Edinburgh CAPITALS’ player-coach Richard Hartmann is fully concentrated on taking maximum points ahead of his side’s fixtures this weekend, despite missing star goalie Tomas Hiadlovsky, whose five game ban for kicking out at Hull Stingray’s Sylvain Cloutier was confirmed by the Elite League disciplinary committee earlier this week.
Caps travel to Wales tomorrow for a first meeting of the season with the Cardiff Devils, before returning home to Murrayfield on Sunday for a crunch Challenge Cup match up with the Dundee Stars (face off 6pm).
Hartman said: “Tomas knows he shouldn’t have done it. However it’s in the past now, there’s nothing we can do about it, so it’s not something we’re thinking about. We have to concentrate on our next game; we’re focusing on what’s in front of us.”
In Hiadlovsky’s absence, teenage reserve net-minder Craig Holland will continue between the pipes, and Hartmann believes his young stopper will draw on experience gained from covering for last season’s number one, Nathan Craze, during a short injury lay off. “Craig came through a similar situation last year, he knows what’s in front of him, and it’s up to us to give him as much support as possible,” he said.
Saturday’s match in Cardiff, the smallest ice pad in the UK’s top flight, will be the first time the Capitals’ have pitted their wits against a team from the big-spending Erhardt Conference in this season’s new-look Elite League, and will see them reunited with ex-Capitals forward Bari McKenzie, who was snapped up by Devils player-coach Gerard Adams in the summer.
Hartmann continued: “We will play the same way; the major difference with their small rink is we will need to pass the puck quickly so we don’t get hit in possession and put ourselves under pressure. So we will need to keep skating and move the puck faster, that’s important.”
Edinburgh will continue to be without defenceman Willie Nicolson, who is recovering after dislocating his shoulder against Dundee earlier this month. Hartmann refused to comment on the long term future of Slovakian blue-liner Juraj Senko after he completed a two week trial contract with the club, but it is understood negotiations are ongoing to extend the 27-year-old’s stay at Murrayfield.
Hartmann knows his side face an uphill struggle to make the quarter-final stages of the Challenge Cup, and many see Sunday’s group game with Dundee Stars as a must-win.
He said: “Any game we play we want to win, and we will do everything we can to get it. We’re not thinking about whether we need to win this to make the next round; we’re playing to win regardless, that’s the way we will get our confidence up.
“These are the games we need to win, especially at home. I’m okay with how the team is progressing, but there is a lot of work still to be done before I can say that we’re where we need to be.”