To all, welcome into a new year, and just like every January, it is time for the Bandits lacrosse season to start up. In other words, regardless of how the NHL lockout proceedings end, the First Niagara Center shall be filled to watch the beloved Bandits.
The Bandits will be sporting new jerseys this year, after a reign of 10 years with the former jerseys. The new jerseys, as shown in the photo above, are moved towards a new, modern looks, complete with a tramp stamp at the bottom. The shoulder numbers are enclosed within a shield, with the top of shield having a Buffalo wordmark printed on the top.
The Bandits are only returning 12 players from last year, including household names such as John Tavares and Mark Steenhuis, but are missing Mike Thompson(Retirement) and former captain Chris White( Toronto Rock).
The question now becomes, is Anthony Cosmo good enough between the pipes to bring the championship back home to Buffalo. Cosmo had a 3-3 record with the bandits last year, but has not had a winning season since 2010 at 7 W 6L, and his best season in 2009, with a record of 9-5, both with the now defunct Boston Blazers, where he lost to the Bandits in the first round of the playoffs.
Thankfully, the Bandits should have no problem making the playoffs this year, seeing as the NLL is still having the top 8/9 teams make the playoffs, and with the loss of the Dawson brothers to Rochester, the Bandits should have an easy time finishing above the Wings, if nothing else.
My predictions: Bandits will finish the season 3rd in the East, with a record of 6-10. THis year will not bode well for the Bandits, but, the team is young, and, from what I saw at the open practice, holds a lot of talent and will become a powerhouse next year, and for many years to come. The Rochester Knighthawks also became a lot, lot, scarier with the addition of the aforementioned Dawson brothers,and I fully expect, no matter how much it pains me to say it, to win the division, and keep the title in Rochester for another year.
Predictions from Die Piesang:
With a few veterans leaving the team, I’m not too sure how well the Bandits will do this year. The reigning champions, the Rochester Knighthawks, are going to be difficult to beat. I see them having a record of 9-7, giving them the benefit of the doubt that they’ll have a winning record this season with some struggles along the way.
At the very least, the Bandits will give you a chance to come downtown and visit your normal Sabres haunts before the game. While I personally do not expect much from the bandits, they are also a young roster which has the potential to be really, really, good and win the Champions Cup.
Random ending note: The last time that the Knighthawks won the championship was 2007, and that was followed up by a Bandits win in 2008, let us hope it repeats itself.