Let’s get something out of the way right away before we continue with this article.
Cooper Rush is tall.
He was six-foot-three in Grade 8 and he’s put on another five inches since. Obviously, it’s a frequent topic of conversation in his life.
“Hi, I’m Cooper Rush.”
So here’s what we’re going to do.
We are not going to talk about how tall Cooper Rush is.
We’re not going to talk about how difficult it is to fit into a Smart Car or drink from a standard-sized water fountain.
(Cooper Rush can scale Mt. Everest in five steps.)
Instead, we will talk about… X-Box 360.
Because all hockey players love X-Box 360!
“I don’t know what it is, but I’m actually not a big X-Box guy,” Rush said. “I was always so bad at it, everyone was always so much better at it than me, that I realized at a young age it wasn’t for me.”
(Cooper Rush makes Zdeno Chara feel small.)
How about music?
“I’m a big music fanatic,” Rush said. “If I’m by myself, I tend to go home, throw on the headphones and see what new music is out there.”
Alright! Music it is!
(Cooper Rush doesn’t know what a ladder is.)
The 19-year-old is a hockey player, so we’re guessing his tastes lean towards Metallica.
Maybe some Offspring or System of a Down.
“I think it’s everything. There’s not one thing I don’t like,” he said. “It’s bizarre, but if I’m in the right mood I can listen to classical for hours.”
Different, but fair enough.
What’s in the iPod before a game?
(Cooper Rush has to watch out for low-flying jets.)
“My parents came last week and dropped off some new headphones, and I had some Kanye West going before the last game,” he said. “And I scored a goal. I’d like to say I’m not superstitious, but I might stick with Kanye for a while now.”
(People bungee jump off of Cooper Rush.)
But there’s got to be a song out there that Rush doesn’t like.
Maybe Lovin’ You by Minnie Riperton or anything by Captain and Tenille?
“I’d have to go with London Bridge by Fergie because when I went to pick up my car yesterday, (Jaret) Babych would not stop playing it,” he said. “If I could pick one song to stuff on a space rocket and never hear again, that’d be it. And I might stuff Babych on the rocket too if he doesn’t stop playing it.”
(Cooper Rush gets great cellphone reception. Everywhere.)
This is great!
So what about on the ice?
Other than the thing we’re not talking about, what will the Ontario native bring to this year’s Chilliwack Chiefs?
Based on the first two games, he can move pretty well for a man his… he can move pretty well.
He also has a very effective point shot.
Not just a slapper.
His goal against Nanaimo was a snap shot — quickly released and in the net before Clippers goalie Jayson Argue could blink.
(Cooper Rush can go end-to-end in two strides)
“I got about 20 games into last season without a goal and I was getting frustrated,” Rush explained. “One of the guys suggested trying a snap shot. Sure enough, I scored the OT winner in the next game and I’ve made that a part of my game since.”
Rush’s defensive game is a work in progress.
That thing we’re not talking about is useful for clogging up shooting lanes and tying up opposing forwards along the boards.
It’s a detriment when he gets Trevor Hills-sized forwards buzzing around his ankles.
“When think I have a small guy contained, they have that ability to take two quick steps and get ahead of me,” he said. “It’s something I’ve got to work on. I’ve got work to do with my positioning.”
Catch Rush and his Chiefs at Saturday night’s official home opener as they host the Surrey Eagles.
Puck drop is 7 p.m.
(Cooper Rush can see Japan).