Blazers poised for retaliation against Rock

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 9:03 PM ET

Toronto Rock captain Colin Doyle is expecting some rough treatment when he steps on to the floor at the Air Canada Centre Friday.

Not from the throngs of Rock fans, mind you, who happily will welcome Doyle back to Toronto after he spent three years with the San Jose Stealth. Doyle played a significant role in five National Lacrosse League titles for the Rock before he was dealt to San Jose in 2006, and was re-acquired by Toronto last month.

In the Rock’s 2010 season opener in Boston against the Blazers six days ago, Doyle toyed with the home club, registering a goal and nine assists in a 17-7 Toronto victory. With the Blazers at the ACC Friday for the Rock’s 2010 home debut, Doyle is steeling himself for a far more difficult task.

“One of the things I suspect will change is that they will really try to get in our faces,” Doyle said. “That’s the downside of playing a team two weeks in a row. It’s easier for them to prepare once they have seen what you are going to do.

“Part of their problem was that we had quite a few new bodies and as much as I did not know what to expect from our offensive unit, I don’t think they really knew what to expect either.”

Blazers coach Tom Ryan confirmed Doyle’s thoughts, but it’s not just the 2009 NLL scoring champion Ryan is worried about. The Blazers were among the top defensive teams last season, but they didn’t play like it in the opener.

“Colin really does a tremendous job of moving the ball and finding the open guy,” Ryan said. “When I look back at the tape, I look at our defence and it was running around without any real method to our madness. We’re not so much concerned about Colin, but about playing better team defence and preventing the quality shots they saw last week.”

Boston also will have to concern itself with Rock freshman Garrett Billings, who had five goals in the Toronto win and was named the NLL rookie of the week. Both teams, meanwhile, got out of the game last week without any injuries.

For Doyle, who has few peers in the NLL, there’s more to playing at the ACC Friday than just the rush of wearing the Rock logo again. Toronto finished in the East basement with a record of 6-10 in 2009, and Doyle wants nothing more than to help bring respectability back to the franchise.

“What excites me most is bringing the new brand of lacrosse to Toronto,” Doyle said. “It’s going to be fun. I can’t emphasize that enough. It will be quite a pleasure to put that uniform on again in front of the home crowd.”


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