Aaron Lommers Herald Writer
2012 Stealth Players
Physically Unable to Perform
2012 Stealth Schedule
Jan. 14Calgary RoughnecksComcast Arena 7:15 p.m.
Jan. 21at Philadelphia Wings Wells Fargo Center4 p.m.
Jan. 28Edmonton RushComcast Arena7:15 p.m.
Feb. 4at Buffalo BanditsFirst Niagara Center4:30 p.m.
Feb. 10Calgary RoughnecksComcast Arena7:45 p.m.
Feb. 18at Rochester KnighthawksBlue Cross Arena4:30 p.m.
Feb. 24Minnesota SwarmComcast Arena7:45 p.m.
March 3at Toronto RockAir Canada Centre4 p.m.
March 10at Colorado MammothPepsi Center6 p.m.
March 11Colorado MammothComcast Arena 4:45 p.m.
March 24at Edmonton RushRexall Place6 p.m.
March 25Minnesota SwarmComcast Arena 4:45 p.m.
March 31at Calgary RoughnecksScotiabank Saddledome6 p.m.
April 14at Minnesota SwarmXcel Energy Center5 p.m.
April 20Toronto RockComcast Arena7:45 p.m.
April 28Buffalo BanditsComcast Arena6:45 p.m.
2012 Season Predictions
1. Washington Stealth
2. Calgary Roughnecks
3. Edmonton Rush
4. Minnesota Swarm
5. Colorado Mammoth
1. Toronto Rock
2. Philadelphia Wings
3. Buffalo Bandits
4. Rochester Knighhawks
West first round: Washington defeats Minnesota, Calgary defeats Edmonton.
East first round: Toronto defeats Rochester, Buffalo defeats Philadelphia.
Western Conference Final: Washington defeats Calgary
Eastern Conference Final: Buffalo defeats Toronto
NLL Champion’s Cup: Washington defeats Buffalo
Explanation: Picking the Stealth and the Rock to play for NLL Championship for a third year in a row was tempting, but I held the Rock out of the championship game because of a few key losses. One would be defenseman Kyle Ross who came to the Stealth via trade and the other being legendary goalkeeper Bob Watson. Matt Roik, the Stealth’s former backup goalkeeper mans the net for the Rock now and he should be up to the challenge, but come playoff time his inexperience in the big games could hurt. Watson leaves some mighty big shoes to fill.
The Stealth should be back at the top of the league with their high-powered offense. But in my opinion, the Stealth’s defense should be getting much of the recognition. When healthy, the Stealth’s defense is one of the best in the league and the addition of Ross makes them even better. The defensive unit is healthy going into this season and goalkeeper Tyler Richards takes over as the team’s unquestioned starter and has proven over the past two seasons that he plays his best in big games. If the Stealth’s defense stays healthy, the Stealth could be looking at another NLL championship.
Elsewhere, Buffalo has the talent to knock off the Rock and I think they will do just that. I have them coming out of the East as the No. 3 seed. Philadelphia will be much improved, especially on the offensive end with the addition of Dan Dawson, Brodie Merrill and No. 1 overall draft pick Kevin Crowley. However, I don’t think that Philadelphia will have the overall experience necessary to make it out of the East.