Riggers core still Fab Four

DARREN FRIESEN -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:34 AM ET

Talking with Chris Hall these days is more like having a consultation with a personal trainer than the head coach of the Calgary Roughnecks.

The way Hall sees it, his National Lacrosse League team is like conditioning a human body -- it's all about the core.

This is his analogy for the Roughnecks lineup this season. While there are many new faces, the core is solid, which will undoubtably be the reason for any success the squad has in 2007.

"The four core guys are still there, which is good for us," said Hall of captain Tracey Kelusky, forwards Kaleb Toth, Lewis Ratcliff and defender Taylor Wray.

"Those core guys that we've retained are very talented and very good and that sort of stretches through offence and defence."

As for the rest of Hall's lineup, which will take the floor in its season-opener tomorrow night against the San Jose Stealth (7:30 p.m., Saddledome), there will be plenty of new faces.

However, Hall is confident the retooled Roughnecks roster will feed off the Fab Four.

"We're going to take a little bit of time to gel but we've got to do that as quickly as possible. You don't have a lot of time in this league and you don't like to give up games early," he said.

"So we've got to find that chemistry quickly but I'm excited about the team and we have as much potential as anybody else in this league.

"We've gotten a little younger and faster, especially in the middle of the floor. It makes us a little quicker and gives us some more firepower, so that's exciting."

The Roughnecks, as with most of the league, are committed to playing a faster transition this year, which is the reason for the acquisition of players such as Nolan Heavenor, Jeff Shattler and Kerry Susheski.

With that in mind, Hall is considering utilizing some of his players, particularly Toth, in different situations.

This tactical move gives the Roughnecks' bench boss more options and variables to start the season.

"I think this team we have has been constructed so that we can play different styles all the time, and different formations," said Hall.

"With Kaleb, he has the talent to play a pretty good transition game and we may utilize him in there as well."

Part of that transition will no doubt start with the goaltending.

Grabbing the No. 1 reins for the Roughnecks this season is Andrew Leyshon, who's backed up Curtis Palidwor for the past two seasons.

Pundits have pegged this as Calgary's only real weak spot, although Hall doesn't see it that way.

"Andrew's been sitting in the two spot behind Curtis Palidwor for a number of seasons now but we feel that it's Andrew's time to shine and we have a lot of confidence in his abilities."


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