The Buffalo Bandits will finally kick off their season this weekend. The NLL hosted its second conference call of the year this afternoon where we talked with Assistant Coach Richie Kilgour and forward Tracey Kelusky.
We were given some insights as to what to expect this opening weekend against Philly on the road and Minnesota at home, and both Rich and TK seemed ready to go.
TK kept talking about “taking nothing for granted” and “earning everything. This must be Coach Darris Kilgour’s message to them. In a league with this much parity and a team with this much depth, everything is up for grabs. Eight of the nine teams make the playoffs and there are several players waiting to take a roster spot from someone who isn’t performing up to snuff. I don’t know that I’ve seen a Bandits’ team with more offensive depth.
Richie told us who the captains would be for the 2013 campaign. John Tavares will finally wear the “C” for the Bandits while Scott Self and Shawn Williams will be the assistants.
I asked Rich about the goaltending situation with Mike Thompson retiring, Kurt Wagar earning the back up role and Anthony Cosmo starting. He said he’s excited to see what Cosmo can do coming in off a full camp rather than starting mid season and explained how much better Coz got as the season went on last campaign. When asked about Wagar taking over for Angus Goodleaf Kilgour explained that Wagar “wanted it more” and “showed them more” in camp.
Kilgour also explained that 20 year old Dhane Smith shows a ton of promise and will be utilized in all aspects of the game. Although he’s listed as a forward, he said to expect Dhane to come out both doors throughout the season.
The Bandits certainly hope to come out to another hot start. They started 2-0 last year and then went on a 6 game losing skid. They brought it around to a 7-9 season, but they certainly will want to improve on that. They think they’ve moved in the right direction by becoming “younger and more athletic,” said Rich. Only time will tell.
Both games this weekend can be viewed live on the NLL on Youtube by going to www.youtube.com/TLN or by buying tickets to the Wells Fargo Center on Friday night or to the First Niagara Center Saturday night. The Bandits still have lots of good seats remaining and are offering a family 4 pack deal for Saturday’s home opener.
Steve, a Buffalo native is an avid Buffalo Bandits and NLL Supporter. Follow him on Twitter: @SteveILIndoor.
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