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The Swarm last weekend and maybe later this week

Discussion in 'Georgia Swarm Forum' started by Corporal, Dec 8, 2008.

  1. Corporal

    Corporal Active Member

    The Swarm came to town this weekend with 30 of a scheduled 33 players battling for 23 spots to be determined later this week. This was the last chance for a few players this year to impress a NLL coaching staff to include them on their team. Minnesota Swarm General Manager Marty O’Neill believes fans will see little change from last year’s roster to this year’s when the season opens in Portland on January 3. That may mean around five new players on this year’s roster.

    Pressure, hustle and endurance were preached by the coaching staff all weekend. Everything on defense was emphasizing pressure on the ball on nearly every spot of the floor. If the other team gets the ball off a rebound of their own goaltender or that goaltender makes an outlet pass, there had a better be a player ready to apply pressure. That initial pressure sets up a funnel towards the middle along the boards where the Swarm will try to force the turnover, or at least drain as much of the thirty second shot clock as possible. Pressure defense is a key component to this year’s team.

    All the players should not be surprised that the coaching staff will require them at times to go the extra mile. Throughout the weekend, the coaches had groups of players going a full two minutes or three minutes at a time. Offense and defense, the players had to play both ends and for extended periods of time. This probably won’t happen throughout an entire game but I wouldn’t be surprised if Swarm Head Coach Duane Jacobs leaves out a group of players for a couple minutes at a time if he thinks they can make good things happen.

    No matter how long or short a stint, every player better be hustling or they won’t have to worry about it, since they won’t be playing. A lack of hustle was not tolerated this weekend and if it wasn’t being shown, it definitely drew the quick ire of the staff. If there are players not willing to hustle at all times, the Swarm have the luxury of knowing they have a quality player willing to hustle at all times to replace a player that is not hustling. That is how competitive the third week of camp was for the Swarm.

    A lot of players put their best foot forward this weekend as the roster deadline nears. Many fans and myself were definitely impressed with the speed and the ability to steal balls of rookie Ricky Pages out of The Ohio State. He may definitely be the fastest Swarm player on the team. O’Neill has said that Andrew Watt is the leading candidate to replace Andy Secore and this weekend seemed to confirmed his thinking. Like Craig Point last year, Watt has blended in rather well on offense and gives the appearance of having been a five year NLL vet.

    Dean Hill is looking like a new man this year. The baby fat is gone after an off season of conditioning and weight loss that has turned out a faster, bigger, slimmer and stronger Dean for 2009. Don’t give him an inch on the power play is all I can say. He definitely has the possibility to exceed his 2007 numbers and I think it is expected. Swarm fans will really enjoy having Dan Marohl on the team this year. He looks fantastic and moves so well compared to last year. If he doesn’t get sixty points this year at least, it will only be through an act of God.

    The Swarm goaltending is in very capable hands. We all know about Nick Patterson and Kevin Croswell, but rookies Angus Goodleaf and Bruce Bickford have the potential to have long careers in the NLL if given a chance. Goodleaf and Bickford both got a lot of work this weekend and looked like they could be reliable back ups in the league. Many fans don’t seem to give Goodleaf much credit for what he has done in junior A ball, but I think he will change the minds of many in the future. Bickford looks much more comfortable in net than he did in October. He is making quite an adjustment from outdoor to indoor goaltender and the adjustment is going well. He is well on the way to becoming the leading American indoor goaltender in the game. You really wish he could get some playing time to further develop his skills, which have already grown by leaps and bounds.

    Below are the 33 players who made the cut into last weekend and ranked by position. Other players like Justin Norbraten, Keith Cromwell, Tyler Hass, Ian Rubel will be placed on various protected lists leading up to the roster deadline. It’s just a matter of processing the paperwork with the league. Chad Culp, Darren Halls and Stu Hill were unable visit the Twin Cities this past weekend due to travel issues.

    Goaltenders (4)
    I see Patterson and Croswell as the goaltenders. Both Goodleaf and Bickford could make a case for a third goaltender on the active roster but with the other talent on the roster, I think they stick with the top two.

    1. Nick Patterson
    2. Kevin Croswell
    3. Angus Goodleaf
    4. Bruce Bickford

    Defensemen – Left-Handed (4)
    The four left-handed defensemen are pretty set and four is a number at that position that Marty likes to have on the roster. It’s all about have defensive balance on game day. Kemp is fully recovered from his knee injury according to him and he backed up that assertion.

    1. Ryan Sharp
    2. Noah Talbot
    3. Darren Halls
    4. Riley Kemp

    Defensemen – Right-Handed (11)
    I think the top seven right-handed defensemen are set. Ryan Cousins should be ready for the season opener even with the below the neck injury that sidelined him throughout the weekend. I think there is one more spot open at this position with Pages, Jackson, Price and Zimmerman all in contention. I have Pages being that man but I wouldn’t be surprised if any one of those four grab it. Tate Price, an native Coloradan, is an interesting story in that he played college club ball at Colorado. He then made his way up to British Columbia in 2007 and has learned the indoor game the last two summers up there. Neil Doddridge, the Swarm Director of Scouting, played with him this summer and definitely may have found a hidden gem in Price.

    1. Ryan Cousins
    2. Jon Sullivan
    3. Eric Pacey
    4. Travis Hill
    5. Nick Inch
    6. Joe Cinosky
    7. Colin Achenbach
    8. Ricky Pages
    9. Marc Jackson
    10. Tate Price
    11. Ross Zimmerman

    Forwards – Left-Handed (8)
    This position is the most uncertain right now. Marty was very concerned if he could find five players at this position to even show up to camp but now admits that they have to many quality players here. The top four I believe are in at this time. If the Swarm decide to go with five left-handers that decision will be made between Buchanan, Ross and Favero. I don’t have a good feeling who it will be but out of three, Favero has the ability to run the offense and feed others better than the other two from what I saw, so he may grab that spot.

    1. Chad Culp
    2. Dean Hill
    3. Andrew Watt
    4. Rory McDade
    5. Kevin Buchanan
    6. Kevin Ross
    7. Brad Favero
    8. Justin Haworth

    Forwards – Right-Handed (6)
    The Tough Luck Award in Swarm Training Camp goes to Thomas Michaelsen. Michaelsen looks really good out there and has a bright future if he continues pursuing an indoor career but this position has been locked up since the end of last season. Generally, the Swarm like to have five left-handed forwards and only four righties on the team at any given time, so Michaelsen looks to be the odd man out.

    1. Ryan Ward
    2. Craig Point
    3. Sean Pollock
    4. Dan Marohl
    5. Thomas Michaelsen
    6. Stu Hill

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