Today at 1PM, the National Lacrosse League All Star Game will be broadcast on national television, courtesy of Versus. If you have yet to check out a NLL game, this is your chance to do so from the comfort of your home. While the intensity will mirror that of any other pro-league all-star game, there will still be big hits, and you can get yourself a taste of just what NLL lacrosse is about.
After you watch it, do yourself a favor. Buy tickets to the March 27th Swarm game, and come check them out.
Minnesota Swarm All Stars include:
Ryan Benesch Forward, 1st Appearance, Starter | 49 points (24g, 25a), and 37 loose balls in eight games
Nick Patterson Goalie, 2nd Appearance, Starter | 4-3 record, 10.68 GAA, and .785 SV% in eight games
Callum Crawford Forward, 1st Appearance, Reserve | 36 points (12g, 24a), and 28 loose balls in eight games
Andrew Watt Transition, 1st Appearance, Reserve | 13 points (10g, 3a), and 49 loose balls in eight games
Benesch's 25 goals are currently tied for the league lead, and his 49 points puts him in fourth in the league. Being his first selection to the ASG, plus being a starter, Benesch is humbled saying, "It's a great honor to even be selected, and to be named a starter was an unbelievable feeling. I'm really looking forward to playing with the best players in the game, and getting to meet new people and share stories with some of the other players around the league."
Goalie Nick Patterson is excited to be in his second All Star Game, saying he is "expecting some great shots on net. The players are the best in the league. Every shot is going to be a great one, and a challenge, so you just need to have fun with it." While his numbers may seem gaudy to hockey fans, he ranks fourth in the league in wins, GAA, and SV%. Being the starter will provide a unique experience for him, but he is most excited about seeing the guys. He said he is "looking forward to playing with all the guys I played with in junior or in the minors with. I basically grew up with those guys, and it will be nice to see them again."
While their teammates are starters, keep an eye on Crawford and Watt as well. Both players are more than capable of scoring a goal or making a big play at any time. Watt scored one of the most impressive goals this season against the Boston Blazers, going end to end to score short handed. Crawford has a sick shot, and is not afraid to use it. Both players will see plenty of action in the game.
All Star Games are generally boring, useless wastes of time and space. Having spoken with several die hard lacrosse fans, they assure me that the NLL ASG is not. The scoring will be high, and the physicality a bit reserved, but defense will still be played. It will not exactly resemble a normal game, and yet they gave strong assurances that fans will be entertained.
Tune in, check out NLL lacrosse, and let us know what you think in the comments.
The 2011 NLL All-Star game takes place on Sunday, Feb. 27 at 1 p.m. CT from the Turning Stone Casino Arena in Verona, NY. The game will be nationally televised on VERSUS. The Swarm will be hosting an All-Star party at Cork's Irish Pub in downtown St. Paul, which is located on 175 10th St E inside the Embassy Suites.