Derek Keenan represents the biggest link between the two best starts in the history of indoor lacrosse.
Keenan was a member of the Buffalo Bandits in 1993, which won all 10 of its games in recording the first and only perfect season in league history. Buffalo won all eight of its regular season games, plus two playoff games.
Now Keenan is the coach and general manager of the Edmonton Rush, which has won its first 10 regular season games. Number 11 on Friday would be a statistical first for the league. Keenan sees some similarities between the two teams.
"They both have the ability to overcome some adversity, and not get rattled when things don't go their way," he said. "The Buffalo team was very much like that. We had a lot of veterans with the mixture of some young guys. These guys here have learned to grow together. ... They have the ability to not look at what happened and find what's next. That's a similarity with the '93 team."
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The Bandits stood pat at the trading deadline on Tuesday. Assistant coach Rich Kilgour said Buffalo wasn't too tempted to make a move.
"We're going pretty well, and the locker room is really good," he said. "Guys really enjoy spending time with each other. When you are 8-2, a lot of things are fun. When you're 2-8, things are not fun. My opinions were asked about a couple of things ... but we decided at this time that no deal blew our socks off. We're ready to go for the second half of the year."
There was only one transaction on a quiet deadline day. Toronto acquired goalie Brandon Miller from Philadelphia for transition player Kyle Belton and a couple of draft choices.
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After Buffalo's game in Edmonton on Friday night, the team heads to Minnesota for a Sunday afternoon date in Minnesota. If the Bandits win both of those games, they would wrap up a playoff spot. It's not certain if just a victory over the Swarm would be enough to get the Bandits into the postseason. Buffalo would have tiebreakers over Minnesota and Philadelphia, but a three- or four-way tie is still possible. The National Lacrosse League is looking into whether there are any scenarios that would leave Buffalo on the outside of the playoffs after a win over Minnesota.
--- Budd Bailey