A superstar is coming to Edmonton

Jason Gregor
July 07 2009 08:54AM

Sorry Oiler fans but it isn’t Dany Heatley, at least not yet, but the Edmonton Rush will have arguably the best lacrosse player in the world on their team today. I know this isn’t hockey related, but Edmonton fans have been dying for a superstar and they’ll get one today.

Brodie Merrill is one of the faces of Lacrosse in the US as Reebok uses him in all of their ads. Merrill is a 6’4”, 215-lb beast. He was transition player of the year in the NLL this past season, has made the all-star team in all four of his seasons, and is easily the best all-around player in the game.

He would be similar to Scott Niedermayer, except he is tough as nails. Merrill can score, runs like a deer and is a great defender.

The Portland Lumberjaxs were rumoured to be relocating to Seattle, but that won’t be happening, and they will fold instead. This means a dispersal draft of their players, and Merrill is their best player. The Rush has the first pick in the draft, and with former Lumberjax coach and GM, Derek Keenan, now the coach and GM of the Rush it’s a lock Merrill will chosen by the Rush.

In the NLL, if a player is based in the west, there’s a better chance he’d rather play in the west division. The season is only four months, and many of the players fly in for games and practices, so if your guys are based out west it is easier and cheaper to get them to Edmonton, than say Toronto or Philly, and it works the same for eastern based guys.

Scott Self was one of the Rush’s best defenders last year, and he’d have lots of cache on the market. With Merrill coming in, I think Self is expendable, because he could land you a proven sniper, something the Rush, just like Oilers, are in dire need of.

Look for the Rush to make a splash today. Keenan knows the Portland players better than anyone, since he coached them the past four years. The Rush clearly needs more offence, but they also need some guys with size. (Another similarity to the Oilers offensive woes.)

Peter Morgan is 6’6” 230 pound forward who has 175 goals in 102 career games. Cory Conway is only 22 years old, has good size at 6’2, and has good speed and a great stick. Ryan Powell led the Lumberjaxs in scoring last year, but he is more of a passer than a finisher. After Keenan takes Merrill at #1 you can bet he will try and trade for a few more picks in the dispersal draft today.

Ryan Benesch is currently leading the OLA (summer lacrosse) in scoring and while he struggled in Edmonton last year, he will be an attractive player to a team like Toronto (2nd pick) Minnesota (3rd pick), Rochester (4th pick), Philly (5th pick) or Minnesota (6th pick).

I can see the Rush trying hard to get three of the first six picks, and Keenan’s fingerprints will be all over this team.

Minnesota has the 3rd and 6th pick, and Self and Benesch would help the Swarm and give the Rush two picks with one trade. This seems like the most likely scenario.

Last year Toronto wanted Self, but the Rush wouldn’t move him, but they might with the 2nd pick.

In the second round if Pat Jones is available Keenan should grab him. Ball possession is vital in lacrosse, but the Rush has never had a decent faceoff man. Jones is consistently around 54% and the Rush could use him.

While the Rush doesn’t come close to garnering the attention of the Oilers, it is fascinating to see the similarities amongst the two. Both need a sniper, more size on offence and both need help on faceoffs.

Both have missed the playoffs the past three seasons and now both will have a new coach this coming season.

The Rush will get their star player today, and how eerie would it be if the Oilers followed suit sometime this summer?

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#101 SquidRx
July 07 2009, 01:03PM
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I see they grabbed Matt Disher in the second round. Is he better since we traded him away last time?

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#102 Heatly
July 07 2009, 01:07PM
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I would like to see a rush game. Anyone know what the cost is....too lazy for searching rush site.

Thanks.

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#103 Jason Gregor
July 07 2009, 01:07PM
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SquidRx wrote:

I see they grabbed Matt Disher in the second round. Is he better since we traded him away last time?

That is a clear case of a coach getting a guy he trusts. Disher played great for him last year, and yesterday on my show Keenan didn't exactly give a ringing endorsement to the current goalies. No surprise he took him.

Teams are already calling Keenan to see if he will deal Merrill...guy has been their property for less than two hours...classic.

