December 9, 2013

National Lacrosse League 2014 Season Preview

by Neil Stevens |

Neil Stevens' NLL 2014 Season Preview (in projected order of finish)

NLL East Preview

1. Rochester Knighthawks
2. Minnesota Swarm
3. Toronto Rock
4. Buffalo Bandits
5. Philadelphia Wings 

NLL West Division

1. Edmonton Rush
2. Calgary Roughnecks
3. Vancouver Stealth
4. Colorado Mammoth
» Where are the Americans? 

The winds of change blowing through the National Lacrosse League are gaining strength.

The new schedule has grown to 18 games from 16 for each of the nine teams and game-day lineups are being reduced to 18 from 20 players. The roster reductions and the up-tempo push of recent years mean a continuation of the youth movement.

"Speed and athleticism define the NLL player profile more and more," Colorado Mammoth general manager Steve Govett said.

"Everybody is going to have to be a complete player," Philadelphia Wings general manager Johnny Mouradian said. "You're not going to have a guy sitting in the middle of the bench all night or a guy who is just an enforcer."

Six teams, rather than eight, will qualify for the playoffs, and there will be a two-game final rather than a one-game nailbiter to determine a champion.

"I like the fact that fewer teams will make the playoffs because that will make regular season games even more important,"  Edmonton Rush general manager and coach Derek Keenan said.

Rochester will be the team to beat when things kick off Dec. 28. With the goaltending of Matt Vinc, a punishing defense anchored by captain Sid Smith and an offense featuring dynamic forward Cody Jamieson, the Knighthawks have a chance to win the Champion’s Cup for a third consecutive year.

Here’s a team-by-team glance in order of projected finish. Check back here for updated links as Lacrosse Magazine unveils its 2014 NLL season preview.

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