Can lacrosse survive in Edmonton?

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 11:20 AM ET

Things to think about after you're done wondering who's the best Nash in Canadian sports today, Rick or Steve:

If I was starting a new lacrosse franchise from scratch, I wouldn't want to be up against Oilers hockey after an 18-month absence (assuming the NHL is back when the NLL starts in January).

And I wouldn't want my second season clashing with the launch of a WHL team, which remains a distinct possibility. But those are the daunting challenges facing Bruce Urban and his NLL expansion team.

True, lacrosse is thriving in Calgary, alongside the NHL and WHL, but the timing in Edmonton is very different. Calgary hadn't won a playoff series since 1989 and was hungry for an alternative when the NLL arrived four years ago. They piggy-backed the Red Mile euphoria to great heights in 2004 and in 2005 the NHL was locked out. They couldn't have scripted it better.

Unless there's a serious backlash against NHLers, conditions won't be half as favourable here. But Urban knows how to sell, has a decent product, an ally in Northlands and enough money to weather a slow start. If any team can survive in a town that seems allergic to new leagues, it's them.

WHAT'S IN A NAME: When naming a sports franchise you should highlight a characteristic of that city. Having lived here all my life, here are a few submissions for Urban's name the team contest. They can forward my prize to the Sun.

Edmonton Mallers (for WEM).

Edmonton Ash (for the smoking bylaw).

Edmonton Bump (for the potholes).

Edmonton Jam (for Whitemud Drive).

Edmonton Traders/Hawks (countless pawn shops).

Edmonton Bullets (drive-by shootings).

Edmonton Zappers (for all the photo radar).

Edmonton Road Block (for all the construction crews).

Edmonton Buzz (mosquito problem).

CANADIAN IDOL: Let's hope ESPN is right about Steve Nash being named NBA MVP. Then again, it's probably a conflict of interest for me to cheer for a short white guy with bad hair ... Speaking of conflicts, TSN analyst-turned Stamps coach-turned TSN analyst again Matt Dunigan will be a ratings bonanza on his first Calgary telecast. Then again, how many times can you listen to a guy say ''Why didn't I think of that?'' ... Baseball commissioner Bud Selig was finally embarrassed into a tougher stance on drugs, but convincing the Players' Association to adopt stiffer penalties won't be as easy. Unions don't shame easily.

FIT TO BE TIED: Tie Domi has every right to be nervous about the state of the CBA. Teams in Europe don't want half their players bolting in mid-season if the lockout is settled, so there won't be nearly as many "out clauses'' in contracts for out-of-work NHLers. Thus, players will be less likely to play in Europe if it means locking in for the whole year. Thus, players are more apt to want hard and fast answers.

CREDIT SCARRED: Let's see, because of reckless overspending in the '80s, the CFL almost died in the '90s, becoming a desperate laughing stock that needed a decade to climb out of the muck. They finally fix the ship and regain some credibility and what happens? They start spending themselves right back into trouble, with Edmonton leading the parade ... And who better to signal the return of the circus than former Shreveport owner Lonnie Glieberman, hovering over the corpse in Ottawa ... Let the Ricky Ray bidding war begin.

AND FINALLY: In case you didn't already know that life isn't fair: Grant Marshall, Jon Klemm, Jay Pandalfo, Greg deVries and Sergei Nemchinov have nine Stanley Cup rings between them, one more than Darryl Sittler, Marcel Dionne, Bobby Orr, Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky.


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