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#104 Dave
July 07 2009, 01:09PM
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Heatly wrote:

I would like to see a rush game. Anyone know what the cost is….too lazy for searching rush site. Thanks.

Depends where you sit. They range from $15 to $35 I think. Good value and the game only seems to stop for goals, penalties or fights. It is a quick game. I've been twice and liked it.

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#105 Cam
July 07 2009, 01:21PM
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scorecoff hemmercules wrote:

@ Cam: Did he play or sit on his ass?

over thirty games each season (2 of them), so I think he was an active backup.

Gregor brings up a good point though. There seems to be some teams that take a lot of ex-Oilers compared to the other way around. I wonder how Edmonton compares to other teams with respect to player turnover. I was looking at highlights of '06 and we only have a handful of those players still on the roster from that run.

Horc Hemmer Pisani Moreau Staios

I can't think of anyone else...

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#106 DK0
July 07 2009, 01:28PM
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Man, it's oilers NATION not oilersONLY.com. I definitely have no problem with posts about anything that fans of the Oilers might be interested in. Next time just make the title "RUSH: A SUPERSTAR IS COMING TO EDMONTON" and then you can use ESKS: and CAPS: too for the respective sports. then people who don't care can skip the article. And we can all skip 65 comments of retardedness. Everyone i grew up with that played hockey competitively at all, all played lacrosse in the offseason so I can't see how you could love hockey and hate lacrosse. Lacrosse is like low budget hockey with everything turned to 11. More hitting, more goals, more music, more fights, totally fun to watch. Hockey is still #1 in my eyes but lacrosse is a damn firm 2nd.

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#107 Heatly
July 07 2009, 01:28PM
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@ Dave:

Thanks Dave, I'll have to go check out a game in the future. I've always heard good things about the Rush games.

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#108 Chester Copperpot
July 07 2009, 01:28PM
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@ Cam:

I think player turn over is the curse of the SCF. You make it to the finals and other teams take notice of you players. Next thing you know role players are getting paid way too much.

How many 2004 players from the 2004 Flames are still wearing the C? Carolina's been through an overhall since 2006... This might be a good project for work tomorrow.

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#109 Chester Copperpot
July 07 2009, 01:30PM
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@ DK0:

Your “RUSH: A SUPERSTAR IS COMING TO EDMONTON” headline would make be think that Geddy Lee is coming to Rexal.

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#110 Wanye Gretz
July 07 2009, 01:30PM
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NonMint wrote:

Merrill for Heatley? ZOMG E(5)!

Would they do it!?

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#111 DK0
July 07 2009, 01:32PM
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@ Chester Copperpot: Bahahaha. Touche salesman, touche

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#112 Wanye Gretz
July 07 2009, 01:39PM
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Is it just me or is this Dany Heatley poll getting a little close for comfort. At the start it was 73% no and 27% yes....

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#113 Dominoiler
July 07 2009, 01:43PM
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Not that gregor needs back up... but come on...

How DEAD is the Heatly story (For atleast right now)

Keep chasing your tail around in circles if you like, but to berate gregor for bringing up this story (although it was in foriegn waters, hostile too apparently)... Lame...

Anyways, my impression/vibe was that he was throwing a bone out there (on a dead news day for the oil) for anyone that wanted to be excited about an actual star caliber player coming to town... playing for a team you or I could cheer for... a star player on a local team, oh how many years has it been, that we could actually cheer for...

But.. I guess..

If its not oil, spit it back.. the people have spoken..

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#114 socaldave
July 07 2009, 01:45PM
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@ Wanye Gretz: only because I've voted yes 400 times.

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#115 DK0
July 07 2009, 01:46PM
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Wanye Gretz wrote:

Is it just me or is this Dany Heatley poll getting a little close for comfort. At the start it was 73% no and 27% yes….

