Roughnecks watching, waiting

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:32 AM ET

Like a kid forced to miss recess, the Calgary Roughnecks have been watching everyone else have fun.

Two weeks into the National Lacrosse League season, the Roughnecks have yet to play a meaningful game.

That all changes this weekend as they play a pair of games to open their NLL schedule, the second against the Edmonton Rush (Tomorrow, 7 pm, Rexall).

"I don't know why this happens, but there seems to be a pattern where some teams play better in the second game of a back-to-back than they sometimes do the first," said Roughnecks head coach Chris Hall. "It's a short trip for us, which is a good thing for us. It's a pretty quick up the road to get to Edmonton."

Tonight, the Roughnecks play host to the San Jose Stealth. Tomorrow, they will be in town to face the Rush.

Usually teams play one game per weekend in the NLL. However, there are exceptions. The Roughnecks will play on consecutive nights four times this year. The Rush do it twice.

"There's obviously a time crunch. You don't have the luxury of preparing for one team during the week," said Hall. "I guess the good news for us is that we had the opportunity to play two exhibition games against Edmonton already (both wins), so we've had a reasonable look at their team and their players."

Last year the Rush's only victory of the season came against the Roughnecks - a 12-11 thriller decided on a last-second goal. Last week the Rush won their opening game of the year - a 13-12 thriller decided on a last-second goal.

"They are certainly a much-improved team," Hall said. "They have an awfully slick offence and they have a great power play now with the additions of (Chris) Gill and (Dan) Stroup. They know what to do with the ball.

"They're a much different-looking team and I think we have much more respect heading into Edmonton this year than we did last year."

"It's always a pretty special night when we play Calgary," said Rush head coach and GM Paul Day. "Apart from the fact that it's a provincial rivalry, we had some pretty close games with them last year."

NOTE: The Edmonton Rush have signed defenceman Dan Finck. The 26-year-old native of Halifax was named to the 2005 NLL All-rookie team as a member of the Philadelphia Wings. Finck spent two years with the Wings and was released by Philadelphia prior to the team's 13-12 loss to the Rush on Saturday. Finck is expected to make his Rush debut against Roughnecks tomorrow.


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