Rush's goose egg not exactly golden

SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:18 AM ET

The Edmonton Rush blew it.

Friday's game against the Minnesota Swarm was the golden opportunity to get rid of the goose egg in the win column. Their game faces had been plastered on since practice the night before and game-day shootaround was all business.

Then the house of cards folded.

Can it get worse for the Rush?

Sadly, it can because their schedule has no soft touches on the horizon. Games against Toronto and Calgary finish off February and the first two weekends of March bring two sets of back-to-back contests with only one of the four tilts being at home (and it's against West Division-leading Arizona).

With the Rock coming to town on Saturday, a crowd of more than the 8,745 that showed Friday is expected.

A win over Minnesota would definitely have spiked interest. The Rush had been so close - losing in overtime to San Jose and dropping two games to Calgary by a combined five goals - and a win would have proven that progress is starting to show.

But at 0-5, and even after another narrow defeat, just how much more patience the Edmonton fans have is being tested.

"Edmonton likes a winner and hopefully we're not too far off from providing that," said local product and NLL veteran Kevin Howard. "We are a young team, but we need wins. I think the fans can see the frustration on our faces and I'm sure they're frustrated with us."

The Swarm are certainly no better than San Jose or Calgary and the fight that the Rush's Trent Smalley's had with Ryan Cousins before the face-off should have been built on by the Rush. Several times during the game, they could have sent very physical messages to the Swarm - as in "Don't mess with us tonight."

They didn't need to brawl it up. They just needed to serve a warning. What the Rush did was turn the other cheek. Wrong move.

There's little left to say about the Rush's anemic offence. They missed 20 shots on net and went a dismal 0-for-8 on the power play.

There were a few sparks. Jimmy Quinlan continues a breakout season, Howard's goal was a nifty effort, Cam Bergman made several good runs and Ted Jenner put a beauty behind Swarm goalie Nick Patterson only to have it waved off by a crease infraction.

After that, it was slim pickings.

Paul Day, the Rush's head coach/GM, is trying to find help. But for the good of the team's future he isn't prepared to listen to offers for cornerstones like Quinlan, goalie Pat Campbell or talented defenders Andrew Turner and Rory Glaves.

"If we can get anyone in that room that can make us better ... but the phone's not ringing off the hook," said Day. "They know we're desperate. It is tough when you put yourself in that sort of hole for trades."

No NLL team has ever had a winless season. Syracuse went 1-11 in 2000 and then moved to Ottawa. The next year, Ottawa was 1-13. Two years later, they were out of the league. Anaheim went 1-15 in 2004 - they're essentially the Portland LumberJax now. Last season's worst team was the San Jose Stealth at 4-12.

Right now, four wins looks like an uphill battle for the Rush.


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