Doyle solid as a Rock

TY PILSON -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 11:01 AM ET

Colin (Popeye) Doyle is the National Lacrosse League's human pinata.

No player gets whacked, hacked, smacked, slashed and generally mugged more than the 28-year-old Toronto Rock all-star forward.

"I've always said you don't have much of a choice if you don't move that fast," said the 6-ft. 3-in., 215-lb., Doyle. "Unfortunately, speed is not a luxury I have. So, it was either learn to take the punishment or learn to get a lot faster and for me, it was easier to learn to take those hits and the abuse.

"But, hey, this is a rough game and if you're going to put up numbers offensively, you have to be willing to pay the price."

The abuse Doyle endures in an average game is a running joke across the league but his production is anything but funny to opposing teams.

The reigning league MVP won the scoring title last year with 42 goals and 111 points in 16 games.

He leads the Rock into tomorrow's tilt against the Calgary Roughnecks at the 'Dome (1:30 p.m., Sportsnet) atop the scoring chart with 12 goals and 34 points in five games.

While Doyle's numbers have been great this season, the Rock's record hasn't. The defending champs started the year 0-4 before beating the expansion Edmonton Rush 14-8 last Friday at the ACC.

"Personally I'm happy with my numbers, absolutely," said Doyle. "But I'm not 100 percent happy with my game, as a whole. I think there are still things I'm not doing well enough, like getting on and off the floor and my shot selection. So, the numbers are good but sometimes they are deceiving."

Along with his ability to play through punishment, Doyle is best known for his penchant for highlight-reel circus shots which often leave goalies scratching their heads.

Because of the way he plays the game, Doyle realizes his career likely won't last as long as NLL vets such as Toronto teammate Jim Veltman (who turns 40 in March) or even Calgary forward Jason Wulder (who turns 36 this year).

"I've never had the misconceived notion that I will play as long as those guys," said Doyle.

"I plan to get in and get out. A lot of those guys play a different style. I can't see myself being able to play that long and I've never tried to tell myself that. I want to play as hard as I can now and whatever will be, will be."

In the meantime, he'll rely on a simple post-game regimen to keep him going through another season.

"Lots of ice and Advil," joked Doyle.

"And I can't have beer in the mix anymore, especially if we go back-to-back. The older you get, you realize you have to look after yourself better, because now it takes four or five days to recover after a tough game. And I expect this game against Calgary will be real tough."


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