2012 NLL season

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2012 NLL season
League National Lacrosse League
Sport Indoor lacrosse
Duration January 8, 2012 – May 19, 2012
Number of teams 9
Season MVP John Grant, Jr.
Top scorer John Grant, Jr.
Eastern champions Rochester Knighthawks
  Eastern runners-up Toronto Rock
Western champions Edmonton Rush
  Western runners-up Minnesota Swarm
Finals champions Rochester Knighthawks
  Runners-up Edmonton Rush
Finals MVP Cody Jamieson
NLL seasons

The 2012 National Lacrosse League season, the 26th in the history of the NLL, began on January 8, 2012[1] and ended with the Championship game on May 19, 2012. The Rochester Knighthawks won their third NLL Championship, and first-ever in Rochester, defeating the Edmonton Rush 9-6 in the final game.[2]

Mid-way through the off-season, the Boston Blazers announced that they would not be participating in the 2012 season due to problems in securing a facility in which to play.[3] A dispersal draft was held and Dan Dawson, for the third time in his career, was the first overall pick, heading to the Philadelphia Wings.[4] Kyle Rubisch was taken second by the Edmonton Rush, and the Minnesota Swarm chose Anthony Cosmo and Josh Sanderson with the third and fourth picks. The Swarm immediately traded Sanderson to the Toronto Rock. Casey Powell, after a knee injury in the MLL Championship game, wasn't chosen until the second round when the Rochester Knighthawks took a chance. Powell did not play in 2012 at all.

Both defending division champions got off to rough starts in 2012, as the Toronto Rock lost their first two and the Washington Stealth lost their first three. The Rock recovered and won their next three, eventually finishing atop the East division, but the Stealth had their worst season in franchise history, finishing 4-12 and the only team out of the playoffs. The Buffalo Bandits won their first two games but then went on a franchise-record six-game losing streak, during which head coach and GM Darris Kilgour called the team "stupid" and "pathetic", and said "I totally question the hearts of basically everybody but about four guys on our team".[5] The Bandits won three of their last four games to finish in fourth place in the East and getting a first-round playoff game against the Toronto Rock.

The Colorado Mammoth only won 5 games in 2011 but in 2012, they had surpassed that total before losing a game. The Mammoth began the year winning 6 in a row and finished with an 11-5 record, good for second in the west behind the 12-5 Calgary Roughnecks. Despite having a league-high 12 rookies playing on the roster,[6] the Minnesota Swarm surprised many finishing third with a 9-7 record.

The 2012 season will be known as a record-breaking year in the NLL. John Grant, Jr. was named league MVP for the second time in his career after scoring 116 points, breaking John Tavares' eleven-year-old single-season scoring record. Grant also scored his 500th career goal and 1000th career point during the season. Toronto Rock forward Garrett Billings finished only two points back of Grant but amassed 82 assists, breaking the old record of 74.

Team movement[edit]

The Boston Blazers announced in September 2011 that they would not participate in the 2012 season.[3] A dispersal draft was held on September 9, 2011, as the Philadelphia Wings took Blazers captain and top scorer Dan Dawson first overall.

Final standings[edit]

Reference: [7]

East Division
P Team GP W L PCT GB Home Road GF GA Diff GF/GP GA/GP

1 Toronto Rockxy 16 9 7 .562 0.0 3–5 6–2 198 196 +2 12.38 12.25
2 Rochester Knighthawksx 16 7 9 .438 2.0 5–3 2–6 191 197 -6 11.94 12.31
3 Philadelphia Wingsx 16 7 9 .438 2.0 3–5 4–4 176 207 -31 11.00 12.94
4 Buffalo Banditsx 16 7 9 .438 2.0 4–4 3–5 198 204 -6 12.38 12.75
West Division
P Team GP W L PCT GB Home Road GF GA Diff GF/GP GA/GP

1 Calgary Roughnecksxyz 16 12 4 .750 0.0 5–3 7–1 216 170 +46 13.50 10.62
2 Colorado Mammothx 16 11 5 .688 1.0 5–3 6–2 217 201 +16 13.56 12.56
3 Minnesota Swarmx 16 9 7 .562 3.0 6–2 3–5 202 190 +12 12.62 11.88
4 Edmonton Rushx 16 6 10 .375 6.0 4–4 2–6 167 175 -8 10.44 10.94
5 Washington Stealth 16 4 12 .250 8.0 2–6 2–6 179 204 -25 11.19 12.75

x: Clinched playoff berth; c: Clinched playoff berth by crossing over to another division; y: Clinched division; z: Clinched best regular season record; GP: Games Played
W: Wins; L: Losses; GBGames back; PCT: Win percentage; Home: Record at Home; Road: Record on the Road; GF: Goals scored; GA: Goals allowed
Differential: Difference between goals scored and allowed; GF/GP: Average number of goals scored per game; GA/GP: Average number of goals allowed per game


