Coming off a six-game suspension, Dobbie will make his long-awaited home debut Saturday night when the Calgary Roughnecks (4-4) welcome the San Diego Seals (4-6) into the Scotiabank Saddledome for a divisional showdown.
Dobbie made his return last weekend in a wild 18-17 overtime road win over the Georgia Swarm, a game in which he went off for seven points (six goals, one assist), including the overtime winner.
Dobbie said it felt great to be back in action after a tough stretch of watching from the press box.
“It was tough for sure. You miss being out there when the team’s being successful, and you miss it even more when the team’s struggling,” said Dobbie.
“It was tough sitting out, but I’m just looking at what’s ahead of me now, moving on, and just excited to be back for the remainder of the season.”
While there’s no question last season’s NLL leading scorer’s offensive prowess was missed on the field, there was an even more significant attribute of Dobbie’s that was desired in his time away.
Roughnecks head coach Curt Malawsky said Dobbie’s leadership is something the club is glad to have back in the dressing room.
“Obviously, his production is second to none, but it’s more so he just brings that leadership into our room,” said Malawsky.
“He’s our true leader. Not only does he lead by example on the floor, but off the floor he’s got such a belief for success, and such belief in his teammates. When he’s there, everyone just plays better and everyone just believes more. I’ve always said if Dane Dobbie says it’s going to be alright, it’s going to be alright.”
Despite currently being ranked in the middle of the pack in goals-for, the Seals offense is a threat every second they possess the ball.
With the likes of Wesley Berg, Connor Fields, and Austin Staats, in addition to their more veteran players, Malawsky said the Seals possess the best young offense in the NLL.
“They have a lot of good guys there that are young up-and-comers, and they’ve done a good job to get there. They’re a very powerful group, they move the ball well, and they’ve got a lot of exceptional offensive talent,” said Malawsky.
“Watching their last couple games, we’re going to have our hands full with that group.”
One of the Seals’ offensive threats is a player quite familiar to the Roughnecks organization, with Berg having played his first three NLL seasons in Roughnecks colors, totalling 232 points (99 goals, 133 assists) in 54 games.
But despite being familiar with the play of Berg, Malawsky said it’s not going to be a matter of shutting him down completely, but just trying to slow him down.
“You’re never going to stop Berg. He’s one of those guys if you try to stop him from the outside, he gets inside. If you try to stop him from the inside, he’ll get you outside,” said Malawsky.
“We’re just going to play defense by committee, play good team defense, make sure we stick to our principles, and try to take them out of their comfort zone.”
Despite an up and down start to the season, the Roughnecks enter Saturday’s contest having won two straight for the first time this season.
In order to succeed in extending their winning ways to three games, Dobbie said everyone needs to play a full 60 minutes.
“It’s everybody playing together for 60 minutes, which I think is what we’ve lacked this year. Sometimes our offense is clicking and our defense isn’t, and vice versa,” said Dobbie.
“The parody in this league is so tough right now that you have to be at your best to get wins, and I think everyone knows that in this league, so you can’t take a night off on either end of the floor. We’re just looking to come in and build off of last weekend and try and improve on last weekend, and hopefully the outcome takes care of itself.”