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Monday Morning… Catch-Up?

So, a lot has happened over the past few days. Let’s recap:

Bills – Three draft picks, including James Hardy, signed on Thursday. Camp opened at St. John Fisher, and now their first pick, CB Leodis McKelvin, signed a five year contract on Sunday.

Sabres – Former Amerks head coach Randy Cunneyworth took a job as an assistant with the Atlanta Thrashers. The list of candidates to lead the Portland Pirates is thinning.

Bandits – Lost defenseman Kyle Laverty in the NLL Expansion Draft. Laverty had been with the Bandits since 2004.

Oh, and there was a little thing called “Fann Cup” that happened this weekend. Post about that most likely coming your way on Tuesday.

To start getting you pumped for football season, here’s a nice little video to help you remember that there was a time when the Patriots could be beaten: Read the rest of this entry

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2008 Fann Cup in Rochester

There’s a special event going on in Rochester this weekend.

The 7th annual Fann Cup is this Saturday at Rochester Sports Garden.

“Win or lose, we drink the booze.” Hard to go wrong with that philosophy, no matter what the game is. Tongue-in-cheek as that motto may be, the Fann Cup that’s descending on Rochester this weekend is all about the fun.

The seventh edition of this non-contact, co-ed indoor lacrosse tournament, featuring fan clubs of various National Lacrosse League teams, is also all about the charity. The event has raised more than $50,000 for designated charities and this year is raising funds for the Finger Lakes Regional Burn Association and the RocE6 Inner City Youth Lacrosse Camp. On Saturday, the tournament kicks off at 8 a.m. and includes teams from Rochester, Toronto, Chicago, Philadelphia and Buffalo.

It’s something really unique that doesn’t happen with other pro sports. You don’t see Sabres and Leafs fans getting together for some street hockey, or Bills fans playing some Dolphins fans in flag football.

Yours truly will be participating for the second year in a row, and I’m sure it’ll be as much fun as last year’s was.

McCready, Bomberry among Bandits left unprotected for NLL Expansion Draft

This week the NLL released the protected lists for the July 24th Expansion Draft. There were some big names left off the list for the reigning World Champion, Buffalo Bandits.

All-Star transition player Pat McCready and sharpshooting forward Cory Bomberry were among the surprises made available by the Bandits. Teams were given the choice to protect 10 runners and 2 goalies or 13 runners and 1 goalie. Bandits GM Darris Kilgour chose to protect both his goalies, Mike Thompson and Ken Montour, who both were key players in the team’s run to the title.

Here are the lists:

Protected Unprotected
Accursi, Mike
Bucktooth, Brett
Dostie, Kevin
Greenhalgh, Sean
Montour, Ken
Powless, Delby
Smith, Billy Dee
Steenhuis, Mark
Tavares, John
Thompson, Mike
Vyse, Roger
White, Chris
Bomberry, Cory
Croswell, Brian
Hill, Clay
Kilgour, Rich*
Kruger, Rusty*
Langdale, Chris*
Laverty, Kyle
Lazore, Andrew
Llord, Ian
McCready, Pat*
Myers, Brian
Sanderson, Phil
Schmelzle, Kyle
Smith, Joe
Squire, Chad
Swamp, Brandon

The Bandits can only lose one player in the expansion draft. Players marked with asterisks are unrestricted free agents, which means Boston would have to designate them as a franchise player or risk losing their rights.

Buffalo can celebrate for once

2008 NLL ChampionsIt’s about damn time.

For those eagerly anticipating this post, and I know there’s a lot of you, sorry for the delay. It’s taken a while to get my thoughts together.

Last night, your Buffalo Bandits defeated the Portland LumberJax, 14-13 to claim the 2008 NLL Champion’s Cup.

Of course, like any Buffalo team, they don’t make it easy for the fans. While the Bandits never trailed, and held the lead the rest of the game after Kevin Dostie scored to take a 3-2 lead just over five minutes in, they never led by more than three, which is considered nerve wracking in the NLL.