Divisional Semifinal Divisional Final Champion's Cup Final
E1 Toronto Rock 7
E4 Buffalo Bandits 6
E1 Toronto Rock 13
Eastern Division
E2 Rochester Knighthawks 17
E2 Rochester Knighthawks 14
E3 Philadelphia Wings 13
E2 Rochester Knighthawks 9
W4 Edmonton Rush 6
W1 Calgary Roughnecks 11
W4 Edmonton Rush 19
W3 Minnesota Swarm 3
Western Division
W4 Edmonton Rush 15
W2 Colorado Mammoth 10
W3 Minnesota Swarm 14

Milestones and events[edit]


  • September 1, 2011: The Boston Blazers announced that they would not be participating in the 2012 season.[3]
  • September 23, 2011: The NLL announced that there would be several rule changes for the 2012 season.[8] The major changes were:
    • For major penalties, the team will be short-handed for five minutes or if the opposing team scores three (rather than two) goals.
    • When a team gains possession of the ball in their own end, they now have eight seconds (rather than ten) to get the ball over centre.
    • When the whistle is blown to indicate a loss of possession, the player with the ball must immediately put it on the floor. Throwing it or rolling it away is now a penalty.
    • Goaltender pads will be one inch narrower.
  • October 26, 2011: The playoff format has changed for the 2012 season.[9] Eight teams will still make the playoffs, four from each division, and the single-game elimination format is retained. However, if the fifth-place team in the West Division has a better record than the fourth-place team in the East, the West division team will take its place. This "crossover" rule is already in use in Major League Soccer and the Canadian Football League.
  • November 29, 2011: The NLL announced several more rule changes for the 2012 season:[10]
    • Challenges to on-field calls will be limited to one per team per half
    • The maximum length of a stick is reduced from 46 to 42 inches.
  • The Philadelphia Wings announced that during the February 12 game against the Buffalo Bandits, the Wings players will wear special jerseys with their Twitter user names instead of their last names. The game-worn jerseys will be auctioned off after the game, with the proceeds going to the American Cancer Society.[11]

Regular season[edit]

  • January 21, 2012: John Grant, Jr. became the fifth player in NLL history to score 1000 points with an assist on a Derek Hopcroft goal in Colorado's 13-12 overtime win over the Calgary Roughnecks.[12] Grant started the season with 30 points in three games.
  • January 26, 2012: Toronto Rock captain Colin Doyle suffered a lower body injury early in the Rock's 13-11 defeat of the Knighthawks.[13] The injury kept him out of the lineup during the Rock's game against the Calgary Roughnecks the next night,[14] ending his consecutive game streak at 188 games. Doyle is now tied with Steve Toll for the NLL record.[15]
  • February 13, 2012: The Edmonton Rush traded holdout Athan Iannucci and a second-round draft pick to the Washington Stealth in exchange for Paul Rabil and a first-round pick.[16] Iannucci was acquired from the Philadelphia Wings in the off-season for Brodie Merrill, but never signed with the Rush.
  • February 15, 2012: Five members of the Rochester Knighthawks were suspended indefinitely[17] by the league after a "brawl"[18] at a restaurant in Bloomington, Minnesota. Cody Jamieson, Tyler Burton, Sid Smith, Travis Hill, and Jordan Hall were arrested, charged with various misdemeanors, and released.[18] The suspensions were lifted a week later.[19]
  • February 17, 2012: Former NLL Goaltender of the Year Anthony Cosmo was traded from the Minnesota Swarm to the Buffalo Bandits for first-round draft picks in both 2013 and 2014.[20] Cosmo was selected by the Swarm in the Boston Blazers dispersal draft but had not played with the Swarm.
  • February 22, 2012: The Minnesota Swarm named Associate General Manager Joe Sullivan head coach, replacing Mike Lines.[21] No reason was given for the move.
  • March 2, 2012: John Grant, who reached the 1,000-point milestone earlier in the year, scored his 500th career goal in a 16-13 win over the Buffalo Bandits. Grant became only the third player in NLL history to reach 500 goals, the other two being Gary Gait and John Tavares.[22]
  • March 10, 2012: Shawn Williams became the sixth player in NLL history, and second this season, to reach the 1,000-point plateau as his Edmonton Rush lost 16-9 to the Calgary Roughnecks.[23] Williams joins NLL legends Gary Gait, John Tavares, Colin Doyle, Josh Sanderson, and Williams' former Knighthawk teammate John Grant, Jr., who reached the milestone in January.[12]
  • March 17, 2012: John Tavares scored the game-winning goal in a 13-10 win against the Minnesota Swarm. The goal was Tavares' 1,600th point in his 21-year NLL career.[24]
  • April 7, 2012: Dan Dawson recorded his 75th and 76th assists of the year, breaking the single-season assists record of 74 previously held by Dawson and Josh Sanderson.[25]
  • April 23, 2012: Garrett Billings recorded his 79th assist, surpassing Dan Dawson for the league lead and setting a new mark for assists in a season.[26]
  • April 28, 2012: John Grant set a new single-season scoring record, recording his 116th point with a goal in Colorado's 16–14 loss to the Minnesota Swarm.[27] Grant surpassed the record of 115 points, set by John Tavares in 2001.
  • April 28, 2012: Garrett Billings finished the season with 82 assists, setting the new single-season assist record.[28]