That's the Oiler fan's quality selective memory at work. We intentionally ignore negatives of players that are on our team when they are performing well. I certainly don't remember Pronger laying out any devastating illegal elbows while he was an Oiler. The second he was a Duck I was like WTF WHY DOESNT HE EVER GET SUSPENDED?!?! Forgive and forget, as long as we get a cup :P

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#116 Robin Brownlee
July 07 2009, 01:50PM
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IgorUlanov wrote:

You just need to think outside the box. Later, on the way into the shower, you can pretend you got a handsky

I remember Maxim Handsky from the 1967 Czech national team. Handsky was always sort of a third option behind linemates Jiri Pusalaya and Petr Humar, but he could finish.

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#117 SquidRx
July 07 2009, 01:51PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Keenan didn’t exactly give a ringing endorsement to the current goalies

Who can blame him really? Goal was a huge weak spot last season. I checked out his stats and he had a better GAA than anything the Rush threw on the carpet. Not that that would be a difficult feat. Anything on the trade front as you had suggested?

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#118 dyckster
July 07 2009, 01:54PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

I remember Maxim Handsky from the 1967 Czech national team. Handsky was always sort of a third option behind linemates Jiri Pusalaya and Petr Humar, but he could finish.

Awesome...

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#119 Wanye Gretz
July 07 2009, 01:55PM
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socaldave wrote:

@ Wanye Gretz: only because I’ve voted yes 400 times.

So this is YOUR fault.

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#120 ronaldo
July 07 2009, 01:55PM
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@ Robin Brownlee Bahahahahahahahaha!!!

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#121 ronaldo
July 07 2009, 02:06PM
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@ Robin Brownlee Didn't they beat the surprising Polish team, lead by goalie Alexander Reecharoundski?

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#122 Robin Brownlee
July 07 2009, 02:10PM
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ronaldo wrote:

@ Robin Brownlee Didn’t they beat the surprising Polish team, lead by goalie Alexander Reecharoundski?

Yes, and they came from behind.

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#123 blu
July 07 2009, 02:12PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

IgorUlanov wrote: ... Handsky was always sort of a third option behind linemates Jiri Pusalaya and Petr Humar, but he could finish.

win.

Also, I don't think we're disputing who loves what here. Most of the complaints here regarding this article are contextual.

This is a site that by name is for one team, that participates in one sport, with a home base in one city.

Gregor makes a great point about the editor approving it. It could also be argued that it is closely related, being sport as well as local. Sure.

If that is the case, I would want the site to handle it better, rather than just throw it in with the rest. Tagged and collected on a different page perhaps.

If not, Gregor, blog the hell out of this, but maybe don't post it here. Props to your reporting and interviews.

My two cents.

ps. why doesn't alberta have a high speed train yet?

pps. why does bud light still exist?

ppps. holycraprain?

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#124 Curious
July 07 2009, 02:36PM
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awesome day! Its raining plus the Rush get their man! I must admit I am way happier its raining but still.

The guys in the office said Pronger signed a 7 year extention with the Flyers? Cant find it anywhere - dont really know whaere to look. Is it true?

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#125 Jason Gregor
July 07 2009, 02:40PM
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SquidRx wrote:

Jason Gregor wrote: Keenan didn’t exactly give a ringing endorsement to the current goalies Who can blame him really? Goal was a huge weak spot last season. I checked out his stats and he had a better GAA than anything the Rush threw on the carpet. Not that that would be a difficult feat. Anything on the trade front as you had suggested?

They drafted Merrill, then Matt Disher in goal and Pat Jones the faceoff guy.

Then the trade happened between Minnesota.

The Rush sent Benesch, Self and one of their 1st rounders (8th pick) to Minny for Richard Morgan 6"8' transition guy, Scott Stewart a good finisher in transition, right handed forward Ryan Ward and a prospect.

It makes the Rush bigger and quicker and way better in transition which killed them last season. I just spoke to coach Derek Keenan and he is confident that Brodie Merrill is coming here. Keenan will be on the show today at 4:20 if you want to hear what he has to say about the Merrill rumours.

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#126 Peter Pan
July 07 2009, 02:49PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Yes, and they came from behind.

That was a good game. Most guys were pulling for Handsky. He liked to go Fivehole.

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#127 RobInALab
July 07 2009, 03:00PM
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Was that the game where Jiri Pusalaya tried to get into it with Reecharoundski but he was too short handed?

