Short-benched Edinburgh Capitals are in Challenge Cup action tomorrow night against Fife Flyers in Kirkcaldy but player-coach Michal Dobron insists none of his key men will be risked ahead of their Elite League opener against Manchester Storm at Murrayfield on Sunday (face-off 6pm).
Edinburgh will go into the Forth derby without Ian Schultz, who picked up a lower-body injury in training this week, Garrett Milan and Dobron himself, as all three face a race against time to be fit for Storm’s visit. Capitals’ Scottish National League coach – and fans’ favourite – Martin Cingel, who this summer returned to the club in a dual role that includes injury-cover for the Elite League side, will ice for his first game of the season tomorrow night.
Dobron said: “Both games will be very tough for us, as we have some injuries to contend with. There will be players missing tomorrow, but I have spoken with Martin (Cingel) and he will play. Speaking personally, I’m back skating but the earliest I can hope to play is Sunday. It would be great if we could play at full strength for our first league game but I don’t know if it will be possible.”
Despite player knocks, spirits are high in the Edinburgh dressing-room after back-to-back wins over Braehead Clan kept them in the hunt for a Challenge Cup quarter-final berth.
Dobron, who marshalled his charges from behind the bench in both fixtures, commented: “I was really pleased with the two wins. The guys worked hard for sixty minutes and played the game like we worked on in practice. To be successful, that’s what we have to do, work hard and have players putting the team first in every situation. “Seeing the game from the bench was great for me as a coach. I had time to see what my players were doing, and also got to see the opposition and how they were playing.”
Capitals defenceman Tyler Plews echoed his coaches sentiments. Now in his second year at Murrayfield after coming through the junior ranks at Kirkcaldy, Plews, 19, said: “The boys are pumped. Wednesday night was a huge win for us, on the road as well. It was a tough game. There was a lot of relief, lot’s of smiles and laughing. We’re just all really happy.
“We’ve got a good group of guys in this year who are prepared to work hard and play with a lot of heart. Fully (Travis Fullerton), our goalie, has come in and played three games for us and so far he’s been standing on his head. Everything’s coming together and the more we play together the more it will progress and it’s good to see.”
No longer the baby on the team, Plews has been succeeded by 17-year-old forward Harry Ferguson, who joined the club from SNL side Moray Typhoons in the summer and bagged his first point, an assist, in Wednesday’s 3-2 win in Glasgow.
“He did really well,” said Plews. “I remember it (his Caps debut) from last year. You’re nervous and you kind of get thrown in there and you don’t know what to expect. It’ll have been so much faster than what he is used to, but he kept it simple and even bagged himself an assist so all the boys were happy for him.”
On a personal level, Plews looks to have put his summer break to good effect, enjoying an impressive start to the new campaign. He will also jet off to Slovakia next month for a week-long training camp with the Great Britain Under-20 team.
“I was in Belfast for two weeks at an intense training camp, and I was on the ice throughout the summer and going to the gym. The summer was good, there was plenty time to relax but a lot of hard work went on too. Playing with the national team is an unreal opportunity, It’s my first stint with the GB team so I’m really looking forward to it and excited to get going.”