Quinlan shoulders a little lighter

JASON HILLS, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:09 AM ET

Jimmy Quinlan won't have the pressure of being the Edmonton Rush's saviour this season.

After posting back-to-back seasons where he recorded over 50 points for his hometown team, the pressure will no longer be solely on his shoulders.

"When I came here last year, I saw that Jimmy was his own worst enemy. He took everything real hard," said Rush GM and head coach Bob Hamley.

"Last year, he'd come off the floor and it was like the end of the world, he was banging sticks, yelling and screaming at himself, not having fun. That makes it so much tougher to play.

"The first thing we did this off-season was talk to him about relaxing. We want him to compliment everyone else on the team. He has that supporting cast now that he didn't have in the past."

ONE PLAYOFF GAME

Quinlan has only played one playoff game as he enters his fifth NLL season.

That was back in 2005, when he played for the Toronto Rock. Having not made the playoffs since, it's eating away at the 27-year-old school teacher at Edmonton's Vimy Ridge Academy.

"It's one of those things that if you get to the playoffs in the NLL, you have a chance to win it all. It's frustrating because that is always your goal, and we've yet to taste it," said Quinlan.

"This group of guys are willing to lay it on the line, and they do it with a smile on their face. That makes it nice, but it's always on our minds to get to the playoffs."

The Rush coaching staff gave Quinlan the role of alternate captain last season, and with that came added responsibility.

After the team's struggles last season, it just added more fuel to Quinlan's frustration level.

But while many of his former teammates were traded away, Quinlan has stuck with the Rush's rebuilding plan.

"I am a guy that can get easily frustrated, but I have really been working on that this year," said Quinlan.

"I am a competitive guy and a lot of times that competitive fire can really come out of me, but this season is different. I am really excited about theguys we've brought in."

With the added firepower up front, there is a chance that Quinlan may take a smaller role in the offensive scheme, however with Hamley's 'share the ball' philosophy, Quinlan could be in for a career year.

"I don't think too much about that stuff," said Quinlan. "I am happy with my situation. I will do whatever he asks of me.

"You can't say you don't look at the stats because everyone does. My stats may go up or down, we'll see, but if I am just an energy guy I am OK with that. At the end of the day I just have to make good on the chances I do get."

CHANGING THE CULTURE

Hamley has stressed since the final buzzer went on their disappointing 4-12 season that he was going to change the culture in the dressing room. He's brought in many new faces to try and bring a different feel.

Throughout training camp, he is focusing on team bonding.

"Since Day 1, Bob (Hamley) has preached that you are going to get to know your teammates and you're going to enjoy your teammates, otherwise, you aren't going to be here," said Quinlan, who went bowling at West Edmonton Mall Friday night with all his teammates.

"We're a close team, we've been spending a lot of time together. We've been doing a lot of team-building exercises, we are all getting to know each other every day.

"It's easier to stand and go to bat with one another if you know them more."


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