Brodie Merrill: Another NLL season comes to an end

Philadelphia Wings captain Brodie Merrill (Philadelphia Wings photo)

Another NLL season comes to an end today. Surprisingly, the playoff picture is not yet set. With the league only having 9 teams, the talent level has never been higher and it is spread pretty evenly across the league. 

Travelling out to Seattle for our final regular season game of the year, it is interesting to reflect on another season. 16 games go quickly, but you experience so much in a short amount of time. The successes and failures seem to be amplified in a year where every game, every play has playoff implications. There could potentially be a 5 way in our standings and with the exception of one or two teams, each team has experienced dramatic swings over the course of the season. Times when teams looked free in the clear and times when teams looked down and out. I was initially opposed to the current playoff system, but in a league so tight, each team feels the anxiety of being "that team.". The team doesn't make the playoffs. It think it has given some teams a false sense of security and others hope, regardless of where they stand in the standings,

 Our team is in an interesting position. We have clinched a playoff spot, but still have a chance to secure a home playoff game. We flew into Philly a little early this week to get a rare full practice in. Having clinched a playoff spot, more so than anything, it is important for us to use this weekend to continue our recent momentum, make improvements, and really try to hit the ground running when we hit the playoffs. For most teams, the systems have been ingrained, "how" you want to play has been established. It really comes down to execution, poise, and being very sharp with the little details and reacting to the challenges that are presented throughout a game.

It has been fun to watch some of our Wings players grow and improve over the course of the season. Guys that are new to the indoor game, becoming more comfortable with every passing game. I think a lot of credit has to go to our defensive coach Thomas Hajek. Thomas, former captain of the Wings, is in his first year as coach. It was an easy transition from player to coach for Thomas, because he was highly respected in our lockerroom. When you play with someone, you really get to know their character, so there was a level of trust that had been established already heading into the season. 

The NLL is a unique league in many ways. The majority of the players have full time jobs and . Trying to balance your career, family, and playing in the NLL is a challenge. I'm sure like many players, I feel like I live a double life, especially not living in my home market. The flights, the travel, time away from work and family, the delays, the training, the injuries, the success and the adversity you face over the course of the regular all is put on the line for one game.

Thanks to the Philadelphia fans for showing great support in our last home game against the Rock. There was definitely a cool energy in the building and we would love the opportunity to have a home playoff game."