Despite Edinburgh Capitals failing to pick up a win in 13 games, defender Marcel Petran is still happy he swapped the comfort zone of the English Premier League for the rigours of ice hockey’s Elite League.
Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s Forth derby match at Fife Flyers, the Slovakian, a summer signing from Peterborough Phantoms, said: “In the summer, I had a couple of offers from teams in the EPL, but I wanted to step up to the Elite League and was happy when Edinburgh made me an offer.
“With 12 imports playing in every team compared to four in the English league – it’s a completely different level.”
Petran, who, as well as three seasons in England, has played in Kazakhstan, Hungary and made more than 150 appearances in the Slovakian top flight, continued: “The Slovakian league is the highest level I’ve played at, but some of the big teams here could compete with them. I’m sure of that.”
The 28-year-old, who was nicknamed Bam-Bam by the Phantoms supporters for his howitzer slap-shot, scored 25 goals last season, but admits to being frustrated by having yet to hit the net for his new club.
“In the EPL, I was a bit of a power-play specialist. The tactic was for me to hit one-timers from the blue line. Sometimes I would score, or someone would score from a rebound. We had a lot of success like that.
“We’re trying the same thing here, but it’s a league full of quality players and goalies. I’m not finding it so easy. I think I’ve been a bit unlucky not to have even scored one though.”
For tomorrow’s match, the second time in less than a week Edinburgh have made the trip to Kirkcaldy, game-day decisions will be made on the fitness of player-coach Richard Hartmann, who has missed nine games with a knee problem, and Kyle Flemington who picked up a lower body injury while blocking a shot in Sunday’s 5-2 loss to the Flyers.
Caps’ management have ruled out a return from injury this weekend by Joe Grimaldi as they await the results of a medical report into a facial injury.
Edinburgh complete their weekend on Sunday with a visit from Nottingham Panthers (face-off 6pm). Caps have had a terrible time on home ice of late, conceding 19 goals in their last two games at Murrayfield, losing 10-2 to Sheffield Steelers, preceded by a 9-4 defeat at the hands of Braehead Clan last month.
Petran knows this level of performance must not be repeated in front of the increasingly restless home support.
“When you lose 13 games in a row, a dressing-room can be a pretty bad place to be,” he said. “Guys are frustrated and angry at the situation. We have to stick together and not think of ourselves as individuals when we’re on the ice.
“If we want to celebrate this weekend we need to play a smart defensive game and start making the right decisions, especially in our own end.
“To have two heavy defeats at home like that is so bad and is the main reason why we are all so frustrated. If we play well for our fans they are like a sixth player on the ice for us, but to lose so many goals in front of them is just unreal.”