Media Coverage[edit]

Beginning with the 2012 NLL season, U.S. broadcast rights shifted to CBS Sports Network, which carried eight regular season games, all of them live.[29]

A new weekly one-hour radio show called "Toronto Rock Total Access" about the Toronto Rock began on January 2, 2012 on TSN Radio. Rock Communications and Public Relations Coordinator Mike Hancock hosts the show, which airs at 8pm on Monday nights.[30] The Rock also announced that 11 of their games would be televised on TSN or TSN2.[31]

The Edmonton Rush and Calgary Roughnecks announced on January 19, 2012 that their four "Battle of Alberta" games would be televised on Sportsnet.[32]

All-Star game[edit]

The 2012 All-Star Game was held at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo on February 25, 2012.[33] The West came back from a 9-2 deficit in the second quarter to win the game 20-18. The Calgary Roughneck's Geoff Snider was named Game MVP, scoring 4 goals and 2 assists, and winning 22 of 26 faceoffs.[34]

All-Star teams[edit]

Eastern Division starters   Western Division starters
John Tavares, Buffalo John Grant, Jr., Colorado
Cody Jamieson, Rochester Adam Jones, Colorado
Brodie Merrill, Philadelphia Andrew Suitor, Minnesota
Billy Dee Smith, Buffalo Rory Smith, Colorado
Pat McCready, Rochester * Kyle Rubisch, Edmonton
Mike Thompson, Buffalo (goalie) Chris Levis, Colorado (goalie)
Eastern Division reserves Western Division reserves
Luke Wiles, Buffalo Gavin Prout, Colorado
Dan Dawson, Philadelphia Rhys Duch, Washington *
Garrett Billings, Toronto Ryan Benesch, Minnesota
Kevin Crowley, Philadelphia Callum Crawford, Minnesota
Josh Sanderson, Toronto Shawn Williams, Edmonton
Colin Doyle, Toronto * Jeff Shattler, Calgary
Johnny Powless, Rochester Geoff Snider, Calgary
Max Seibald, Philadelphia Curtis Manning, Calgary
Chris White, Buffalo Paul Rabil, Washington **
Sandy Chapman, Toronto Jordan MacIntosh, Minnesota
Mike Kirk, Rochester Chris Corbeil, Edmonton *
Matt Roik, Toronto (goalie) Aaron Bold, Edmonton (goalie)
Scott Self, Buffalo (replacing Doyle) Lewis Ratcliff, Washington (replacing Duch)
Mike Accursi (replacing McCready) Matt Beers (replacing Corbeil)

* - Not playing due to injury
** - Not playing due to holdout status



Award Winner Team
Most Valuable Player John Grant, Jr.[35] Colorado Mammoth
Goaltender of the Year Mike Poulin[36] Calgary Roughnecks
Defensive Player of the Year Kyle Rubisch[37] Edmonton Rush
Transition Player of the Year Andrew Suitor[38] Minnesota Swarm
Rookie of the Year Adam Jones[39] Colorado Mammoth
Sportsmanship Award Johnny Powless[40] Rochester Knighthawks
GM of the Year John Arlotta[41] Minnesota Swarm
Les Bartley Award Joe Sullivan[42] Minnesota Swarm
Executive of the Year Award Andy Arlotta[43] Minnesota Swarm
Tom Borrelli Award Jake Elliott[44] Minnesota Swarm

All-Pro teams[edit]

First Team

Second Team

All-Rookie team[edit]

  • Adam Jones, Colorado
  • Kevin Crowley, Philadelphia
  • Jordan MacIntosh, Minnesota
  • Evan Kirk, Minnesota
  • Johnny Powless, Rochester
  • Stephen Keogh, Rochester

Weekly awards[edit]

The NLL gives out awards weekly for the best offensive player, best transition player, best defensive player, and best rookie. The "Best Overall Player" award is no longer being given out.

