Giles in a Rush to face Rock

SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:13 AM ET

The Edmonton Rush were desperate for an offensive spark.

They're hoping Mat Giles can light that match.

After promising that changes would be made to the struggling club, Rush GM/head coach made a deal with the Toronto Rock yesterday, acquiring Giles in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2006 NLL draft.

And in a quirk of scheduling, the trade means Giles's first game with the Rush will be Saturday night when the Rock come to town.

"It should be good - maybe a little payback," said Giles. "I've got nothing against them but they did let me go and I'd like to see what I can do against them."

The Rock, who picked up Giles as a free agent in the off-season, weren't anxious to cut him loose but felt they had to make some room on their roster.

"It's always tough to move guys, especially classy guys like Mat. I wish him all the luck in the world except on Saturday night," said Toronto head coach Terry Sanderson.

Giles is a known commodity to the Rush, having played for both Day and assistant coach Jim Milligan in the past. Last season under Day, Giles scored 10 goals and added 13 assists playing alongside Rush captain Andrew Turner and goaltender Pat Campbell. The 30-year-old house framer has racked up 101 goals and 83 assists along with 132 penalty minutes in 86 regular-season games in the NLL including one goal and one assist in four Rock games this year.

"He's a good veteran and a team guy and that's what we need right now," said Day.

Giles's best year in the league came in 2003 when he scored 34 goals for Ottawa where he was a teammate of Rush forward Kevin Howard. During his seven seasons, Giles has made other stops in Albany, Columbus and Montreal and was with the Rock for their first NLL championship in 1999.

"There are some great offensive players in Toronto and I was doing all the little things like setting picks and going after loose balls," said Giles. "In Edmonton, I'll be expected to take the ball and produce. It will be a very similar role to the one I had in Ottawa.

"I think playing for Paul again is going to be good for me."

Milligan previously played senior ball with Giles and has coached him the past three years with Peterborough in the Ontario summer league. They were both with the Lakers team which captured the 2004 Mann Cup.

"He brings huge leadership - he's a great guy in the room," said Milligan. "He's going to blend right in and bring us a lot of strength up front. He's a big guy (six-foot-four, 235 pounds) so he knows when to step up physically but he's also very skilled.

"He going to create some picks and defenders have to honour him so that's going to give our other guys some room to take the ball to the net."

QUICK STICKS: Minnesota goalie Nick Patterson was the NLL's Defensive Player of the Week after notching 40 saves against the Rush in a 7-6 win last Friday.


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