ILIndoor Top 40: Kyle Rubisch #11

There's nothing flashy about the work Kyle Rubisch does on defense, but it's effective. (Photo: Dan Brodie)
There's nothing flashy about the work Kyle Rubisch does on defense, but it's effective. (Photo: Dan Brodie)

Kyle Rubisch does not play the game for individual honors, although he has plenty. And that was before he was named the National Lacrosse League’s Defensive Player of the Year, ILIndoor’s Defensive Player of the Year and got a first-team All-Pro nod for the 2012 season. But if you were to ask Mr. Rubisch what his highlight of the NLL season might be, we reckon he’d point to the Champion’s Cup game in May, which might also be the lowlight of the season. Rubisch and the Rush played for the NLL championship, but lost. And although it’s probably of little consolation to the defender extraordinaire, the Rush aren’t anywhere near that game without the defense he brings.

A classic defender who is so well-versed in the fundamentals, Rubisch led the NLL with an impressive 43 forced turnovers. His 151 loose balls was tops for the Rush and ranked sixth in the NLL. And for good measure, he scored a career high 4 goals with 6 assists for 10 points.

But as we know with defenders, meaningful statistics are hard to come by. Instead, the 6-foot-1 right-hander out of Brampton, Ontario, has made a name for himself as a steady defender who you want marking the opposition’s best. There are no stats to showcase his superb footwork and coordination that combine with his natural quickness to allow for quick recovery on changes of direction. And while his feet are doing the job to keep him in position, his hands and arms are working the stick to throw timely checks, whether they’re for dislodging the ball or perhaps sending a little reminder that passing through the zone won’t come without a price.

The summer of 2012 with his hometown Excelsiors didn’t go as well as the summer of 2011, when the Excels won the Mann Cup. But that doesn’t discount the efforts of Rubisch or anyone else on the team, which had plenty of new faces rolling through the doors, front and back.

But perhaps the No. 1 asset of Rubisch is that no matter where his team is in the standings, at the top, in the middle of the pack, or bringing up the rear, you know where Rubisch and his work ethic will have him. He’ll be right at the front of the line, doing whatever it takes to get the job done.

Fact: In his 2 NLL seasons, the teams Rubisch has played for has ranked No. 1 in fewest goals-allowed (Boston, 155, in 2011) and No. 2 (Edmonton, 175, 2012).

Top 40 (last year’s rank in parenthesis)

No. 40: Jeff Gilbert (not ranked)
No. 39: Kevin Crowley (nr)
No. 38: Kevin Ross (nr)
No. 37: Adam Jones (nr)
No. 36: Jordan MacIntosh (nr)
No. 35: Paul Rabil (30)
No. 34: Tyler Richards (17)
No. 33: Scott Ranger (nr)
No. 32: Chris White (20)
No. 31: Sandy Chapman (15)
No. 30: Aaron Bold (nr)
No. 29: Jeff Moleski (10)
No. 28: Andrew Suitor
No. 27: Ryan Ward (nr)
No. 26: Dane Dobbie (25)
No. 25: Mike Carnegie (31)
No. 24: Stephan Leblanc (26)
No. 23: Josh Sanderson (7)
No. 22: Athan Iannucci (16)
No. 21: Mike Poulin (nr)
No. 20: Gavin Prout (22)
No. 19: Colin Doyle (5)
No. 18: Shawn Evans (33)
No. 17: Geoff Snider (18)
No. 16: Ryan Benesch (13)
No. 15: Brodie Merrill (8)
No. 14: Jeff Shattler (14)
No. 13: Shawn Williams (12)
No. 12: Lewis Ratcliff (6)

Chavez is an avid lacrosse player in Rochester and a journalist for the Democrat and Chronicle as well as a longtime Inside Lacrosse contributor. Email him at bob.chavez@nllinsider.com or go to RochesterSports.com.

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