Riggers coach welcomes rest

TY PILSON -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:14 AM ET

Calgary Roughnecks head coach Chris Hall doesn't put a lot of stock in the benefits of playoff bye weeks.

The veteran bench boss said there's no clear-cut answer to the question: Is it better to play in the first round and maintain momentum or sit back and rest?

"It depends totally on 20/20 hindsight after your next performance," said Hall, who led the Riggers to the National Lacrosse League West Division title this season and the championship last year.

"If you went back in history, to any sport, you'd probably get a 50/50 split once you shook it all out. If you lose, people use it as a convenient excuse and if you win, people credit that week of rest."

However, given the state of the Roughnecks -- banged-up and bruised from a grinding and injury-plagued regular season -- Hall welcomes some time off this week for his club, which has the first-round bye.

He has given the team the week off from practice and will have two practices next week -- Thursday and next Friday -- before the Riggers host the West Division final April 30 (8 p.m., 'Dome).

"For us, right now, I see it as a huge benefit," said Hall of the 10 days off his club will enjoy dating back from its last game Sunday, a 20-12 win over the Toronto Rock.

"I could see in the win against Toronto, we were exhausted. It's been a long, tough season in many ways for us. We needed this break. I know one thing -- I'm happy we're not playing a playoff game this week."

After losing four players to season-ending knee injuries -- three of them defenders -- the Roughnecks were stretched thin but still managed to battle to a 10-6 record.

"The guys need a rest," said Hall.

"They're tired and they're banged up. We felt it was wiser to give them this weekend off. They'll still be maintaining their physical regimens and training that way but they won't have a hard practice and then a short week until they have to be back here."

The second-seeded Arizona Sting host the No. 3 Colorado Mammoth tonight at the Glendale Arena (8:30 p.m., Ch. 30) with the winner advancing to face the Roughnecks.

Calgary won the season series against both clubs 2-1. Most recently, the Riggers hammered the Sting 17-10 April 3 at the 'Dome.

Hall said he has no preference when it comes to who he'd like to host in the West final.

"They both bring something different," said Hall.

"I don't know if one is more dangerous than the other. So, I really don't have a preference. You have to be ready for either team."


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