Rock in a hard place

SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:22 AM ET

A winless start wasn't what the Rush wanted but it could have been expected out of an inexperienced expansion team.

But the skid the Toronto Rock are on wasn't close to what NLL insiders thought would happen. The defending Champion's Cup winners were thought to be the cream of the crop again in the Eastern Division and a contender for their fourth league title in five years.

"That's been part of the problem," said the Rock's Blaine Manning. "Guys have read those articles and suddenly they're not willing to put in the work that has to be done."

The Rock haven't lost to slouches, dropping two to Buffalo, one to Arizona and another to Rochester. But when you're a favourite, such a start doesn't cut it.

"We've put ourselves in a tough spot," said Rock head coach Terry Sanderson.

"We've still got enough time to work out of it. We've certainly put a lot of energy and focus on Edmonton and I hope we put our best effort forth."

All is not lost as far as the quest for the Cup is concerned for either the Rock or the Rush.

Since the NLL went to a 16-game schedule four seasons ago, Colorado (2005), Rochester (2004) and Philadelphia (2002) made it into the playoffs with 8-8 records.

Prior to that, Philly qualified in 1999 at 5-7. Boston and New York both made it in 1993 and 1994, respectively, with 2-6 marks when six of the league's seven teams advanced.

The '93 Boston squad was also the team with the worst start to a season that qualified for the playoffs after launching at 0-5. In '92, both Philadelphia and Buffalo began 0-3 but wound up meeting in the title game.

IMMEDIATE IMPRESSION: Randy Daly's first shot as a member of the Rush found the net. That and his tenacious style will keep him in the lineup against the Rock.

"I can't complain. I just wish it would have followed a pattern," said Daly after whipping a ball past Roughnecks netminder Curtis Palidwor on his first shot of the season.

Daly sat out the Rush's first two games as a stress fracture in his left leg suffered during training camp healed. The injury certainly didn't look to have any lingering effects as Daly looked quick and strong on his feet while mixing it up with the Calgary defenders.

"I'd like to keep him from going on those suicide missions," chuckled Day on watching Daly give up 60 pounds but still crashing into rugged Roughneck Taylor Wray.


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