Reflections Of The NLL’S Very First Season

By FRANK BILOVSKY :

Philadelphia Evening Bulletin Some rambling reflections on the National Lacrosse League’s first season in the wake of the Wings’ regular season clincher.

Bobby Allan definitely deserves to be the Coach of the Year, not just because he brought the Wings home first but the way he did it. The team rallied together after policeman Carm Collins suffered a separated shoulder in mid-July. At the time Collins was hurt, they seemed doomed to finish behind Rochester.

If the vote for Coach of the Year had been taken when Collins was hurt, the choice here would have been Syracuse’s Medo Martinello, who took over a winless team and returned it to respectability.

Rochester coach Morley Kells says that the difference between the regular lacrosse season and the playoffs is exactly the same as the difference between the regular National Hockey League season and the Stanley Cup play. This should work in Philly’s favor. The Wings have the league’s best goalie combination in Wayne Platt and John Hamilton and the best depth in the NLL.

God must have wanted Philadelphia’s sporting fortunes to fly because he gave them Wings.
Wayne Platt should be the All-Star goalie but probably won’t win the MVP award. The vote here goes to Paul Suggate of Maryland. He is unquestionably the most skilled box lacrosse player around. His value to the Arrows is unquestioned. Without Suggate, Maryland might have been looking up at Syracuse…..

Early in the year, some of the Wings’ management and personnel was predicting sellout crowds at the Spectrum by year’s end. It didn’t happen – as it realistically shouldn’t. But Platt has his own feelings about the matter.

“I know in Philadelphia we’ve been accepted,” he says. “I don’t know if lacrosse is going to be the equal of hockey but I think for the summer months it’s going to be the substitute for hockey. I think in three years time we’ll be filling the place like the Flyers do.”

Larry Lloyd scored an open-net from beyond midrink in the title-clincher against Rochester and took a lot of kidding from his teammates. “The line on me is that I never vary the shot, that I always get the top corner. Now on that shot, there I was again – open net and I still hit the top corner.”

Saddest scene in the post-game title celebration was Carm Collins drinking champagne left-handed with his right arm dangling from his healing right shoulder.

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