Edinburgh Capitals travel to Dundee Stars this evening, the first of three games in three nights for the Murrayfield men.
The Caps currently sit bottom of the Elite League table, eight points outside a play-off place. It’s all-too-familiar reading for success-starved Capitals fans.
However, club co-owner, former GB internationalist and Murrayfield Racers stalwart Scott Neil, is adamant it shouldn’t be all doom and gloom at the Riverside Rink as he gave his full backing to current player-coach Michal Dobron and the team of players he has assembled.
Neil said: “The table is what it is. We are where we are and we have our weaknesses – there’s no doubt about that. But, if you look at things from a pure hockey perspective, there is a difference.
“This team is far better than a lot of our previous squads, way more entertaining and competitive. We’ve had our ups, downs and injury troubles but overall we’ve been involved in a lot of very hard-fought, close games. I’ve had a lot of other coaches tell me this is the best Edinburgh team they’ve seen for a number of years, and I believe that’s true.”
Nottingham Panthers’ victory in last month’s Continental Cup, the first European trophy win for a British ice hockey team, adds weight to Neil’s argument, who continued: “The Elite League continues to grow and develop, which plays its part in keeping us at the bottom end of the table. However, the reality is the quality of ice hockey on display at Murrayfield is as high as it’s ever been. And, with eight weeks and 18 games still to go, we will continue to play hard and provide our fans with a competitive and entertaining product.
“Frustratingly, we have lost a number of close games due to individual mistakes and some of our guys need to take some responsibility on that front, but ultimately it’s up to the coach and team as a whole to sort this out and get us playing defensively-responsible hockey.”
Edinburgh travel to Fife Flyers tomorrow, before completing their weekend at home to Belfast Giants on Sunday (face-off 6pm), with Michael D’Orazio their only injury concern.
“We have enough ability and games left to pick up points and go on a run, which is something we need to do,” said Neil. “It’s a tough start to the month for us. None more so than Belfast here on Sunday, a side we have not beaten for a couple of years. But, with possibly a full-strength team to pick from, we have every chance across all three games. One good weekend is the first step to being back in the play-off hunt.”