Roughnecks captain back in gear

STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:25 PM ET

Andrew McBride finally strapped the pads on for some competition.

His opponents Tuesday night were members of the Calgary Raiders junior A team he coaches along with Roughnecks teammates Bruce Codd and Mark Scherman.

Those kids have been bearing the brunt of McBride’s frustration for being sidelined with a minor leg injury since early this month. That was ratcheted up a notch when the Riggers captain pulled on his equipment for the practice.

“I think the kids have got a little bit more of me yelling and snapping,” McBride said of his coaching style while on the shelf.

“Some of the kids that weren’t listening earlier on in the year, I gave them a little extra bump and a slash. It was a good way of getting back at them.”

Cracking a huge smile in case anyone thought he was serious, McBride listed off a few of his NLL brethren who are also taking advantage of some extra practice time while offering advice to some of the game’s up-and-comers as ‘guest’ coaches during Raiders training camp.

Anywhere from a half-dozen or more could come out over the next week with the Roughnecks enjoying a long break before their first playoff game April 30 against the Colorado Mammoth.

“It’s a win-win situation. They’re such a talented group of kids coming up here in Calgary. It’s always nice to be able to give back and go out there and throw it around,” said McBride. “At the same time, they’re pushing us. It’s not like you’re going out there and just going through the motions.”

While McBride and Jeff Shattler are definitely benefitting from the long rest due to a Riggers bye in the final week of the NLL season — both are expected to return from their injuries for the playoff game at the Saddledome next Saturday — the rest of the Roughnecks realize the importance of getting some training in during the break.

“Colorado is playing this weekend, so you could look at it as they’re gonna still be well-oiled, while we’ve got a little rust to knock off,” said Codd.

“But we’ve got practice the night before and the day of the game, and I know a bunch of the guys through emails have been pushing each other to get our sticks in our hands.

“The rest will be nice.”

“In some situations it might be a negative, but with our team, we’re so focused,” added McBride. “We’re not going to sit around for two weeks. We understand the importance of this time off.

“It can be a blessing in disguise.”

Many of the Roughnecks will gather at McBride’s house Saturday night to enjoy a barbecue and watch the Mammoth play the Minnesota Swarm.

“It’s a good opportunity for us to get together and have a few laughs, but also get our heads wrapped around what we can expect from Colorado,” said Codd.

“We’ll keep the kids away from that one.”

twitter.com/MacfarlaneSteve


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