With other teams in the #PlayoffPush series, I’ve had to use terms like “well,” and “among the league leaders” to describe how good they are at throwing a ball into nets using nets at the end of sticks. But with the Rush, I can drop that and use the word “best” to describe the results they have produced on both sides of the ball. And before all of you “well, actually” people jump out and remind me that Saskatechewan is the worst in the league at scoring in 1v1 dodges, yes, you’re right. But, the Rush are the best at using the smallest portion of their possessions there, so they’re the best at avoiding the least efficient scenario.
The real back-breaking area of dominance, though, is in transition. There is not much to break down on the film. Evan Kirk gets saves, subs get on quickly, and the ball flies upfield for easy, uncontested looks on the doorstep. The main difference you will notice in the following series of clips is that the Rush will do anything they can to pass the ball forward. No matter the angle of the throw, the awkwardness of the catch, or how much the hit hurts on the dive, all of the Rush players are willing to do whatever it takes to take advantage of the sliver of opportunity to pass the ball forward. It’s a thing of beauty to watch.
The Rush are the favorites to win the Champion’s Cup this year, but they have been shown to be beatable if the stars align right.