‘Bugs Invade Rapid City; Rush Ink Three Players from Last Season’s Championship Squad
(Rapid City, SD) – The Rapid City Rush announced the signing of three former Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs for the 2011-12 season. Joining the squad are forwards Shawn Limpright and Jeff Kyrzakos as well as defenseman Michael Couch. All three were members of last season’s Mudbug squad that claimed the CHL’s Presidents’ Cup with Kyrzakos being named playoff MVP.
“With successful programs and winning traditions, you’re always going lose great players like the Kings, Leblanc's and Menei's,” said Rush Head Coach Joe Ferras. “It's always important to bring in quality people that know what it takes to win. Shawn, Mike and Jeff are proven winners with great character that will continue the winning tradition that our organization has established both on and off the ice.”
Limpright, 30, joins the Rush for his ninth professional season, establishing himself as a team leader and a force at both ends of the ice. Last season, the St. Adolphe, Manitoba native served as an alternate captain and finished 5th on the team with 52 points (20g, 32a) in 57 games. During the playoffs, the 5-11, 185-pound forward finished second on the team with 21 points (9g,12a).
“During the 2010 seven-game Conference Finals series against Bossier, Limpright was a player that was their true leader, a guy that controlled the pace of game, and somebody that we had to focus on,” noted Ferras. “We knew how import he was to their success. With Bossier suspending operations and his wife being from Rapid City, we knew this would be a great fit for both parties. We’re looking for him to bring not only his great leadership, but the tradition of success and winning that he has had throughout his career. Shawn exemplifies the type of players we want in Rapid City.”
In 2009-10, Limpright’s 35 assists and 53 points led the Mudbugs, while he ranked third in goals (18) and penalty minutes (87).
Prior to joining the Bossier, Limpright spent his entire career at the AHL and ECHL levels, pouring in 271 points (94g, 177a) and racking up 944 penalty minutes in 405 games.
Jeff Kyrzakos, a native of Mississauga, Ontario, comes to Rapid City after being named the last season’s CHL Playoff MVP. The 26-year-old veteran forward had a Mudbug record-tying 12 goals and 19 total points in 21 playoff games, including the Presidents’ Cup winning goal in a 2-1 win over Colorado in Game 7.
“Jeff is a prototypical, two-way, power forward,” stated Ferras. “He’s big, skates very well, possesses a great shot, and is not afraid to go into tough areas. Offensively, from blue line in, he is very strong on the boards and in the corners he knows what it takes to get the puck in the net and uses his big body and great hands down low in creating and finishing off scoring opportunities. In his own end, he takes great pride in being very solid defensively and wants to be a player that is coaches rely upon in late stages of games.”
In two seasons with the Mudbugs, Kyrzakos amassed 87 points (42g, 45a) in 110 games. Overall, the 6-2, 195-pound power forward has totaled 89 goals and 106 assists in 306 professional contests.
Kyrzakos attended training camp with the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins prior to his rookie season (2006-07) and spent his first three pro seasons in the ECHL, where he posted a career-high 53 points in 2007-08 with Phoenix and Charlotte.
Finally, the Rush continue to bolster their defensive corps, adding size and shut-down capability with the addition of the 6-4, 220-pound Michael Couch.
“When the season ended, our biggest priority as a coaching staff was trying to retool the back end,” continued Ferras. “We knew we wanted to get stronger, faster and bigger with defensemen that were difficult to play against. Couch fulfills all of these characteristics for us. Early in the summer, we were hoping to get Mike, however, he was considering retirement after winning the Championship last season. We were then fortunate when he contacted us late in the summer. He felt that he wanted to continue playing and be a part of another successful organization, and Rapid City is where he wanted to go. Being a big-bodied defenseman that moves well, we are looking to Mike to be an anchor on our d-corps and the player that shuts down other teams top lines.”
Couch is entering his 6th professional season and finished with 7 points (1g, 6a) and 55 penalty minutes in 54 games with Bossier last season.
In 71 ECHL appearances with the Johnstown Chiefs and Gwinnett Gladiators in 2009-10, Couch scored one goal and assisted on ten others. He also compiled ten fighting majors during the course of the season on his way to 112 total penalty minutes.
Over the prior two seasons, the Hanna, Alberta native totaled 21 points and 168 penalty minutes in 81 games for the ECHL’s Mississippi Sea Wolves before his 2008-09 season was cut short by injury just 15 games in.
He spent his rookie pro season playing overseas in Torino, Italy. In 227 career games, he has totaled 50 points (7g, 43a) and 378 penalty minutes.