March 7, 2014

NLL Weekend: New Coaches and Record Chances

by Neil Stevens | | Twitter

Adam Jones is still a bit away from return for Colorado, which replaced its coaching staff this week.

Pat Coyle, Chris Gill and Dan Stroup step behind the Colorado bench for the first time and will try to get the Mammoth back on track when they face the Calgary Roughnecks in one of four games this weekend, all on Saturday. Here are the matchups (all times ET):

CALGARY (6-3) at COLORADO (4-7), 9 p.m.

Game Available in US via ESPN3

Colorado lost 11-9 to Rochester at home last Saturday and Mammoth president-GM Steve Govett dismissed the coaching staff Tuesday. He named Coyle, Gill and Stroup interim coaches Wednesday. All were in the Mammoth lineup for the franchise's sole NLL championship in 2006.

''They are some of the best to ever play the game and they're champions,'' Govett said in a team release. ''I have the utmost confidence in the abilities of Pat, Chris and Dan, and I know they all bleed burgundy.''

If the three British Columbia residents instill half the heart they played with into the current players, things will improve, Govett added.

Adam Jones, who was leading the league in goals scored when he went down with a shoulder injury a month ago, is within a week or perhaps two of returning to action. It'll be a big boost for the Mammoth when he's back on the floor.

This will be the third of three meetings. Calgary won 13-11 at home Jan. 10 and lost 14-13 at home against the Mammoth on Jan. 25.

Govett, after intimating during a league conference call Wednesday that the weekly phonefests were becoming too tame, waded in with what he felt about Colorado-Calgary matchups.

''We hate Calgary and they hate us,'' he said.

''We'll be prepared,'' was all Calgary coach Curt Malawsky would say in response.

''We love playing there,'' said 'Necks faceoff specialist Geoff Fraser. ''I love my brother (Bob Snider, who takes faceoffs for the Mammoth) and we're going to go in there and show how much we love them.''

Calgary won its fourth in a row, 19-13 over visiting Toronto, last Saturday. It is the highest-scoring team in the league with an output of 13.89 goals a game. Defensively, the 'Necks are No. 7 with 12.6 goals relinquished per game.

Malawsky said he's pleased with his team's first half.

''The last four or five games we've been getting back to the basics,'' said Malawsky. ''(Goaltender) Mike Poulin has been playing well for us and our transition game has been sound.''

MINNESOTA (2-7) at BUFFALO (6-2), 7:30 p.m.

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