Lumber Jax

by: , ELIUK

Coming up: Portland holds a four-day camp in Victoria, British Columbia, this weekend and plays an exhibition game there against Minnesota on Saturday. The Jax will practice in Portland on Dec. 29 before the season opener Dec. 30 against Buffalo in the Rose Garden.

Roster competition: The next camp will be the third gathering for Jax players, and General Manager/coach Derek Keenan expects to finalize his 23-player roster Thursday. The Jax will carry one practice player, veteran goalie Dwight Maetche, 46, who was born in Portland. 'He's older than Dallas (Eliuk). He's older than me,' Keenan says.

With many veterans returning, sans defenseman Matt Dwane, the LumberJax have few spots open in the expected 16-player/2-goalie game lineup. Some players will be looking to break into the mix, including defensemen Ian Crashley (draft pick), Graham Palmer (free agent) and D.J. Driscoll (draft), and forwards Matt Holman (draft) and Tyler Heavenor (trade).

'We're going to have eight new guys,' Keenan says.

Veterans look good: The goalie Eliuk, 42, has looked sensational in training camp, Keenan says. 'He's been unbelievable,' he says. 'He looks so sharp. Everybody has said something about it.'

Other veterans to impress have been Brodie Merrill, Peter Morgan and Richard Morgan (each reporting in good shape), Pat Jones and Del Halladay.

'I haven't been disappointed with any veteran guys,' Keenan says.

NLL title?: The players say they want to compete for the National Lacrosse League title, Keenan says.

'The guys mean business,' he says. 'They know what the objective is.'

-Jason Vondersmith