Edinburgh Capitals will hand a debut to new signing Brandon Thompson at Fife Flyers tonight as the club look to put a turbulent last ten days behind them.
Caps player-coach Riley Emmerson, who in a little more than a week lost top scorer Ryan Hayes to Sheffield Steelers and star man David Rutherford to Belfast Giants, admits both he and his players are just looking forward to getting back to normality and playing 120 minutes of ice hockey this weekend, including a home match against Braehead Clan tomorrow (face-off 5.30pm).
Emmerson said: “We’re just excited to all go out there, work hard and keep things simple. We need to take things period by period and, if we work together, we’ll give ourselves chances to win both games.”
Thompson, a Canadian forward, has not played a competitive game this season but had been training with his old American college side Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) whom he represented between 2011-2015. Emmerson believes that once the 25-year-old, who played alongside Trevor Gerling as a junior, finds his feet in Edinburgh, fans will see a hungry player eager to prove himself.
Emmerson continued: “Brandon’s from Vancouver and he played with one of my old clubs so I’ve seen him play before and I know a bit about him.
“He’s a very good skater, but he’s a spark-plug kind of guy who plays in the corners and does the little things right. He’s coming here to play hockey. He’s excited for an opportunity and we’re happy to give him a chance to prove himself for next season.
“He might be a bit rusty for the first week or so, but he’s been practising with the RIT team all year so he’s in good shape and is ready to do whatever it takes to make an impression. That’s what we need right now, guys who are excited to work hard and prove themselves.”
Despite the play-offs now looking a forlorn hope for the Elite League’s bottom team, Capitals bosses have promised to complete the season with a full squad and Emmerson is hopeful another player announcement will be made next week. The club are awaiting news on the severity of defenceman Jacob Johnston’s lower body injury which was sustained the last time Edinburgh and Fife met on Hogmanay at Murrayfield, a match the Kirkcaldy outfit won 3-2. However, Emmerson says a replacement of the same calibre as either Hayes or Rutherford is unlikely before next month’s transfer deadline.
“Regarding Jacob’s injury, we’re waiting to get results of an appointment he had with a specialist, and we’re hoping for good news,” said Emmerson. “If he can come back soon we’ll be adding another forward but, if he’s going to be out longer term, we’ll be looking to bring in a defenceman. If a top-quality player is available we’ll be all over it. We’re looking at every option but we need to be quick to get someone in before the transfer deadline, so I expect another new arrival next week.”
On tonight’s Forth derby and tomorrow’s Clan clash, Emmerson continued: “We’ve got to keep the Fife fans out of it because that’s something they really feed off in their building. They’re a really good team off the rush and capitalise on our mistakes. We’re looking to play a good road game, almost make it as boring as we can. Braehead on the other hand are another really good team with three strong lines. They gave us a real hammering the last time we played them, so Sunday is all about redemption.”