Month Week Offensive Defensive Transition Rookie
January 1 Dane Dobbie Curtis Manning Geoff Snider Jesse Gamble
2 John Grant, Jr. Mike Thompson Jordan Hall Kevin Crowley
3 John Grant, Jr. Brandon Miller Brodie Merrill Adam Jones
4 Josh Sanderson Aaron Bold Andrew Suitor Jordan MacIntosh
February 5 Rhys Duch Matt Roik Paul Rabil Johnny Powless
6 Dan Dawson Tyler Carlson Brodie Merrill Evan Kirk
7 Dan Dawson Pat McCready Geoff Snider Kevin Crowley
8 Kasey Beirnes Kyle Rubisch Geoff Snider Evan Kirk
March 9 John Grant, Jr. Kevin Croswell Andrew Suitor Derek Hopcroft
10 Shawn Evans Tyler Richards Peter McFetridge Adam Jones
11 John Tavares Scott Self Mark Steenhuis Kevin Crowley
12 John Grant, Jr. Nick Rose Brodie Merrill Adam Jones
13 Garrett Billings Evan Kirk Geoff Snider Jamie Lincoln
April 14 Shawn Evans Anthony Cosmo Tyler Hass Johnny Powless
15 Stephan Leblanc Kyle Rubisch Jordan MacIntosh Johnny Powless
16 Rhys Duch Frankie Scigliano Mark Steenhuis Jay Card
17 Lewis Ratcliff Matt Vinc Jordan MacIntosh Stephen Keogh

Monthly awards[edit]

Awards are also given out monthly for the best overall player and best rookie.

Month Overall Rookie
January John Grant, Jr. Adam Jones
February John Grant, Jr. Evan Kirk
March Garrett Billings
John Grant, Jr.
Adam Jones
April Garrett Billings Jordan MacIntosh

Statistics leaders[edit]

Bold numbers indicate new single-season records. Italics indicate tied single-season records.

Stat Player Team Total
Goals John Grant, Jr. Colorado 50
Assists Garrett Billings Toronto 82
Points John Grant, Jr. Colorado 116
Penalty Minutes Andrew Suitor Minnesota 74
Shots on Goal Lewis Ratcliff Washington 195
Loose Balls Geoff Snider Calgary 232
Save Pct Evan Kirk Minnesota .807
GAA Evan Kirk Minnesota 9.81

