Toth sitting pretty

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:48 AM ET

A year ago on Oscar night, nobody rolled out the green carpet for Kaleb Toth, let alone a red one.

Up until that point, Toth had played a lead role for the Calgary Roughnecks franchise in every single game.

Suddenly, Toth's part was on the cutting room floor as a scratch.

But the move paid off.

The Roughnecks won the meeting with the Portland LumberJax on awards night, and Toth turned his game around for the rest of the season.

"When I was told I would sit out, my first reaction was anger, of course," said Toth, who joined the Roughnecks in 2001 after a trade with the Toronto Rock.

"I had played every game for Calgary for a lot of years in the league. I didn't think sitting me out was the right idea, but I wasn't going to argue.

"If it were to happen now, I would be more upset and it would be a different situation between me and the coaching staff.

"Right now, I can't see them doing that. I feel I've played pretty well and done everything they've asked me to do this season. Hopefully, I can maintain being a leader and fulfilling my role."

Toth, the franchise's all-time leading scorer, will have star treatment today when the Riggers host the Boston Blazers at the Saddledome (3 p.m., nll.com, Fan 960).

There is no way Riggers head coach Troy Cordingley would consider leaving Toth off the roster now.

The 31-year-old has 13 goals in six games (he had 19 all of last season) and is tied for third on the team in points with 29.

What's more important is Toth is healthy enough to drive at the net and beat defenders one-on-one.

He couldn't do that while battling through hamstring and knee problems last season, another reason sitting for a game helped him out.

"It's tough to put it on one thing," Toth said. "I was struggling through some injuries and the rest was needed.

"I needed a mental break as well. I wasn't performing and was getting down on myself. The coaches saw that and they sat me out because I wasn't performing the way they expected.

"They also wanted to give me a break mentally to focus and think about my game.

"Since then, I felt I've played better and did what I needed to do. My nagging injuries have gotten better. In the off-season, I did a lot of rehab. I saw the trainer and physiotherapist a lot. I basically got better and got my body back to where it used to be."

The move sent a message through the Riggers' dressing room that no job was safe.

Cordingley and his staff were still new to the team at that point, and a few weeks later, the team traded leading scorer Lewis Ratcliff to Toronto for Josh Sanderson.

Since then, the Riggers are 10-5 in the regular season, including a 5-1 mark this year.

"The coaching staff put guys out for performance and not for who they are or what they've done in the past," Toth said. "They live in the now and they would sit anyone out if they had to.

"I don't think they were making an example of me. I agreed I wasn't playing well.

"They aren't going to make examples of people. That's why our team has such respect for our coaches."


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