Hartmann on thin ice but says Caps will ‘come good’

Capitals' Riley Emmerson is closely shadowed by the Sheffield defence during the Edinburgh side's 10-2 defeat on Saturday. Pic: Jan Orkisz/SMP
Capitals' Riley Emmerson is closely shadowed by the Sheffield defence during the Edinburgh side's 10-2 defeat on Saturday. Pic: Jan Orkisz/SMP
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Under-pressure player-coach Richard Hartmann remains defiant that he can turn things around at Edinburgh Capitals.

The Murrayfield side crashed 5-2 at rivals Fife Flyers in Kirkcaldy last night, making it 13 games without a win.

Speaking after the latest setback, Hartmann said: “I have a difficult job in front of me. We are a club in crisis, but I am trying my best to fix it and get this team together.

“Once we’re on the same page we will start to come good, of that I am sure. It sounds crazy to say but with a couple of wins we will be back in the play-off race. With support from everybody involved with the club, we can get ourselves out of this.”

Edinburgh, missing four players through injury, drafted in Scottish National League forward Sean Donaldson for his first start of the season. The 27-year-old fitted in well on a line with Jordan Steel and Callum Boyd, Hartmann admitting that together they contributed more than some of the team’s more illustrious imported players.

“They did well. In fact they played better than our first-line. They did their job, and drew penalties, but as a team we have a lot we need to work on,” he said: “Right now we are playing two different styles. Some of the guys are starting to play the way I would like them to but others are just not getting it.

“We’re starting to make mistakes you didn’t see at the beginning of the season, but sometimes it’s hard to be too critical of the players because we have been struggling with injuries for two months now and everybody has been over-played. Nobody is getting the chance to heal their bumps and bruises between games. The guys are dead on their feet and it’s affecting their concentration.”

Hartmann added: “In terms of bringing in reinforcements or making changes, you’re talking to the wrong guy. I’m trying my best to improve things but unfortunately there are things I can do nothing about.”

Edinburgh, trying to bounce back from Saturday’s embarrassing 10-2 home capitulation to Sheffield Steelers, which included losing seven goals in the third period, took the lead just past the four-minute mark. Good play behind the net from Rene Jarolin and Riley Emmerson found Daniel Naslund, who had time to place his shot past Flyers’ goalie Kevin Regan.

Naslund missed a glorious short-handed chance to double the lead before Flyers roared back with two goals just 14 seconds apart to take a 2-1 first-period lead through Scott Fleming and the first of a straight hat-trick from man-of-the-match Chris Auger.

Edinburgh played their best hockey of the match in the second period, Jarolin and Greg Collins forcing fine saves from Regan, before Dennis Rix had a power-play goal chopped off. Referee Toby Craig deemed it had been kicked over the line. Crucially, the only goal of the period went to the home side in the 36th minute. Some quick thinking and a long aerial pass from former Capitals defenceman Kyle Horne led to a two-on-one break finished by Auger. The same player put the game to bed nine minutes from time when he scored the goal of the night, rifling home a shot on the power-play after a move of at least 20 passes eventually pulled the Capitals penalty killers apart. Jarolin for the Caps and Flyers’ Danny Stewart thereafter traded late goals to complete the scoring.

Edinburgh’s basement rivals Dundee Stars caused the upset of the weekend in the Elite league with a 4-2 home win over Sheffield Steelers. The result sees Dundee go above Edinburgh who prop up the table.