Revamped Rush expect playoff push

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:30 AM ET

In baseball, the old cliche is that hope springs eternal.

In the National Lacrosse League, the New Year holds new promise.

The Edmonton Rush open the 2010 NLL campaign with higher expectations after the disappointment of not making the playoffs in the franchise's third season.

The Rush have revamped the lineup heading into the new season under first-year head coach and general manager Derek Keenan.

"Until we start playing games for real we won't know for sure but on paper and what I have seen at camp and the exhibition game with Calgary, I believe we have the ingredients for success," Keenan was quoted on www.edmontonrush.com.

A number of key players have returned to the Rush, including the franchise's all-time leading scorer, Jimmy Quinlan, and team captain Chris McElroy.

Keenan recruited some familiar names who've played for him in the past -- particularly Brodie Merrill. The former NLL and Rookie of the Year is coming off another all-star season while adding the league's Transition Player of the Year to his list of awards.

Another key off-season acquisition is Gavin Prout, the former franchise scoring leader for the Colorado Mammoth and a seven-time NLL all-star. Prout will be joined up front by 2009 first-round pick Corey Small.

"We have four rookies on the roster and I think all will make an impact," said Keenan. "a couple immediate, a couple down the road. It might take a bit of time to mould this team, but I think that process will be quick."

In goal, Matt Disher returns to the Rush where he spent part of the 2008 season. The veteran netminder is coming off his best season where he set career bests in both save-percentage and goals-against average. He'll be backed up by Brandon Atherton.

"I like both of our goalies," said Keenan. "We are big and athletic on the back end, we are skilled and fast in transition and we have skill perimeter presence and experience on offence."

The Rush begin the season in Everett, Wash., on Jan. 15 against the Washington Stealth and then at Colorado the following night to face the Mammoth.

The home opener is on Jan. 23 as the Rush host the Buffalo Bandits with the Calgary Roughnecks in town on Jan. 24.

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ROSTER

N0. Name P B H W

49 Alexander, Bruce D 73 6-5 250

00 Atherton, Brandon G 85 6 190

5 Crashley, Ian D 86 6-4 220

1 Disher, Matt G 76 6-3 240

43 Glaves, Rory D 82 6 195

88 Hawksbee, Ian T 83 6 200

73 Hill, Dean O 84 6-3 225

12 Jones, Pat D 78 6-2 195

15 McElroy, Chris T 82 6-1 185

11 McNish, Ryan D 81 6-2 230

17 Merrill, Brodie T 81 6-4 205

2 Mydske, Brett T 88 6-4 205

19 Norbraten, Justin O 84 6- 190

22 Powell, Ryan O 78 6-1 205

9 Prout, Gavin O 78 5-10 185

81 Quinlan, Jimmy O 81 6- 185

21 Secore, Andy O 84 5-11 195

45 Small, Corey O 87 5-9 180

20 Stevens, Dane O 88 6-4 215

8 Stewart, Scott T 79 6-1 225

7 Suddons, Derek D 78 6-2 210

4 Tinning, Scott O 88 6-1 193

44 Ward, Ryan O 80 5-9 190

Injured Reserved

29 Stobart, Buck D 83 6-4 220

Protected Player

26 Turner, Andrew D 78 6-1 195


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