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ON THE 'MARK'-November 19th

Wednesday, November 19th
ON THE 'MARK'-November 19th

“On the ‘Mark’” is BACK!!! For the first time this season, the blog that lays out the thoughts inside the head of Mark Binetti, “Voice of the Rush”, makes its triumphant return. In this week’s edition, Mark talks about transitioning between leagues, the summer that was leading up to this season, and his thoughts on the team through 13 games:

1) Hope all is well in the Black Hills Rush fans! I FINALLY have a moment between road trips to write to all of you. The start to this season has been an absolute madhouse, but it is so refreshing to be back on the hockey grind. Thirteen games down and we have seen some great things come from this Rush club. I’m looking forward to what the remaining 59 games have in store for us all.

2) I know what you’re thinking…“will he talk about the league switch?” Of course I will! They say that “winds of change” have befallen the world of minor-pro hockey. Personally, I think “winds” was an understatement and should therefore be paraphrased to “HURRICANE”. When October 7th rolled around, I had no idea that the amount of craziness we’d all experience as an office staff would be that extreme. Sure, I knew it would be tough to transition very quickly like that, but the new standards we have to uphold as an ECHL franchise, the new regulations, training camp as condensed as it was…when all was said and done though it was totally worth it. We are all very excited about what the future has in store for us as an office and as a club at this level.

3) Speaking of October 7th, how crazy is it that the league transition happened on my one-year anniversary working with the Rush?? I think that’s a great omen when you break it down. I’m hoping my sophomore season will be just as special and magical as the rookie one was, and I am once again truly blessed to be where I am right at this moment. I am in ZERO rush to leave (pardon the pun…ok don’t), and look forward to many more seasons to come.

4) Prior to the league switch and the calamity that ensued, I enjoyed a great summer here in Rapid City and back home in Charlotte. I got to see my family and my closest friends for a week and a half, and even made it down to South Carolina to be a part of a friend’s wedding. Going home reminded me of how much I miss sweet tea and Bojangles chicken strips…and now I’m hungry for some southern cooking…

5) I also want to take this time to thank the organization, the old CHL, and you fans for all of the support and the award I received in this summer’s league meetings. Being named “CHL Rookie of the Year” is something that really shocked me to be honest, and I felt bad when I was told I won it because I didn’t believe the award existed…it’s not every day that a broadcaster gets an award that people generally see awarded to first year players, but I am truly blessed to have received the recognition and I hope to build upon it as my career progresses.

6) As always, Coach Ferras finds a way to piece together an outstanding team. Coach somehow not only finds a great mix of skill to play in his systems, but he finds players that are genuinely great people. The newcomers to the Rush organization truly enjoy playing here in Rapid City, primarily because of YOU Rush fans. It’s because of your craziness, your loyalty, and your passion for the sport they play that they want to come out here in the first place, so thank you for representing us as a fan-base as well as you do.

7) With regards to Coach Ferras, it is such a great sight to see how well he works and interacts with Associate Coach Mark DeSantis. The two of them are basically brothers in my eyes. They have the same mannerisms, at times the same thought process, and are truly a tandem of coaches you don’t want to mess with. It’s hilarious interacting with both of them as well, which has made this season that much more entertaining.

8) Come to think of it, every time I see Desi, he has this big smile on his face. I don’t know if he’s up to no good or if he’s just a really happy guy, but it’s funny to see every day.

9) Unfortunately despite all the positive emotion charged into the early parts of this season, the Rush is currently experiencing a three-game skid. Injuries have not helped this problem, with now four gentlemen occupying the IR list, and a few other players up and down on the reserve list. Coach has found ways to plug these holes and the team is performing admirably, but unfortunately can’t get that extra boost they need to jump back from behind or get out to a fast start. Hopefully that turns around this weekend as they take on the Quad City Mallards.

10) Two players filling these voids due to injury that everyone needs to pay more attention to are Nick McParland and Robin Soudek. Nick is the true definition of a hardworking player, and is starting to utilize his best attributes on the ice. He never gives up on a play, has tremendous skill in the offensive third of the ice, and is really starting to come into his own in Coach’s system. I feel terrible for him, because due to some unfortunate bounces or a couple of post shots, Nick has yet to light the lamp and see the true reward of his hard work. Justin Faryna on the air last weekend in Tulsa said “goals come in bunches”, which I hope will translate to a hat-trick for Nick one of these games. If he keeps up his hard work it will definitely pay off.

11) Robin Soudek on the other hand is exactly as advertised: fast, creative, and tenacious offensively. In 4 games with the Rush, Robin has a goal and 3 assists for 4 points, averaging a point-per-game pace in a Rush uniform. He’s jumped between all lines and his offensive creativity allows him to mesh with anyone on the forward lines if we’re being honest.

12) I got into Robin’s good graces by becoming the first broadcaster in his career to properly pronounce his hometown correctly on the first try. Ceske Budejovice is hometown for the record, and is pronounced “CHESS-ski bood-JOE-vit-zeh”. Try saying that five times fast.

13) I can’t tell you how excited I am to see the power-play unit succeeding as well as it has been in the early stage of this season. I remember last season when the team, no matter how hard they worked for a full two minutes, couldn’t buy a power play goal. Coach DeSantis is doing an incredible job on the man-advantage unit, and I can’t wait to see where the unit’s success takes them as the season progresses.

14) Next week is Thanksgiving, and among the many things I am thankful for in my life, the mainstay is and always will be family for me. Because they missed me last year, my mom, dad, and brother are visiting next week to celebrate the holiday in my apartment. And before you ask, yes, they will come to the games against Brampton next week. My dad was at last year’s preseason tilt with the Cutthroats, and was shocked to see almost 85% capacity for a game that is essentially glorified practice. I can’t wait to see the look on his face when he and my mom see a regular season sellout almost 20 games in.

15) This weekend, the team goes back to the Quad Cities for the second time this season, playing the Mallards on Friday and Saturday. Last time the Rush were there they took 3 out of a possible 4 points, so hopefully they can build upon their last trip to Moline and get some much needed points this weekend. The Rush special teams will be relied upon once again, but being smart in the defensive zone and being relentless in every sense of the game are the other two keys in my book that need to be accomplished if the Rush hope to take any points home with them.

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