Angry Edinburgh Capitals player/coach Richard Hartmann claimed his players “ripped up the game-plan” after just ten minutes of their Elite League 4-0 home loss to Braehead Clan.
In their only game of the weekend, Caps offered a toothless attacking display on Saturday which saw visiting Clan net-minder Kyle Jones face only 15 shots and pick up his second straight shut-out against the misfiring Murrayfield men, who suffered their fifth straight defeat in all competitions.
Hartmann said: “I was disappointed with that performance because we didn’t create any chances. We showed little or no quality in our passing and nothing went the way it was supposed to.
“We spent a lot of time preparing for what was an important game. I watched tapes of all of Braehead’s games, we all knew the game they would play and we devised tactics to counter it. But after ten minutes – during which we were playing fine – we stopped doing what we had worked on. It was as if the game-plan had been ripped up. We stopped talking to each other on the ice and guys just started to do their own thing.
“Players not believing in the system is our biggest problem right now. When we play the way we are supposed to we create chances. We play a simple game but as soon as somebody tries to do too much on their own we create nothing and what you saw on Saturday is how it ends up.”
Hartmann also criticised his team for giving up eight power-play opportunities, which included a five-minute major penalty to Edinburgh captain Jade Portwood who, with the home side trailing 2-0 after goals from Braehead forwards Matt Haywood and Neil Trimm, was ejected from the game in the 39th minute for charging.
He said: “We need to be aware of how the referee is going to call the game. We’re taking too many stupid penalties, we are doing a great job of killing them, but it saps a lot of energy and so even when we’re back to full strength we find it harder to have a positive effect on the game
“The guys are working hard. I have no problem with the amount of effort they’re putting in. They’re playing physically, taking hits and giving them out, but ultimately it doesn’t matter how physical you are, you need to play smart to win, and that is something that’s not happening right now.
“We’ve lost other matches in which we’ve created plenty of chances, that’s a positive and something to build on, but there is nothing positive to say after Saturday’s performance.”
Clan put the game to bed eight minutes from time with their third goal through Matt Keith, and with Edinburgh goalie Tomas Hiadlovsky, who with 34 saves won man-of-the-match for the home side, withdrawn for an extra skater, Leigh Salters completed the scoring into an empty net with 24 seconds remaining. The weekend’s results, including last night’s second straight 4-0 win for Braehead, this time at Dundee Stars, sees Edinburgh slip to ninth place, above Dundee, who prop up the table with three points from seven games.
Perhaps the Caps’ one saving grace is the fact they have played only four league matches and have games in hand over all but one of the teams above them. However, with Edinburgh’s next five fixtures all away from home, without a big improvement Caps’ fans will find it hard to see where the points needed to climb the table will come from.