Urban renewal for Rush

Edmonton Rush player Corey Small works around Toronto Rock player Rob Marshall during their game at...

Edmonton Rush player Corey Small works around Toronto Rock player Rob Marshall during their game at Rexall Place in Edmonton on Saturday. (PERRY NELSON/QMI Agency)

CON GRIWKOWSKY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:17 PM ET

EDMONTON - Bruce Urban was absolutely thrilled with what he’d just witnessed.

Put in golfing terms, the owner of the National Lacrosse League’s Edmonton Rush watched his team sink a hole-in-one on the par-4 18th.

The Rush set team records in goals scored (18), first-quarter goals scored (8) and goals scored in a half (12) in Saturday’s 18-14 win over the Toronto Rock.

Worthwhile

In a season where the team sliced many into the bush, the season-ending performance is sure to keep Urban coming back and make his huge investment in the franchise seem worthwhile.

He’s not ready to throw the club away just yet.

“It’s amazing when you focus on using the proper swing and the proper fundamentals — keeping your eye on the ball and not moving your feet — how you can play better,” said Urban, who would like to see his team host a playoff game someday.

If the guy paying the bills had his druthers, he’d like to see more of what he saw Saturday — a fast-break, high-tempo NLL version of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns when Steve Nash was at the top of his game.

“I honestly believe our style as a team is run-and-gun,” said Urban. “We’re probably the most athletic team in the league when it comes to our defence and our tranny (transition) players. (Saturday) we let ’em loose and let ’em show what we’ve got and boy, did they ever show us what they have!

“Guys like Brett Mydske, Bill Greer and Brodie Merrill, Scott Stewart — at the beginning of the season, we thought we had the fastest transition players in the league.

“You can have the fastest thoroughbred horse, but if you don’t let him run, he probably isn’t going to win races. (Saturday), we let our thoroughbreds run ... and that’s the difference I saw.”

It was the type of show that left the players hungry to have another chance to show Urban that this team has a potential it rarely achieved this season.

And, it looked like they had fun in their 18-14 win over Toronto, one of the top teams in the league.

“It’s been kind of an up-and-down season,” said Corey Small, the team’s leading scorer and a rising star in the NLL.

“I know we expected way more of ourselves than we’ve achieved. We’re professionals and we want to play every game as hard as we can.”

Now, the long job of getting everybody in the same groove for the 2012 season begins.

Sure, there’s going to be some off-season changes, and primo faceoff man Pat Jones is talking about retiring.

“We’ve got to look at everything and how we do things,” said head coach Derek Keenan.

“I like the players we have now. We’re young, we’re athletic, we have a lot of skill on offence.”

There won’t be as much hype as the Oilers are getting, but the Rush will land a pretty high draft pick.

“We need to add a little more, though, and I think we can through the draft,” said Keenan.

Copycat

“We need to start doing things a little differently, starting with how we do our training camps. We need to look at our style of play. Lacrosse is like a lot of sports, it’s a copy- cat game. You have to look outside the box, look at new ideas and we’ll do that.”

Just let ’em run ... and stay out of the bushes.

con.griwkowsky@sunmedia.ca


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