Friday, February 04, 2005

Brendan Shanahan to join National Lacrosse League?

According to the Toronto Sun, Red Wing Brendan Shanahan practiced with the National Lacrosse League's Toronto Rock on Wednesday, and is considering joining the team if this weekend's last ditch effort to save the NHL season falls short. Some trivia is that Shanny was actually a good lacrosse player as a teenager, and played for a Mississauga midget lacrosse team. He is also part owner of the NLL's Rock, along with NHLers Bill Watters (former Maple Leafs GM), Don Cherry, Joe Nieuwendyk, Tie Domi, Bobby Orr, and Darryl Sittler. Interest in the sport runs in the family, as Brian Shanahan, Brendan's brother and lacrosse analyst for Rogers Sportsnet and The Score, helped set up his involvement in the practice:
"I think he wants to see if he could still play. He did all the drills, and I think if the NHL season is cancelled, he'd seriously think about it."
Rock general manager and coach Terry Sanderson on the possibility of signing Shanahan:
"If (the NHL season gets cancelled), you'd have to entertain that. He's a pretty good athlete. I'm not saying it's far fetched, but it's not something on our radar screen right now."
Rock forward Blaine Manning on how Shanny looked in practice:
"He was a pretty good lacrosse player when he was young and he was still pretty sharp catching the ball on the run. He's a good, big athlete and right off the bat, that puts him in a good situation. It probably wouldn't take long for him to adjust to playing defense."

Shanahan has not played competitive lacrosse since he was 16, so this is definitely a long shot:

"One of the Rock players asked when I'd last played and when I told him, he said, 'I was a year old then.' That hurt. But I could be in game shape before the end of the season. Hey, (teammate Chris) Chelios is trying to be an Olympic bobsledder."

Good point, Brendan.

You can recall that Maple Leaf Gary Roberts was selected by the Calgary Roughnecks in the final round of the NLL entry draft in late October. He has yet to join the team, but also played lacrosse as a teen. Other than hosting his hockey summit in December, Brendan has been skating at the London Knights' practice rink and working out at the team's gym facilities. A former Knight (1985-1987), Shanny describes his involvement with the Knights as a sort of "mini-training camp" if he decides to play in Europe. Another surprising revelation for Wings fans is Shanahan's premature talk of retirement (he's 36):
"If the lockout went two years -- and it could -- I might have played my last game in the NHL."
Scary. Having last played in Dusseldorf, Germany during the 1994 lockout, Shanahan mentions Switzerland as one of his first choices of where to play this time around. He shows little interest in the minor leagues, but defended his teammates' decision to join the UHL after UHL veteran Kevin Kerr blasted them for it:
"At least he said in one interview I heard that he didn't have all the facts. Well, he doesn't. I spoke with Draper and Chelios and they agreed to play only if nobody was knocked from the roster. What the guy should have welcomed was the sold-out crowds and media attention (the Red Wingers' presence) will be bringing to the league."
Also worth mentioning is that, if Shanahan did go over to Europe to play, he wouldn't be displacing a North American player, as he can acquire an Irish passport since his parents were born there. Click here for more Shanahan tidbits.


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