Rock's Veltman an MVP candidate

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:45 AM ET

When Jim Veltman returns to Toronto for the Rock season finale next Friday, fans might want to salute the captain with a chant of "MVP, MVP." Perhaps that will send a message to National Lacrosse League general managers, who, for one bad reason or another, never have named Veltman the NLL's most valuable player. GM's need to take a hard look at Veltman this season before they do the easy thing and give the NLL's top scorer the MVP award.

"He is the MVP," Rock GM/coach Terry Sanderson said yesterday before flying to Calgary for tonight's nearly meaningless game against the Roughnecks (8-5). "I'm hoping lacrosse people, whoever they may be, will realize this game is not solely won on goals and assists."

Though Veltman has been a consistent force for 12 seasons -- he has been the league's loose ball leader every year he has played -- the seven-time NLL champion is enjoying a banner campaign. He has 58 points with two games left and is just one point shy of his career high, set last season. He has been the NLL player of the week twice this month and has led the Rock (10-4) to eight wins in a row and the East Division title. And Veltman's doing all this while playing out the back door on defence.

"Jim Veltman deserves consideration (for MVP) every year," Colorado Mammoth GM Steve Govett said. "He deserves to win it before he retires."

"You can't measure the leadership he brings," San Jose Stealth GM Johnny Mouradian said. "If he wins MVP, that doesn't even justify what he does."

The Rock needs a miracle to catch Colorado (12-3) for the NLL regular season title and home-floor throughout the playoffs. It would take Rock wins tonight and next Friday against the Rochester Knighthawks, a Colorado loss tomorrow against the last-place Anaheim Storm and a major swing in goal differential -- Toronto is plus-29, Colorado is plus-43. No matter what happens, the Rock will receive a bye to the East final, April 24 or 25 at the Air Canada Centre.


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