Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 3/10/11
Philadelphia Wings coach John Tucker, whose team is struggling through a 4-7 season in the National Lacrosse League, issued an apology and a clarification after releasing one of the team’s biggest name veterans.
Tucker made the statement after the Wings lost two games last weekend, dropping them further off the pace for an Eastern Division playoff berth with only five games to play. What’s more, several key Wings veterans were left off the roster last weekend and questions have arisen as to whether several veterans have been released.
Wings owner Michael French confirmed today that 7-year veteran defenseman/transition player Kyle Sweeney (Springfield-Delco) has been released and will not return to the club. Sweeney, a member of last summer’s US World championship squad and a 2009 NLL All-Star, is seeking to sign with another team.
Meanwhile, French squelched any rumors that captain Taylor Wray was not with the team. Wray, an assistant coach with the Lehigh men’s program, was unavailable to play Saturday when the Wings fell to the Calgary Rouchnecks due to his obligations with the Mountain Hawks.
Wings coach John Tucker gave this public apology:
Dear Philadelphia Wing Supporters:
I want to thank you for your loyal, loud and proud support of our organization. Collectively, we are extremely disappointed in our 4-7 record and are working harder than ever to make the necessary adjustments to capture a 2011 playoff berth. I feel your pain and frustration as we have fallen short of delivering a consistent product on the floor. Ultimately this responsibility falls on my shoulders. My promise to you is that we will get this corrected. There are two ways of exerting one’s strength; one is pushing down, the other is pulling up… stay with us.
There are plenty of positive signs that have been clouded by our home losses. We are forming a young and talented core group of players that will be the heart of the Wings for years to come. While it may be alarming to see certain “transactions” listed on websites and message boards, they are not always what they appear to be. The shuffling of roster positions is a by-product of many internal and external factors; health, availability and of course performance on the floor to name a few. In many cases, these are only temporary moves designed to create the best possible line-up for a particular game. Our roster flexibility will be more limited after the March 15 trade deadline.
Our Coaching Staff, Management Team, Ownership and Players are fully aligned and the goals we have set as a unit are consistent. Over the next several weeks we will focus on practice and teaching sessions, individual player meetings and team building. In conjunction we one of our sponsors, SugarHouse Casino, we will host a social event on Saturday, March 19. We hope that you will be able to stop by and visit with our staff and players. More information on Sugarhouse will be available soon.
So much time and effort has been invested by all parties including you, our fans. A playoff berth is in our sights. The next game in Rochester on Saturday, March 26 is a critical step. I hope to see you at Sugarhouse as well as back at the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday, April 2 when we host Toronto.