Jeff Shattler seems to love the spotlight.
The Saskatchewan Rush forward, who put together two big-time performances in Game 2 and Game 3 of the NLL finals to help lead the Rush to the title, showed up to the postgame press conference to celebrate in style.
As the Rush walked in, captain Chris Corbeil with the trophy, followed by coach Derek Keenan, all eyes turned to Shattler, with a cigar sticking out of his mouth and two Great Western Brewery beers, one in each hand.
“I love the playoff atmosphere,” he said when asked what led to his Game 3 performance.
“My old coach used to tell me that I’m a playoff player. I’ve always liked big games.”
There is no bigger game in the NLL than Game 3 in the league finals. It’s the equivalent to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. It’s winner-takes-all.
But while Shattler was getting a lot of attention after the game, he acknowledged his success is only because of the people around him.
“Great players show what they’ve got in big games. Pick anyone of those guys and give them the MVP,” he said. “It was a team effort. It was an awesome night.”
Shattler is a recent addition to the tight-knit Rush group. He spent the last 11 years with the Calgary Roughnecks, winning the Champion’s Cup in 2009 and MVP honours in 2011.
When he became available in the offseason, Rush coach and GM Derek Keenan knew he had to sign the Toronto-born star.
“He’s a complete player,” Keenan said after Saturday’s win.
“I think we saw his offensive skill –
Rush captain Chris Corbeil interjected, “we were tired of playing against him in Calgary.”
“We had our eye on him from the moment we traded Adam Jones and got some assets for our future. I loved his complete game in terms of his responsibility in transition and unselfish, good (playmaking). We saw in the playoffs his offensive skills that took over the series, especially tonight. Through the entire playoffs he’s been a major, major player for us.”
For Shattler’s part, signing with Saskatchewan was a no-brainer.
“Coming out here was one of the biggest reasons,” he said.
“These guys have proven year in and year out that they can make it to the championship. They’ve won championships. They’re great from top to bottom, coaching staff down. I’m glad they welcomed me into their family. We accomplished a great thing tonight.”