The pressure is on a number of young Toronto hopefuls today as the Rock invades Buffalo to take on the Bandits in a pair of scrimmages.
The scrimmages will be the last chance for prospects such as 2005 draft picks Chet Koneczny, Sean Felstead and Tyler Gibbons, as well as free agents Matt Taylor, Andrew Reid, Rob Marshall, Jordan Bosomworth and Jason Henhawk, to make an impression on Rock head coach and general manager Terry Sanderson and the rest of his staff.
"We're putting a lot of stock into how things go," Sanderson said yesterday while heading across the border with his team, the defending National Lacrosse League champion.
"It's hard. We've had some exceptional guys working out here. There's nine guys who we're looking at and four are going to catch. Going into (today), everybody's got a shot."
Sanderson said players who perform well in the first scrimmage will be re-inserted for the second game.
The Rock players and management alike are anxious to get the final roster set.
"Everybody's at the point where they want to know who's on the team so we can start on the team planning and building and special teams and all that," Sanderson said.
Earlier this week, the Rock released veteran defenceman John Rosa. The team also activated Scott Campbell from injured reserve and signed Brad MacDonald to a two-year contract.
Campbell, a defenceman, is expected to add some grit to the Rock roster. Fellow defenceman MacDonald, the former captain of the Junior A Orangeville Northmen, will provide offence from the back end.
Going into the action today, 31 players remain in camp.
Sanderson said decisions on the final round of cuts will be made within the next three or four days.
Under league rules, the 23-man active roster, along with three practice spots, must be finalized by Dec. 13.
The Rock will open its season on Jan. 7 at the Air Canada Centre against the Arizona Sting in a rematch of the 2005 league championship game.