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2012 season to open on January 8". NLL.com. September 12, 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-05. 
  2. ^ Stamp, Stephen (May 20, 2012). "Knighthawks ride Matt Vinc and second-half surge to Champions Cup title, plus the links". ILIndoor.com. Retrieved May 20, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c Jenner, Teddy (September 1, 2011). "Boston Blazers will not take the rug in 2012". ILIndoor.com. Retrieved 2011-09-06. 
  4. ^ Chavez, Bob (September 9, 2011). "NLL Dispersal Draft: Philadelphia takes Dawson with No. 1 pick; Sanderson traded to Toronto; Casey Powell to Rochester". ILIndoor.com. Retrieved May 5, 2012. 
  5. ^ Ingemi, Marisa (March 28, 2012). "Darris Kilgour: Bandits Are Pathetic". In Lax We Trust. Retrieved May 5, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Swarm looking to end regular season with four straight wins". Minnesota Swarm website. April 28, 2012. Retrieved May 5, 2012. 
  7. ^ "National Lacrosse League - 2012 Regular Season - Standings". NLL.com. Retrieved May 3, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Rule changes for 2012 season announced". NLL.com. September 23, 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-05. 
  9. ^ "2012 playoffs format announced". NLL.com. October 26, 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-05. 
  10. ^ "Changes to replay challenge rules". NLL.com. November 29, 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-29. 
  12. ^ a b Nikulin, Pol (January 22, 2012). "Colorado completes two-game sweep in Alberta". NLL.com. Retrieved February 8, 2012. 
  13. ^ Millerson, Justin (January 27, 2012). "Friday's action, Rock use late flurry to beat Knighthawks". Retrieved February 8, 2012. 
  14. ^ Nikulin, Pol (January 28, 2012). "Wild game ends with OT winner for Toronto, 14-13 over Calgary". NLL.com. Retrieved February 8, 2012. 
  15. ^ Lefkowitz, Andy (February 1, 2012). "Williams close to record for Consecutive Games Played held by Doyle & Toll". NLL.com. Retrieved February 8, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Rabil & Iannucci moved in West Division blockbuster". February 13, 2012. Archived from the original on December 11, 2013. Retrieved February 13, 2012. 
  17. ^ "League Suspends Five Knighthawks Players Indefinitely". NLL.com. February 15, 2012. Retrieved February 16, 2012. 
  18. ^ a b "Pro lacrosse players, 2 others charged in TGI Friday's brawl near Mall of America". KARE 11 web site. February 15, 2012. Retrieved February 16, 2012. 
  19. ^ "League Reinstates Five Knighthawk Players". NLL.com. February 22, 2012. Retrieved February 23, 2012. 
  20. ^ "Bandits acquire Cosmo from Minnesota". Buffalo Bandits web site. February 17, 2012. Retrieved February 17, 2012. 
  21. ^ "Minnesota Names Joe Sullivan Head Coach". NLL.com. February 22, 2012. Retrieved February 23, 2012. 
  22. ^ Rosenhoch, Alan (March 3, 2012). "Grant hits 500-goal milestone as Mammoth edge Bandits". NLL.com. Retrieved March 13, 2012. 
  23. ^ Galliver, Kyle (March 11, 2012). "Shawn Williams scores 1,000th point but Edmonton falls to Calgary". NLL.com. Retrieved March 13, 2012. 
  24. ^ Frederick, Jace (March 17, 2012). "Buffalo completes much-needed weekend sweep". NLL.com. Retrieved March 17, 2012. 
  25. ^ Lefkowitz, Andy (April 7, 2012). "Bandits rip Wings 17-7 in CBS Sports Network opener". NLL.com. Retrieved April 9, 2012. 
  26. ^ "Billings moves into lead for assists record with 79". NLL.com. April 23, 2012. Retrieved April 29, 2012. 
  27. ^ "BREAKING NEWS: Grant sets new single-season scoring record". NLL.com. April 28, 2012. Retrieved April 29, 2012. 
  28. ^ "Billings sets two scoring records in Rock's 12-11 win over Rush". NLL.com. April 28, 2012. Retrieved April 30, 2012. 
  29. ^ Bailey, Budd (November 14, 2011). "Bandits notebook: New TV package". The Buffalo News. Berkshire Hathaway. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  30. ^ "Toronto Rock Total Access on TSN Radio 1050 Toronto". Toronto Rock web site. December 20, 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-21. 
  31. ^ "TSN to broadcast 11 Toronto Rock games". NLL.com. December 16, 2011. Retrieved 2012-01-19. 
  32. ^ "Rush & Roughnecks announce TV partnership with Sportsnet". NLL.com. January 19, 2012. Retrieved 2012-01-19. 
  33. ^ "Full lineups for NLL All-Star Game announced". NLL.com. February 8, 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-08. 
  34. ^ Rosenhoch, Alan (February 26, 2012). "Calgary's Snider helps West Division end All-Star losing streak". NLL.com. Archived from the original on April 3, 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-26. 
  35. ^ "John Grant Jr. wins Most Valuable Player Award, presented by Reebok Lacrosse". NLL.com. 2012-05-03. Retrieved 2012-05-03. 
  36. ^ "Calgary's Mike Poulin wins Goaltender of the Year". NLL.com. 2012-05-10. Retrieved 2012-05-10. 
  37. ^ "Rush's Rubisch wins Defensive Player of the Year". NLL.com. 2012-05-14. Retrieved 2012-05-14. 
  38. ^ "Swarm's Suitor wins Transition Player of the Year". NLL.com. May 15, 2012. Archived from the original on May 19, 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-15. 
  39. ^ "Adam Jones wins Rookie of the Year Award, presented by Thunder Tribe". NLL.com. May 4, 2012. Retrieved May 4, 2012. 
  40. ^ "Knighthawks rookie Powless wins Sportsmanship Award". NLL.com. May 7, 2012. Archived from the original on June 14, 2012. Retrieved May 7, 2012. 
  41. ^ "Minnesota Swarm's John Arlotta wins General Manager of the Year Award". NLL.com. May 8, 2012. Archived from the original on June 15, 2012. Retrieved May 8, 2012. 
  42. ^ "Swarm's Joe Sullivan wins Bartley Award". NLL.com. May 9, 2012. Archived from the original on May 12, 2012. Retrieved May 9, 2012. 
  43. ^ "Minnesota Swarm's Andy Arlotta wins Executive of the Year Award". NLL.com. June 5, 2012. Retrieved June 6, 2012. [permanent dead link]
  44. ^ "Jake Elliott wins Borrelli Award". NLL.com. June 6, 2012. Retrieved June 6, 2012.