If Toronto Tomahawks’ general manager and coach Jim Bishop had the, opportunity to eliminate any period of time from the National Lacrosse League schedule, he would probably want to completely forget about the last week in June and the first in July.
In the 14-day period between June 22 and July 4, the Tommies posted a dismal record of a single victory against five losses. The tailspin saw the team drop from second spot in the standings, one point behind the first-place Rochester Griffins, into a tie for third with Montreal’s Les Quebecois, seven points out of the NLL’s top spot.
The team’s lethargic defensive play of late included four consecutive losses, two in a row at home. Happily, Tomahawks have put the skids to their losing streak and started the long climb back up the ladder to the top. The Tommies handed the league-leading Griffins a 17- 11 trouncing July 9, which certainly was encouraging not only for the players, but also for the Toronto fans.
There were many factors that contributed to Toronto’s temporary slump, the most apparent being injuries to key personnel. Toronto’s star centre, Duffy McCarthy, out with a pulled groin injury, has made only one brief appearance to date in Tomahawks’ last six games.
Consequently, he has dropped from third in the NLL scoring race to 14th. Center Chuck Li has also missed Tommies’ last five games, with a strained groin, and he no longer remains among the league’s top 15 scorers.
American Tim Havens was knocked out of the Toronto roster with a foot injury, as was Charlie Marlowe (broken finger) and Joe McCrea (strained knee ligaments). A number of other players have been on the limp with minor injuries requiring medical treatment and rest to bring them back to full strength. Bishop, forced by sheer absence in numbers, had to continually juggle his lines, which upset Toronto’s NLL scoring race to 14th.
Bishop, forced by sheer absence in numbers, had to continually juggle his lines, which upset Toronto’s offensive and defensive balances. The lack of able bodies resulted in some new blood being introduced into the line-up. Bill Langley, obtained from Montreal in a recent trade for Sandy Lynch, has tightened up the Tomahawk defence.
Bill Squires, playing coach, of the Ontario Lacrosse Association Senior League Six Nations Braves was outstanding in his one-game appearance, and is expected to see more action as the season progresses. John Sheffield and Peter Graham from the American college ranks were signed and have looked ex- ceptionally strong when inserted in the game.