When the buzzer sounded, it was the Bandits on top, as the franchise won their fourth NLL Championship, their first title in 12 years.

Read the rest of this entry

Buffalo Bandits: World Champions

Wow.

Full report coming tomorrow.

Game time, baby.

Whose house?Okay, folks. It all comes down to this.

This isn’t gonna be a live blog or anything, but feel free to leave comments during the game.

If you’re not there, you can watch it live via B2 Networks. For a few bucks, you can watch the madness unfold live.

If you’re heading out, you can hear John Gurtler with the call on WGR 550.

Hopefully, I’ll be back tomorrow with a celebratory post.

LET’S GO BANDITS!

…and DOWN the stretch they come!

For those of you who aren’t lacrosse fans, the above picture is like seeing your team’s logos painted in the endzone at the Super Bowl.

The next 24 hours will be anxious waiting for Bandits fans. It’s not every year that your team plays for a title. It’s only been a one year absence in the final for the boys in black and orange, but it’s been twelve years since they’ve claimed the championship. Hell, the Aud was still open.

So, to bide your time, and to get you even more amped up for the game, here are a few items to look over:

Who wants a mohawk?

Darris KilgourThere’s a new hairstyle going around the Bandits’ locker room.

For those who were at the Bandits game last Saturday, a look at the team during the anthems showed more than a few of the guys had decided to sport mohawks for the playoff run. (It’s kind of hard NOT to notice when Billy Dee Smith has one)

Now it looks like it’s a rallying point for the players, thanks in part to head coach Darris Kilgour, who’s not just participating in the effort, but enforcing it.

“Someone just decided they wanted one after one of the games a few weeks ago and it kind of caught on,” Francis said. “Back home our team did it when I was playing in minors, but nothing like this.”

It was Kilgour who decided to take it a step further.

“He wouldn’t even let [Rusty] Kruger practice because he didn’t have one so I just gave him one on the way through today,” Francis said prior to the Bandits’ shoot around on Tuesday. “I kind of like it though… It makes us look mean.” Read the rest of this entry

Tavares, Steenhuis named NLL All-Pro

Johnny... WHO?With the previously mentioned NLL Championship around the corner, a couple of Bandits received a nice little honor today.

All-time leading scorer John Tavares, as well as the recently crowned NLL Transition Player of the Year Mark Steenhuis were named NLL First Team All-Pros.

Tavares, who led the Bandits this season with 87 points, garnered the First Team honor for the 14th time in his career. This is the first time Steenhuis has received this honor, and most likely, not the last time.

Yeah, I guess they’re ok.

+ + + + +

By the way, Rochester jackass John Grant was absent from the first AND second team. He’s probably the most talented player in the league, but it’s nice to see his name nowhere to be found.

Speaking of nowhere to be found… the Rochester Knighthawks in the postseason.

Man, it’s nice to say that.

Title time?

Who\'s house?It’s playoff time in Buffalo.

Really.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, or like the rest of America, ignore pro lacrosse altogether, the Buffalo Bandits beat the New York Titans on Saturday to advance to the NLL Championship.

Thanks to a franchise record seven (7) goals from Mark “Who’s House?” Steenhuis, the Bandits defeated the Titans 19-12 to make their third title game appearance in the last five years.

How many titles did they claim in the previous two showings? 0. What about the time before that, when they hosted in in 1997? Lost to Rochester.

Yes, as hard as it is to believe, it has been 12, count them, twelve years since the Bandits won a championship.

For a championship starved town, having to deal with a drought like this from the Bandits is brutal. While they may not be as “major league” as the Bills or Sabres, being the home of one of the premier teams in the NLL is something to be proud of. For being a lower echelon sport, the Bandits can draw more than many NHL or NBA teams.

There are three banners hanging from the HSBC Arena rafters. The wait for the fourth could end this weekend.

It has been way too long.

Tickets available at Tickets.com. Be there.