Edinburgh Capitals player-coach Michal Dobron has vowed to “fight to the very end” as his team seek a play-off place.
Fife Flyers, Coventry Blaze, Dundee Stars, Manchester and Edinburgh are battling it out for the remaining three post-season places. Caps are still mathematically in the race following last Sunday’s 5-1 defeat by Stars at Murrayfield, but now trail the eighth-placed Taysiders by six points.
With six games of the Elite League season remaining, Caps begin their run-in tomorrow at Manchester Storm knowing that even picking up the maximum 12 points in their final games might still not be enough to move off the bottom of the table of ten, let alone secure a top-eight spot and a first play-off appearance in four years. Caps trail second-bottom Manchester by five points.
Edinburgh complete their weekend with the final Forth derby of the season at home to Fife, hoping for a repeat of last Saturday’s 5-2 win in Kirkcaldy.
Dobron has been left cursing his side’s inconsistency, something that has plagued his team all year and he said: “Last weekend, we again played two different games.
“The win in Fife, against our biggest rivals, was great for everyone involved with the club. Then we dominated the first ten minutes on Sunday against Dundee and, if we had got an early goal, you would have seen a different game, but Dundee played well defensively, we just couldn’t score and when we made mistakes Dundee were there to take advantage.”
Edinburgh have won 20 games this season in all competitions, only 11 coming at home and Dobron cannot explain their poor form on Murrayfield’s big ice.
“I don’t know. We go into every game with the same mentality looking to win,” said Dobron: “Sunday was just a very tough night for us.
“After the game, I was very angry. I spoke to Jock (bench-coach Jock Hay) and he passed on a message to the guys – it wasn’t something you could print in a newspaper. We spoke about everything properly this week in practice, once the emotion was taken out of it. That’s always the best way.”
Dobron revealed that the focus this week in training has been on special teams which is not surprising after Edinburgh conceded two power-play goals from three Dundee opportunities last time out, whilst scoring one goal from eight attempts as Edinburgh looked out of ideas with the extra man.
The 37-year-old former Czech internationalist felt it unfair to say that Sunday’s special team statistics were a fair reflection of an entire season and, in fairness, prior to the Dundee game, Edinburgh had killed 14 of the last 15 penalties awarded against them.
Dobron added: “Special teams are so important for every team. There have been games this year when we have performed well and there have been others when it has been bad. It’s something we still focus a lot on in practice and, if we perform our special teams well this weekend, it could have a big say on whether we get the four points we need.
“Tomorrow night in Manchester is a huge game for both teams, a must-win for both of us if we want to make the play-offs.
“Fife is always a big game for us, one we always want to win for the fans. I have some experience in this game and we will keep fighting until the very end. It’s important to have that mentality because you never know when you can pull out a huge result.”