The Nanaimo Timbermen know they’re a better team with Kaleb Toth in the lineup.
They just need to make sure the veteran forward knows that, too.
Toth said he’s felt a little “snakebit” on the lacrosse floor lately. The 34-year-old played a seriously diminished role with the Calgary Roughnecks of the National Lacrosse League this past season, and he isn’t a primary shooter with the Coastal Windows Timbermen of the Western Lacrosse Association, either. It’s a bit of a shot to the ego.
“I’ve got to overcome that,” Toth said. “A lot of times now I pass instead of shoot and before, when I was younger, I was always shooting, shooting, shooting.”
Toth doesn’t have to be a focal point of the offence anymore. Now he can play off of fellow right-handed stars Scott Ranger and Cory Conway in the T-men attacking zone.
They’ve got “unreal sticks”, Toth said, so he doesn’t mind just trying to set picks for them all game long.
“Ranger’s got that one or two quick steps that he can get around a guy, and same with C-way,” he said. “So if I can give them that breathing room that they need, I’m more than happy to do [that].”
Last Sunday at Frank Crane Arena, Toth scored his 227th career WLA goal. He’s scored another 172 in the NLL, not to mention 103 playoff goals in the two leagues including a Champion’s Cup-winning tally.
“He sets amazing picks, whether it’s for Ranger or Conway. Plus he’s a threat out there…” said Timbermen coach Art Webster. “And he has a calmness. He’s great in the dressing room. He’s a great leader; he speaks very well, he doesn’t get overly excited, he plugs away. We’re a different team when he’s in the lineup, there’s no doubt about it.”
So far in 2012, the T-men are 2-0 with Toth in the lineup and 0-2 without him, so they obviously want him geared up as often as possible. The Canada Post worker can’t always get to games during the work week, but he has put in for a transfer to from Calgary to the mid-Island, where he owns property.
“I’m happy to be out here; I’m enjoying playing with these guys,” he said. “We’ve got a real young team, a real athletic team and whenever you have a young, athletic team, you’re going to be good for years to come.”
Toth, one of three original members of the Timbermen franchise, is hopeful he can be a part of any successes. Because even if his lacrosse career is winding down, it’s not winding up.
“You’ve got to adjust. You can still be a factor but roles sometimes change and I’m fine with my role changing,” he said. “I still think that I can offer a little more but we’ll see what happens.”
GAME ON … The Timbermen play the Victoria Shamrocks, Toth’s former team, tonight (June 1) at 7:45 p.m. at Bear Mountain Arena in Victoria.