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#128 SquidRx
July 07 2009, 03:06PM
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@ Jason Gregor: I'm tuned into the show already and will definitely stick around to hear the interview. Thanks for the updates JG.

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#129 ronaldo
July 07 2009, 03:06PM
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@ RobInALab Ya, that was the game game. Although the czechs were just happy to have Pusalaya back in play after a week on the DL.

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#130 J.L.
July 07 2009, 03:53PM
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Happy for the Rush. Don't wanna read about it on Oilers Nation. Just sayin'.

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#131 chuck
July 07 2009, 04:46PM
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Thanks Gregor! It is good that there is some news to report in the absence of anything new from the Oilers. Its going to be a long summer, so some local news is appreciated.

You should do write ups on the Rush on a regular basis?

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#132 The Menace
July 07 2009, 05:11PM
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J.L. wrote:

Happy for the Rush. Don’t wanna read about it on Oilers Nation. Just sayin’.

Here's a pro-tip: if you see an article that you don't want to read, click the red "X" button on the top right corner of your browser, and you can skip right past it! ;)

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#133 Harlie
July 07 2009, 05:43PM
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Walter Sobchak: Your wheel! At fifteen m-p-h I roll out! I double back, grab one of 'em and beat it out of him! The uzi! The Dude: Uzi? Walter Sobchak: You didn't think I was rolling out of here naked!

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#134 Archaeologuy
July 07 2009, 06:24PM
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Can we teach him to skate?

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#135 SeanS
July 07 2009, 08:36PM
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WOW... So many fans on here are truly _______. Let your mind wander to what you think you are. Why complain about the article? Did it offend you? Who really cares?

Or was it the fact you spent 5minutes to read today? OUCH I know that is a hard thing for some... Are you upset you had to read or more upset that it was a waste of 5minutes because you dont follow the rush? Are you to dumb to realize that it wasted just as much time commenting about how dumb it is to post rush stuff here? Seriously grow up people... Its JULY and you are bitching about one article about the rush? Am I the only one that thinks this is stupid???

Anyways thanks for the post, I love the rush and have enjoyed going to the games and now that they might be competitive that is pretty exciting...

PS Its hard to find rush news anywhere so the update was actually refreshing.

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#136 J.L.
July 07 2009, 08:40PM
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The Menace wrote:

J.L. wrote: Happy for the Rush. Don’t wanna read about it on Oilers Nation. Just sayin’. Here’s a pro-tip: if you see an article that you don’t want to read, click the red “X” button on the top right corner of your browser, and you can skip right past it!

I love reading the majority of articles on this site. Do I have to agree with every one of them to earn the right to be here? I'm not offending anyone, just putting my two cents out there, for what it's worth. If Oilers Nation doesn't want opinions expressed, they can take down the comments box.

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#137 dunciano
July 07 2009, 10:22PM
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RushNation?

OilersNation

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#138 Chester Copperpot
July 08 2009, 05:08AM
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@ dunciano:

Do all you people who are complaining about Rush coverage on OilerNation get this upset when The EDMONTON Journal or EDMONTON Sun covers news from outside the city?

Just curious?

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#139 The Menace
July 08 2009, 09:19AM
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@ J.L.: No one said they don't want you to express your opinion - you said you didn't want to have to read it here. Just because it appears on the site, Doesn't mean your obliged to read it! I'm not interested in every article either - I'm able to pick and choose the ones that I want to read. The ones that don't pique my interest, I ususally just skip by. :)

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#140 KB
July 08 2009, 09:37AM
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I don't feel it is necessary for people to be upset about a Rush article on an Oilers site. As others have stated, if you don't like it, don't read it.

I don't particularly care for the Rush or lacrosse, but I might start to take an interest if the team/sport got more coverage on sites like this one.

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#141 What’s next? The Valley Zoo? - OilersNation.com
August 05 2009, 10:15AM
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[...] vividly recall the fiasco when Jason Gregor decided to try and expand our minds and talk about a different local team: the Edmonton Rush. We also remember the [...]

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