Forced to stand Pat

IAN BUSBY, CALGARY SUN

, Last Updated: 7:40 AM ET

There's no soft spot for the Edmonton Rush underneath Pat Campbell's jersey.

Although the Calgary Roughnecks goalie was part of the 2005 expansion team in the so-called City of Champions, he is heading back to face the Rush tonight (7:30 p.m.) with a chip on his shoulder.

Even with both clubs working new faces into the Battle of Alberta, there is one member of the visiting squad who has a score to settle.

"There's a lot of emotion with me heading back," said Campbell. "The best years I had in lacrosse were with Edmonton. There were a lot of dreams I had there that I wasn't able to see through.

"But a lot of my attachment is gone because Paul Day is gone."

The Rush got off to a 0-6 start this season and then fired the only coach in the franchise's three-year history. Day was replaced by Bob Hamley and the Rush have gone 3-2 since then.

Campbell was one of the most popular players with the Rush for two seasons, but was left exposed in the expansion draft last year.

He was taken by Boston but then picked up by Calgary in a dispersal draft following the league's labour dispute which forced Boston to postpone its startup for a year.

He joined Calgary mid-season and started the past six games in place of injured Steve Dietrich, but the Riggers will put their No. 1 man back in now that he has recovered from his concussion.

It pains Campbell to be the backup because he has to rely on teammates to take care of business.

"I'm going in there in a good frame of mind because there's a lot of bitterness and resentment I have towards the players in Edmonton because they really let Paul down," said Campbell.

Because of the unique NLL schedule, the Riggers (4-8) face the Rush (3-7) for the first time this season, but finish with three of four against Edmonton.

After the slow start by the Rush, it seemed a playoff spot was a lock for Calgary. How things have changed, especially in Edmonton, where seven new players have been brought in and several veterans were jettisoned.

But Hamley isn't surprised with the turnaround.

"When I came in, I didn't think it was as bad as everyone let on," Hamley said. "It happens sometimes when you lose a few in a row, they start to squeeze the sticks a bit.

"I came in and tried to get their confidence going again. I think I've done that and they are playing with a lot more confidence. We're pretty excited about the opportunity in front of us now."

While the Riggers have Campbell on their side, former Roughnecks goalie Curtis Palidwor is tending the net for the Rush.

Although Palidwor struggled early in the season, he put together a great effort last week in shutting down the San Jose Stealth in a 12-5 pasting.

The Roughnecks are obviously familiar with Palidwor, but the new-look Rush are a work in progress.

"There has been a lot of changes and they haven't settled into roles just yet," said Roughnecks GM Kurt Silcott.

"I know Bob has a plan for what the roles will be, and he's certainly not going to divulge that to me. We're looking at the tape of last week's game to see what they did. We're just hoping that's what they will try to do."

As for the schedule, Silcott was one of those who would have liked to see Edmonton early, considering how they were playing back then.

"Right now, we're running into a pretty hot Edmonton team," Silcott said.

"It's nice to play teams over the course of the season, because then you see where they started, how they've developed and what they've become.

"With three of the next four against them, we know that will add to the fire a bit."


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