Player-coach Richard Hartmann will use tomorrow’s trip to Kirkcaldy to face Fife Flyers in the Challenge Cup as a chance to experiment, as he attempts to reignite his misfiring Edinburgh Capitals side ahead of Sunday’s Elite League clash with Cardiff Devils at Murrayfield (face-off 6pm).
With five straight defeats in the cup competition, Capitals currently sit bottom of qualification group A, and although a berth in the quarter-finals is still mathematically possible, Hartmann admits to focusing his attention on the league and an appearance in the end of season play-offs.
He said: “For us it’s now about focusing on the league and the play-offs, we have three Challenge Cup games left and we’ll use them to mix up our lines and see what works, we’re still looking for our best combinations, the forwards especially need looked at.
“We’re not scoring enough goals, and of all the problems we have just now that’s what’s giving me the most concern. Last season we went through periods when we weren’t scoring but we still created chances and that’s not happening at the moment.”
Hartmann has welcomed the re-signing of influential defenceman Michal Dobron who arrived in Edinburgh on Tuesday after a proposed move to France fell through.
Hartmann continued: “He’s an important player for us. He brings us experience at the back, he’s a good skater with a good first pass. We needed a player like that – it’s something that’s been missing from our game. With Michal arriving, we’ll be able to play with 11 imports for the first time this season and the fact that we’ll no longer be playing short has allowed me to up the intensity of our training programme. I’ve added some off-ice fitness work which will definitely benefit the guys.
“We couldn’t do that until now as we needed time to recover from little injuries that were being picked up during games. Guys are getting healthy now, although we will still be missing Curtis Leinweber (groin injury). We’ve had a great week in practice and I’m looking forward to our games this weekend.”
While tomorrow’s opponents celebrated their 75th anniversary in style with a selection of Fife Flyers legends taking on the current team in front of a packed house at the Fife Ice Arena on Tuesday, Cardiff arrive in Edinburgh for Sunday’s match on the back of a start to the season that has seen ambitious chairman Paul Ragan threaten to axe long-standing player-coach Gerad Adams if he fails to turn things round. Cardiff have an identical league record to Edinburgh with one win in four games, but seventh-place Edinburgh are one place above them due to a better conference record.
Meanwhile, Dobron, a firm fans’ favourite at Murrayfield last season, has expressed his delight at being back with the Caps after recovering from an injury picked up in summer training that saw top French club Morzine-Avoriaz pull the plug on a 12-month contract. “[Caps co-owner] Scott Neil was in contact with me every month, and he was the first guy I turned to when I was ready to play,” he said.