March 10, 2011

NLL: Rush Acquires Sweeney, Blasdell

from press release

EDMONTON, Alberta—Edmonton Rush GM/head coach Derek Keenan announced Thursday that the club has made four roster moves, bringing in two new players and releasing another pair.

Joining the Rush are onetime National Lacrosse League Goaltender of the Year Rob Blasdell along with seven-year veteran transition Kyle Sweeney. Blasdell, a 14-year veteran, is a free-agent signing, while Sweeney was picked up off waivers from the Philadelphia Wings.

To make room for these two new players, the Rush have released defender Bruce Murray and goaltender Brandon Atherton.

"Rob Blasdell is a longtime No. 1 goalie who brings us a lot of experience coming off the bench when needed and he also could get a start in our one remaining back-to-back weekend," noted Keenan.

"Kyle Sweeney is a proven NLL player. We were looking to add more speed on the back end and we immediately jumped on the opportunity when Kyle became available. There were other teams he could have chosen but Kyle picked Edmonton because he likes our up-tempo style of play and the character in the room.

"Our objective is to get into the playoffs and he will be an integral part of giving us an opportunity to make that happen."
Blasdell, a 40-year-old native of Brantford, Ont., sports a career record of 66-45 along with a 12.16 goals-against average and a .753 save-percentage. His best NLL season came in 2002 when he boasted a stellar 13-2 regular-season record and was named the league's top netminder. Blasdell played in the Champion's Cup final on two separate occasions – in 2002 with Albany and again in 2007 with Arizona.

The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder has won eight games three times during a career that saw him suit up with Colorado, Philadelphia, Arizona, San Jose, Albany, and Toronto.

Sweeney spent seven seasons with Philadelphia and collected 27 goals and 66 assists for 93 points plus 619 loose balls in 99 regular-season games. In nine games this season with the Wings, the Springfield, Pennsylvania, product, picked up two goals and 43 loose balls.

The six-foot-two, 190-pounder set a career-high for points with 25 in both 2008 and 2009, and set personal bests for goals (seven) and loose balls (130) during the '09 campaign.

Sweeney, 29, played for Team USA in the 2006 World Lacrosse Championship and again in 2007 at the World Indoor Lacrosse Championship. Prior to turning pro, Sweeney was a three-time All-American at Georgetown University, where he was also named the ECAC's Defender of the Year in 2001 and 2002, and was the conference Rookie of the Year in 2000.

Murray, who was an off-season free-agent signing from Colorado, appeared in 10 games for the Rush and managed three assists and 24 loose balls. Atherton played less than 27 minutes this season but sported a goals-against average of 15.58 and a save-percentage of just .650.

"Change is never easy because it means good guys go out the door," added Keenan. "Brandon and Bruce were both great team players and the organization thanks them for their contributions on and off the floor."

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