Accursi wants to help Rush

JASON HILLS -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 2:31 PM ET

Mike Accursi wanted a new challenge.

The 11-year veteran tasted the feeling of winning an NLL championship last season with the Rochester Knighthawks.

As an unrestricted free agent, he could have easily re-signed with the Knighthawks in pursuit of another championship, but he wanted to come to Edmonton.

"I was looking for a change and Edmonton was very high on my list," said Accursi yesterday after the Rush wrapped up their second weekend of training camp.

"This team has all the tools in place and I have known (Rush head coach/GM) Paul Day for a long time. He has a goal to get this team into the playoffs and be a contender."

With the Rush setting their sights on making the playoffs for the first time, bringing in Accursi will definitely strengthen that hope.

He's arguably the Rush's biggest acquisition in the off-season. The Rush were looking for an offensive force and Accursi fits that mould perfectly.

Last season with the Knighthawks he had 26 goals and 51 assists in 16 games on the NLL's highest scoring team.

Accursi is also proven playoff performer. He led the playoff point race with 15 points (11 goals, 4 assists) in three games.

"I have been a pretty consistent scorer throughout my career, but when the playoffs come, I try to bring my game up to a whole new level," said Accursi.

"This team wants to make the playoffs so bad, and I hope to bring my playoff experience and help this team win as much as I can."

With the addition of Accursi as well as Kyle Goundrey, Kevin Olsen, Ben Prepchuk and Steve Hutchins up front, the Rush have added a solid mix with returning forwards Dan Stroup and Rush assistant captain Chris Gill.

"This whole team has a good mix of guys. We are a young team, but the young guys are pushing us older guys and they are hungry to win," said Accursi.

"I have played with (Dan) Stroup before. We like to pick and roll. We have some size, but speed is going to be our biggest threat and when you can put that together we'll be a pretty dangerous team offensively."

After winning an NLL title in 1999 with the Toronto Rock he went to Rochester four years ago in hopes of winning another title. After three straight years of playoff disappointment, the Knighthawks finally won their first title in 10 years.

"My years in Rochester, we were always the favourite to win. (But) we could never get over that hump," said Accursi. "Finally last year we were committed to winning and we didn't worry about ourselves individually. We took care of ourselves as a team."

Accursi has forged many friendships with fellow players over the years.

Off the floor, Accursi is good friends with Stroup, Gill and goaltender Curtis Palidwor. After talking with them during the off-season, he knew Edmonton was where he wanted to play.

"I see a lot of the same traits on this team that I did when I played with Rochester. We have a lot of guys who aren't concerned about scoring three or four goals each or seeing their name in the paper all the time," added Accursi.

"Having players like that who aren't selfish and committed to winning makes you want to play for this team even more."


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