It's elementary, Watson

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:23 AM ET

The Toronto Rock wants Bob Watson to make history. If National Lacrosse League coaches and general managers think outside the box, the Rock goalie might just go where no netminder has gone before.

In a season with no clear-cut choice for the league's most valuable player award, Watson has a chance to become the first goalie to be named MVP in NLL history. He's expected to start for the 16th time in as many games today when the first-place Rock (12-3) faces the Calgary Roughnecks (9-6) in the NLL season finale at the Pengrowth Saddledome.

WORTH A LOOK

"I really would look at Bob Watson," said Rock forward Josh Sanderson, another MVP candidate. "In my opinion, he's the choice."

While his numbers are fourth among goalies in the league, Watson anchors the NLL's top defence and has stepped up in the absence of a proven backup 'keeper. Without Watson, the Rock probably wouldn't even be a playoff team.

"I'm voting for Bob," said Anaheim Storm general manager/coach Derek Keenan. "He's had a great year and he's faced a ton of shots."

One also can make good arguments for Rock teammates Colin Doyle, who should be the first Toronto player to win the NLL scoring title, Blaine Manning and Sanderson, who needs two assists to break his own NLL record for assists in a season. The pint-sized Sanderson, in his first year on the team, has made everybody around him better.

"(Sanderson) is the Magic Johnson of lacrosse," Rock forward Nick Trudeau said recently.

Having so many potential MVP possibilities on one team could hurt all of the Rock players' chances. The Buffalo Bandits' John Tavares and goalie Steve Dietrich, the Rochester Knighthawks' John Grant Jr., and the Arizona Sting's Dan Dawson also are in the running.

BRIEFLY

A group from Hamilton is believed to be talking to owners of the dormant Ottawa NLL franchise about the possibility of buying that team and moving it to Copps Coliseum.

NLL commissioner Jim Jennings, however, said he has received no franchise application from Hamilton, which was home to the Rock franchise for one season in 1998 before moving to Toronto.


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