GURT'S BLOG: TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE
Blogs | 5/14/2014 2:30:17 PM | John Gurtler

Tick. Tick. Tick. It’s just a matter of time. Why not get it done in 60?

For Game Two of the NLL’s East Division Final this Saturday, break it up into quarters, 10-minute segments or every possession. Anything for the Bandits to focus – and win it in 60.

That’s all it takes.

Then again, if it doesn’t happen – as they say in the airline business, “should the situation occur” – the Bandits get to play a 10-minute mini-game, save any overtime sessions.

But now the game gets very complex, especially the variables and audibles employed in the game system.

Just asking head coach Troy Cordingley about the Knighthawks’ rattlesnake package lost me on the first pick.

“It’s a play done on either side,” explained Cordingley. “They do an up-pick that tries to seal our middle man. The high guy throws it down low and he cuts underneath and goes for a return pass. So we just have to play the wall and not get spread out. We have to know what our assignments are in a situation like that.”

Now that these two teams have met five times this season, there are no secrets, no hidden gun, no formations, schemes or systems unknown.

“They have such a gifted team and they see the floor really well,” said Cordingley.

It’s more to the deep, raw talent this Rochester team has and the breakdown of each player and their tendencies. And that’s where we go to the video tape.

Science!

The Bandits coaching staff will take Saturday’s 12-8 victory game CD and lay an invisible grid over the entire game. They will sort everything from possessions and transitions, to power plays and penalty kills. And then they will take each player, editing each of their actions out on the floor, looking for tendencies, quirks and familiar moves.

Dave Pym, Buffalo’s assistant coach and video coordinator, has already edited sequences of Saturday night’s game (I watched him download the Edmonton game when we were on the bus leaving the arena) and distributed various game sequences to the players.

The NLL has made available the game-breakdown software so every team has an equal approach on the ever-changing use of video and other digital assets.

Buffalo takes advantage of that, and puts their signature on the video package.

Offense and defense have their own video, and opposing player and goaltender segments are distributed to the appropriate team personnel. 

Rochester’s Dan Dawson is one of the most talented playmakers in the league. His assist totals over his career will attest to that, including his three 100-plus point seasons. Like any gifted player, Dawson sees the floor entirely differently and uses his 6-foot-5 frame to his advantage.

The Bandits will have video of every possession Dawson has run in the last five games, all in perfect sequence, so the players can see every move he makes and how he does it – and in slow motion if they want.

For the last couple of weeks, the Bandits have spent a lot of time watching and breaking down the Knighthawks. They have at least eight players that can score at will, led by the amazing and talented Mr. Cody Jamieson.

Their defense collapses in front of goaltender Matt Vinc, allowing him to see the ball and make the save. And once Vinc is positioned and focused, he is very tough to beat.

Again, the Bandits coaching staff has video of every save Vinc has made this year, you can be sure of that. Not to mention an offensive highlight reel of all things Jamieson.

The Knighthawks coaching staff are doing the same exact thing, I am sure equal to the way the Bandits breakdown the video and distribute.

They have their own reel on John Tavares and the rest of the Bandits, in similar fashion. But, really, they have to stop and rewind constantly – like ESPN football analyst Jon Gruden does – just to watch the moves and shots of Tavares.

Saturday night’s four-goal performance by Tavares was simply amazing. The NLL’s all-time playoff scoring leader is a true pleasure to watch.

Speaking of video, if you were at the game Saturday night you probably noticed the video production team between the benches, on the benches, and out on the playing surface at times. This is the same crew from Los Angeles that produced the AT&T U-verse documentary on Tavares earlier this season. If you have not seen it, click here to watch now. You will really enjoy it, very nicely done.

The production team is shooting a sequence on the Bandits and John. They had an all-access pass to Banditland, so it should be pretty cool to watch when it comes out later this summer.

Time is ticking as Saturday’s game day draws near. Head coach Troy Cordingley is keeping his team focused.

“The team is starting to get its swagger back,” said Cordingley. “We want to play an up-tempo game, but our message always is don’t get to high, don’t get to low. Stay even-keeled and remember what made us successful.”

Tick. Tick. Tick. Get it done in 60.

Radio coverage this Saturday from Rochester will once again be on WGR Sports Radio 550 and
WGWE 105.3 FM. Randy Mearns joins me for the pre-game show starting at 7 p.m., and we’ll have all the game action from inside Blue Cross Arena just after 7:30 p.m.

VS.  Rochester Knighthawks
TV: The Lacrosse Network | RADIO: WGR 550/WGWE 105.3FM
 May 17, 2014 - 07:30 PM 1 2 3 4 F
 Buffalo Bandits 4 1 1 2 8
 Rochester Knighthawks 4 6 1 2 13