Hawks coach Mike Hasen.
Edmonton at Toronto
This is the first of two meetings. They close out the season
April 28 in Edmonton.
Toronto (6-6) has won two in a row. A fourth-quarter surge lifted the Rock to a 15-9 win in Buffalo last Saturday.
''The last couple of games, the bounces have been coming our way,'' says GM Terry Sanderson. ''If they want to keep coming, we'll keep taking them.''
Shots against are down and Sanderson says the play of new goalie Nick Rose ''has kick-started us in the right direction as far as the defense is supposed to be operating.''
Edmonton (4-7) has also won two in a row -- undefeated since signing Steve Toll -- even though it could not score a goal in the second half on the way to beating Minnesota 9-8 in overtime last weekend.
''I'm surprised with their record because they're a very talented team,'' said Sanderson. ''Why they have only four wins, I don't quite understand. We know we're in for a real tough one Saturday night.''
Philadelphia at Buffalo
Philadelphia has already taken the season series with wins of 13-10 on Jan. 27 and 14-13 on Feb. 12.
The Wings (7-5) look to lock up first in the East in their second game in two nights in the continuing pursuit of landing home playoff games for the first time in 10 years.
The Bandits (4-8) have lost two in a row and are in danger of being the only one of the nine teams to miss the playoffs. They tried to stay positive at practice this week.
''We're going to put the past behind us and concentrate on Philly,'' says assistant coach Derek Graham. ''I'm fully confident if we play 60 minutes of lacrosse we can play with anybody. Unfortunately, we're having trouble filling that 60-minute quota. Mentally, we just can't seem to turn the corner.''
If the team does not finish .500 or better, there's going to be ''a major overhaul'' according to Graham.
Mouradian is leery of approaching a wounded dog.
''Buffalo-Philadelphia has always been a huge rivalry,'' he says. ''The games are always hard-fought and that's what we expect.''