February 7, 2011
Merrill to play all-star game
By GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency
EDMONTON - One thing, at least, is certainly going right for the Edmonton Rush this season.
The team’s 0-5 record hasn’t overshadowed the play of team captain Brodie Merrill, who was selected to play in the NLL all-star game Sunday in Verona, N.Y. (noon, VERSUS).
“It’s pretty cool, a pretty nice honour,” said Merrill, who will play in the game for the fifth time in six years.
But it never gets old.
“I don’t think so, especially when you see some of the other players that are recognized,” he said. “I think it’s pretty humbling to be among that group and certainly something I don’t take for granted.
“It’s always a pleasant surprise.”
Especially when it comes at a time when things aren’t going so pleasantly for his team.
The Rush are one loss away from equaling their worst start in franchise history as they prepare to take on the defending champion Washington Stealth in a home-and-away series beginning Friday.
But with the all-star nominations being cast with two-thirds of the season still to play, a lot of the decisions made by the coaches, media and fans relies on last year. And that’s a good thing for Merrill, who is coming off a career-high 53 points with 17 goals and 36 assists on his way to being named the NLL Transition Player of the Year.
“We had a strong year last year and are off to a kind of disappointing start,” Merrill said. “In lacrosse, and in a lot of other sports, it’s based on kind of your reputation not only based on one year but over the course of your career.”
But with things going the way they are with his team, Merrill said it is difficult to think about himself and anything he might have done to earn a right to play in the all-star game.
“When you look at an 0-5 record it can be a bit overwhelming, and I think the first place you always start is you look in the mirror and try to figure out ways that you can be better,” he said. “My goals heading into a season are team-oriented.
“I still think it’s early and there have been some positive signs this year. I know our record hasn’t reflected it but there are some good things we can build off of.”