February 22, 2012

After Trade to Buffalo, Cosmo Can't Wait to Get Back

by Neil Stevens | LaxMagazine.com

Anthony Cosmo, a five-time NLL all-star goalie who played with the Boston Blazers from 2009-2011, didn't report to Minnesota and was traded to the Buffalo Bandits last week. He's ready to return to the floor.
© Larry Palumbo

Anthony Cosmo finally has some lacrosse to play after waiting months to be traded.

The veteran NLL goaltender will be available to make his first appearance in a Buffalo Bandits uniform for a home game against the Colorado Mammoth on March 3. Mike Thompson has been the team's No. 1 goalie and only head coach Darris Kilgour knows who'll get the start, but Cosmo will be happy to be back in the fray regardless.

''I'm excited to be going to battle with Mike,'' Cosmo said during an interview. ''Both of us will push each other to be our best.''

Cosmo, 34, a five-time NLL all-star, participated in his first practice with his new teammates last Saturday night.

''I can see the passion that [head coach] Darris Kilgour has for the sport, and the same with Richie [Kilgour] and the other coaches,'' says Cosmo. ''Even though they're 2-4 right now, and thoughts are a bit low, expectations are still high.

''The guys have welcomed me and I'm really excited to be a part of the organization. From the equipment managers on through the entire staff, it's first class all the way.''

Cosmo hasn't been in a lacrosse game since last September, when he earned MVP honors helping the Brampton Excelsiors win the Canadian amateur championship in Langley, British Columbia. His last NLL game was last May when he was in the Boston Blazers crease for a first-round playoff loss in Buffalo. After Boston folded, Cosmo was selected by Minnesota in a dispersal draft but he opted not to join the Swarm.

''The reason I didn't report was because of family and travel,'' Cosmo said. ''I'm expecting a second child. It wasn't a problem of going to Minnesota but of travelling everywhere else in the West Division. It all came down to family and family came first.''

Buffalo, having lost four in a row, was looking for a boost and acquired him from Minnesota on Feb. 17 for first-round draft picks in 2013 and 2014. It was something for which he'd prepared.

''I'm in real good shape,'' he said. ''I'm itchin' to get back.

''I knew if I was to get back I'd have to be in good shape. I've done lots of yoga and lots of training on my own. The yoga helps my flexibility and posture, and it's a way to keep the body young. I'm also in the gym three times a week.''

He's also a skater in a recreational hockey league in Orangeville, Ontario. He plays defense and Philadelphia Wings goalie Brandon Miller is his blue-line partner. Cosmo also has a fulltime weekday job as an elementary school teacher.

He's long been considered one of the world's top lacrosse goalies.

Cosmo broke into the NLL with Toronto in 2001 and was Bob Watson's backup for 2002 and 2003 championships.

''That was a real close-knit family,'' he said. ''Those were three great years of my life.''

He played for the Stealth from 2005 through 2008 when they were based in San Jose, Calif.

''The travel,'' he replied when asked about his recollections of playing out of California. ''Great guys, too. It was good while I was young but the travel got tiresome pretty quickly.''

He was Boston's No. 1 goalie from 2009 through 2011. His goals-against average was a league-best 9.66 in 2011.

''It was unfortunate that we couldn't keep it going,'' he said of the failed franchise. ''I thought we'd be there longer. We had a great thing going.''

He knew he'd back in the league but wasn't sure with what team.

''It was between Buffalo and Toronto,'' he says. ''But as long as I was going to be in the east, I'd be happy. I'm really excited to be in Buffalo now.''

The contract he signed with Boston expires at season's end and he's hoping to begin contract talks with the Bandits.

''I hope Buffalo will keep me and I continue playing there,'' he said.

He has a difficult time putting into words his desire to be back in action.

''It's indescribable,'' he said. ''The feeling of wanting to play again is deep in the gut and the soul.''

There are certain things he'll be concentrating on as he prepares to re-enter the NLL.

''Positioning and getting used to new equipment, and the speed of the game,'' he said.

He'll also have to get used to using a plastic stick again after relying on a wooden stick last summer.

He'll take care of all that.

Cosmo was asked what surprises him when he looks at the NLL standings.

''Colorado doing as well as it has been doing, and Edmonton doing as poorly as it has been doing,'' he said. ''Both are drastically improved and I'm surprised they've been on such different paths.''

Welcome back, Cos.

Neil Stevens has covered pro and Canadian lacrosse since 1971. He and the late Tom Borrelli -- a longtime Lacrosse Magazine contributor -- are the only media members recognized by the NLL Hall of Fame.

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