After last night’s 4-3 loss to Fife Flyers at Murrayfield, Edinburgh Capitals’ ninth straight defeat, player-coach Richard Hartmann has called for wholesale changes at the club, and has promised fans they will be made as soon as possible.
With Edinburgh carrying an extra foreign player, Hartmann, who has been the club’s second highest scorer over the last two seasons, took the decision not to play and instead coached from the bench, a decision he now admits he regrets, saying: “We need to change everything. The hockey we’re playing right now is really bad, we’re loosing games and the way we’re playing is not good to watch for the fans. Siting on the bench this weekend has given me a better angle to see that.
“I’ve promised the fans good hockey that is fun to watch, and right now we’re not giving them much to be happy about. We need to make a lot of changes. I’ll do my best to make them as soon as I can. Players will be released and some new faces brought in. What I’ve been building here over the last two years is hockey that is good to watch and this season in ten games everything has been ruined. It’s not the same team that we had last year and this is not acceptable.
“I’ve spoken to the players individually; I’ve been honest with them and I always say what I think is best for the team. The system that I’m trying to get them to play has been drilled into them in practice, but when it comes to the games it’s just not happening. It’s time for them to think what sort of role they want to play in this team.”
Hartmann also sat out Saturday’s 3-2 penalty-shot defeat away to Braehead Clan, but alleviated rumours of an injury saying: “I’m actually just over an injury that I have been carrying for a long time, and I’m ready to play, but by sitting out I did what I thought was best for the team, it turned out to be the wrong choice and I’ll get hell for it.”
Capitals captain Martin Cingel is not surprised the coach has finally lost patience with his miss-firing squad: “It’s frustrating to play like this, especially at home in front of our fans. We’re making the same mistakes week in, week out. We’re making a mess of too many easy passes.
“Last night Fife scored two goals after we passed the puck to them, and if you want to win games you need to stop making mistakes like that. Trying to pass the puck through players doesn’t help anybody and you’re punished every time. This is getting hard to take.”
The game started at a frenetic pace, Cingel opening the scoring in the seventh minute with a power-play goal. Fife levelled soon after as Capitals D-man Michal Benadik turned over the puck, which resulted in Flyers forward Stephen Gunn rifling home at 13.08. Fife took control of the game in the second period scoring two goals barely a minute apart through Jordan Fulton and Derek Roehl, before Cingel, after a goalmouth scramble, fired through a scrum of bodies to make it 3-2.
Fife began the game without influential Canadian defenceman Justin DaCosta, and at the game’s half-way point, directly after Cingel’s second goal, they lost Matt Nickerson on an abuse of official game penalty, leaving Flyers with only one recognised import defenceman.
It was an advantage Edinburgh should have made count, but instead they fell further behind when Jamie Wilson scored what turned out to be the winner early in the third period. Edinburgh pulled a goal back 12 seconds later through Michal Dobron but that was as good as it got for the home side, who, despite plenty of huff-and-puff, rarely looked like getting anything from the game.
Cingel concluded: “Hockey players talk about everything in the game being 80 per cent confidence, but it’s hard to build any up when you keep losing. Time and time again cheap goals are costing us.”
With three points from ten games, the weekend’s results leave Caps bottom of the Elite League, one point behind Fife, and two behind this weekend’s opponents Hull Stingrays.