Rush reloads on road

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:38 AM ET

If home is where the heart is, then the Edmonton Rush should be pumped to start their season off on the road.

With 14 new players on the 23-man roster who have yet to play a home game at Rexall Place, getting the season underway with a road trip is as good an option as any.

The Rush were bombed 15-7 by the Washington Stealth last night in Everett.

Tonight, the team travels to Denver to face the Colorado Mammoth.

"A back-to-back road weekend is kind of a rarity in this league," said Rush head coach Derek Keenan.

"I like it. I like the fact we're going to have everybody there and another opportunity to build the team off the floor, being together on a road trip."

Besides, the 60% of the team that is new will not be missing any sort of familiarity with Rexall Place anyway, right?

"Exactly," Keenan said. "I think this gives us a chance to get out and play real games before we play at home, and hopefully have some success, too, because you can't bury yourself in this league.

"You've got to have some success on the road."

Especially considering six of Edmonton's first nine games of the season are on the road.

Last night was the first time the new Rush head coach saw his team in action since facing the defending NLL champion Calgary Roughnecks in December, which was their only exhibition test.

"We had a couple weeks off for the holidays," Keenan said. "For me, (those) two weeks have been long because we hadn't been together.

"Prior to that, it went by quick because you need to pack things together so tightly (in the preseason) in terms of training camp, we picked our team after two weekends, then you've got an exhibition game where we worked on a few things in our systems.

"But this is really the weekend where we need to finish everything."

The Rush tried to set up an exhibition game earlier this month with the Minnesota Swarm at their practice field in Leduc, but had to cancel at the behest of the league.

"I always kind of look at the glass half full," Keenan said.

"It would have been good to get (more) game competition but at the same time I was pretty nervous about the number of things that we still had to cover in our systems.

"You take the good with the bad. At the same time, we were given more of an opportunity to work on some things."

Tonight's game against Colorado gets underway at 7 p.m. on The Team 1260.

GERRY.MODDEJONGE@SUNMEDIA.CA


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