Monday, August 21, 2017

Schreiber And Currier

If you are like TigerBlog, then you too were much more excited for Saturday night's Major League Lacrosse championship game than you will be for the next Super Bowl.

Also, in another 50 years, the MLL championship game will be bigger than the World Series and Super Bowl combined. Come find TB then and tell him he's wrong if it doesn't quite work out that way.

The game this past Saturday night featured the Ohio Machine and the Denver Outlaws, a rematch of last year's title game. If TigerBlog is correct, then only once in NFL history has there been a Super Bowl rematch, with the same two teams two straight years. Can you name it?

The MLL game Saturday night was a tough one for TigerBlog, since it matched Princeton alum Tom Schreiber (Ohio) against Princeton alum Zach Currier (Denver). Ryan Ambler and Gavin McBride, two other Princeton alums, are on the Denver roster and have contributed in big moments for the Outlaws this season but were not on the active roster for the championship game.

TigerBlog never did figure out which team he was rooting for in the game. He actually wasn't rooting for either.

He was just rooting for Schreiber and Currier.

Both played well.

Schreiber had a goal and three assists, as the Machine scored the final seven goals of the game to win 17-12. Denver had led 10-6 in the third quarter.

Schreiber is on quite a run in the sport. He won his second straight Major League Lacrosse Most Valuable Player Award Friday night, before the championship game. In between, he was the Rookie of the Year in the National Lacrosse League with the Toronto Rock, despite having next to no experience playing indoor box lacrosse before.

There are those who have been saying lately that Schreiber is the best player in the world right now. And not just TigerBlog. Inside Lacrosse, for instance, is another:

"Reign as the greatest player in the world continues." That's pretty good.

Schreiber is completely ambidextrous as a lacrosse player. He's equally adept as a shooter, dodger and feeder, with either hand. He makes everyone around him better. His vision is extraordinary. And he's a middie.

At Princeton he was a three-time first-team All-America. He's the only middie in program history with at least 200 points, which he accomplished with 106 goals and 94 assists.

And now he has a professional championship.

As great as Schreiber is, there is no other player anywhere he plays quite like Currier does. You saw it all spring at Princeton, when Currier did things that no other player in program history ever dreamed of doing - 24 goals, 34 assists, 130 ground balls, team-leader in caused turnovers, 56 percent face-off winning percentage.

And yes, it still bothers TigerBlog that Currier was not first-team All-America. That was a joke back in May when it happened, and it's an even bigger joke now that you've seen how Currier has impacted the Outlaws and Major League Lacrosse.

Actually, scratch that. It's was such a big joke when it happened that it's hard for it to be any bigger now. Of all of the snubs that TigerBlog has ever seen, that one is the worst. 

Currier might not be the best player in the world right now. What he might be, probably is, is the player who can do the most different things well.

Currier had a monster game Saturday night. He finished with a goal - off a ground ball win off a face-off - and added three assists, including a ridiculous 20-yard pass to Michael Bocklett on the far pipe for a goal to put the Outlaws ahead as time expired in the first half.

It's what he did beyond that that separates him from other players. He had three caused turnovers, including two that came after Denver lost face-offs but before Ohio could get settled offensively.

In addition, he also drew at least three penalties from Ohio - one after his goal for a late hit, one in the middle of the field for unnecessary roughness and one on a slash when he was carrying the ball. That's how he is. He is the most relentless player TigerBlog has ever seen, and it eventually just messes with the other team.

He also goes non-stop. He bounced right back from every hit, including some massive ones. Had Denver held on to its lead, he would have had a real case for game MVP honors.

And so it was Schreiber against Currier. Not an easy one for a Princeton fan, or very easy, since both are exceptional to watch. The rematch may come in Israel next year at the World Championships, with Schreiber the American and Currier the Canadian,. Though neither team's roster is yet set, TB has a sense they both have a great chance to be there.

That will be fun also.

Oh, and the trivia question? The only Super Bowl rematch was the Cowboys and Bills, in the early 1990s.

Oh, and enjoy the eclipse.

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