Rush acquire some 'Corporal Punishment'

BRIAN SWANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:32 AM ET

Ryan McNish doesn't care that the Edmonton Rush have lost more than three quarters of their games and have not once qualified for the playoffs since entering the National Lacrosse League three seasons ago.

The club finished at the bottom of the NLL standings and scored the fewest goals in 2008 - so what?

For the newest member of the Rush, that's all in the past.

"We're going to have a great team this year," says McNish, nothing but confidence in his voice. "I think anything less than a championship would be selling ourselves short."

EDMONTONIAN

McNish, who lives in Edmonton, recently signed a two-year contract with the Rush after being acquired via trade. The 27-year-old played the previous four seasons for the Calgary Roughnecks, who compiled a 35-29 record and advanced to two division finals during that span.

"We're really working hard at changing the culture in our dressing room and Ryan will bring a lot of leadership, a lot of aggressiveness on the floor, and gives us that local presence as well, so just a little bit of everything," says Rush coach and general manager Bob Hamley. "We want him to come in and play his game and (help) turn this franchise around."

In 55 career NLL games, McNish's name has appeared far more in the penalty summaries (129 minutes) than the scoring list (eight goals). Without explicitly stating it, the man nicknamed "Corporal Punishment" and "McSquish" knows he'll be something of an enforcer for the Rush.

"First and foremost, I am a defenceman," the six-foot-two, 230-pounder says. "I like to contribute as much as I possibly can. I'm just getting out there doing whatever is asked of me to do. If I need to play solid defence that game, perfect.

"But in situations where the team needs a boost or if somebody's taking liberties on our guys, I just want the coaching staff and the players to know I'll be there to do whatever I need to do to help the team win."

McNish recently began a promising career in financial planning and works part-time as an aviation systems technician at CFB Edmonton. He's also getting married this weekend.

With so much on the go here, he no longer desired traveling south for lacrosse and requested a trade to the Rush.

"Lacrosse is a great sport, I think we have some of the best athletes in the world, but unfortunately we don't make NHL salaries, so sometimes life gets in the way and this was just one of those instances," says McNish, expressing appreciation to Roughnecks management for accommodating his wishes.

"They didn't have to make that move, they could have pretty much told me 'Stay put'. But thankfully they did move me."

DRAFT PICK

The Rush shipped Calgary a 2010 NLL first-round draft pick in exchange for McNish.

"I haven't worked with him, but I've admired him from afar," says Hamley, who coached the Arizona Sting for five seasons before joining the Rush in February.

"Teams that I've had have played against him in the last four years and (for offensive players) Ryan is really tough to play against."

Edmonton has been busy recently, acquiring several NLL veterans including goaltender Chris Levis and defencemen Andrew Biers and Chris McKay.

The team holds training camp in Idaho next month, then opens the season in Calgary Jan. 10.

"I look down the roster, and bringing coach Hamley into the mix, we're going to have a fantastic team," says McNish. "I have all the confidence in the world in the guys."


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