Features | 2/4/2014 10:00:07 AM | Alex Pagliano
| Derek Suddons (Photo Credit: Bill Wippert)|
Back in November, it looked like Derek Suddons days with the Buffalo Bandits were over.
With the team and the veteran defenseman unable to come to terms on a new contract, Bandits general manager Steve Dietrich released an interesting statement one week into training camp.
“As of now, we have decided to move away from Derek Suddons,” he said. “We made an offer and he’s happy with where he wants to be.”
However, one week later, Suddons reached an agreement on a two-year deal with the team.
“I always separated playing for the team and the contract,” Suddons said. “To be honest, we were not that far apart. I think we reached a deal that worked for both sides. I was just eager to get back.”
Dietrich, who had walked away from the negotiations, said it was all strictly business.
“I do not take any of the contract talks personally,” Dietrich said. “Players are just trying to do the best for themselves. We wanted him back. He’s a veteran. He’s good out on the floor, and he’s a good presence to have in our locker room.”
And Suddons has been a big part of the Bandits success early in the 2014 season.
At 5-1, they sit atop the NLL East standings and look to extend their five-game winning streak in a rematch with the Rochester Knighthawks on Saturday. The game will mark the first time the Bandits travel to Blue Cross Arena this season.
Buffalo previously defeated the Knighthawks 11-10 at home on Jan. 25.
“I think our success has come from a combination of everything,” he said. “When you are winning, things are easy. So after winning a couple of games, we kind of have an expectation of where we end up in our mind and that has helped us.”
The team’s success, according to Suddons, has been built around their willingness to get back to basics in their own end of the floor.
“The last few games, we have been able to pick up on tendencies,” he said. “We have been good at taking away what our opponents want to do.”
On the season, Suddons has recorded one point (0+1).
Since returning to the team, Suddons has understood and accepted his role on the team. At 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, he’s been counted on as a defensive defenseman.
“At the end of the day, it’s great to have transition,” he said. “But, first things first, you need a good defense to get the ball out of your net in order to push the ball.”
However, Suddons has no second thoughts about moving the ball up the floor if the situation calls for it.
“If the opportunity is there to push the ball, I’ll take advantage of that,” he said. “Our coaching staff encourages us to push the ball. We just have to be smart when we push, though.”