Bruce Urban offered a knee-jerk reaction to his club's 0-3 start.
And the scolding reported in Monday's Sun delivered a message to his team.
But yesterday the owner of the Edmonton Rush moved to play down a potentially sticky situation by saying that a public tongue-lashing of his team's efforts wasn't aimed at GM/head coach Paul Day.
Following Saturday's 12-9 loss to the Calgary Roughnecks, Urban said: "We've proven we can compete, but why do we need to be getting our asses kicked before we dig down deep?"
Yesterday, Urban insisted he's more than happy with the job his GM/head coach is doing. But Day had his own take on the controversy.
"We have an owner who's probably seen four lacrosse games in his life," said Day. "I know what's expected of our guys and what kind of effort they're putting in. The majority of guys on our team have not played many NLL games and experience is a problem. But as a coaching staff we're happy with the effort we're getting."
Urban said he had not spoken to Day in the last few days but was standing behind his coach.
"I'm unhappy with being 0-3 but I'm thrilled with Paul Day," said Urban. "He thinks like a winner and he's building a winning mentality. I believe our record is soon going to catch up with that mentality."
WOULDN'T SHY AWAY
Urban did say he wouldn't shy away from speaking his mind about his team in the future.
"I'm going to tell the truth. If we get beat 15-2 and anyone asks me about the outcome I'm going to say I'm not happy," said Urban. "But I do have more faith in this team now than I did before our first game. We've shown we can compete and that we can win. I'm very confident about that."
The schedule hasn't been in the Rush's favour, with three of their first four games coming against the past two NLL champions, including tomorrow night's test against the surprisingly winless defending champions from Toronto. But with a little more effort and some success on the power play, the Rush could easily have had at least two wins under their belts heading into the meeting with the Rock.
"Bruce wants to win and I want to win, too," said veteran Rush forward Jamey Bowen. "The offensive guys like me are taking the brunt of the criticism and we've got to prove ourselves. There's no better game to show it than this one."
What set Urban off - and has certainly irked Day - has been the lack of a full four quarters of play in each game. The Rush were even 2-2 after the first period with the Roughnecks on Saturday and dominated Calgary 5-1 in the final period. But in between, the Roughnecks ran roughshod over the Rush with seven straight goals and a 9-2 surge over the middle two quarters which gave them an 11-4 cushion.
The same type of lulls dogged them in their first two losses of the season as well. The Rush's three losses have been by a combined six goals and with one coming in overtime.
"We're just not getting out of bed until the fourth quarter," said Rush goalie Pat Campbell. "We hit the snooze button and the alarm isn't ringing."