Capitals coach and captain doubtful for the derby

Richard Hartmann spent four yours as Capitals coach, making the play-offs on one occasion.
Richard Hartmann spent four yours as Capitals coach, making the play-offs on one occasion.
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Edinburgh Capitals’ player-coach Richard Hartmann revealed that both he and club captain Jade Portwood are major injury doubts ahead of this weekend’s crucial set of home fixtures as the club push to get back into a play-off berth.

Caps entertain Fife Flyers tomorrow in the last Forth derby to be held at Murrayfield this season, before hosting Coventry Blaze on Sunday, the team two points ahead of Edinburgh in the final play-off berth. Both games face off at 6pm.

Portwood missed last Sunday’s 3-2 overtime loss to Sheffield Steelers with a suspected concussion whilst Hartmann played, despite nursing a lower-body injury. He said: “We’re struggling with the line-up because we’re already an import down and Jade and myself have not been icing this week, but we’ve been doing everything we can to get in a position to play.”

Edinburgh will also be without Callum Boyd. The speedy forward flew out to Helsinki yesterday to compete in the second stop of the Red Bull Crashed Ice World Tour.

Hartmann continued: “This is a huge weekend for us, all the guys know exactly where they stand and it’s so important to put in a big performance in these two games especially since they are at home.

“Sunday we did pretty well in getting a point against Sheffield. We put in a good defensive performance and that’s the way we want to keep playing; it will lead to us creating opportunities and scoring goals. We’ve been putting more of our chances away recently and that’s been pleasing.

“When you’re short like we are at the moment it’s so important to get defensive positioning right and remain patient. I’m not saying it’s about sitting back, I’m saying it’s about controlling the pace of the game. If things haven’t been going right for us early on we’ve been guilty of getting away from that and going all out to score goals as individuals – that’s when other teams really punish us.”

Caps are an import player short following former employee Joe Grimaldi’s ban. They also lost defender Lukas Bohunicky last week who left for personal reasons. The deadline day for signings is February 15 but co-owner Scott Neil is confident there will be a new arrival in time for their match with Cardiff Devils a week today.

Neil said: “There are players out there who we could have brought in by now that could have done a job for us, but at the moment we’re restricted in the number of imports we can play because of our suspension which will be up in time for our match with Cardiff Devils.”

Edinburgh were punished by the Elite League Department of Player Safety for the actions of Grimaldi in a match with Nottingham Panthers last month. He speared an opponent and then threw his helmet at a player. Caps have subsequently been an import short for ten games, a ban that still has three matches to serve.

Neil continued: “We can keep looking until that suspension is served. It gives us more time to strike a deal with someone who has that bit of extra quality. We are talking to two or three.

“It could be either a defenceman or a forward, but I’m confident we’ll be able to bring someone in before the deadline and the plan is to have them for the Cardiff game.”