Edinburgh Capitals skipper gears up for derby
The Murrayfield men are seeking their first away win over Flyers in almost two years, and skipper Martin Cingel is in no doubt over how special victory would be for Caps fans.
He said: “Any game you play on Boxing Day is special. It’s like Hearts against Hibs or Celtic versus Rangers. You hear stories of the big games between teams from Edinburgh and Fife in the Eighties and Nineties and it’s still going on today. It’s like an Old Firm game. You know the stories, but you don’t realise what the atmosphere is like until you play in one. From the first minute, you realise how big this is for the fans, the management and even former players.”
Second-bottom Fife, who are four points ahead of Edinburgh in the standings, will be without suspended American enforcer Matt Nickerson, who was slapped with a 12-game ban for excessive roughness during a feisty recent encounter with Braehead Clan. That prompted Flyers assistant coach Danny Stewart to claim that Fife’s rivalry with the recently-formed Glasgow club is fast overtaking that of more traditional grudge matches against the likes of Edinburgh or Dundee.
Cingel, 37, believes that more rivalries within the Scottish game can only be good for the sport. He said: It’s good for Scottish hockey to have all these rivalries. Obviously, the rivalry we’ve had with Fife has been going on for years. It’s good entertainment which is great for the league and that’s how it’s supposed to be. If it all kicked off between Fife and Braehead and Nickerson took a penalty and can’t play against us, then that’s fine by me.” Edinburgh, who last played ten days ago in a 3-2 home win over Dundee Stars, are looking to be at full strength, with Peter Holecko expecting to start after recovering from a thigh strain. Key to tonight’s game will be how Edinburgh cope with Fife’s high energy forwards, including on-form Bobby Chaumont, who has scored ten goals in his last five games.
Cingel said: “What they do really well is force the net. Any shot on target and they have two or three guys coming in for a rebound. It’s a tactic that pays off so we have to take those rebounds away. Our goalie needs to deflect them to the corners, but mostly it’s on us to do well in the defensive zone. We need to be prepared to take away their sticks, and play the body.”
Capitals player-coach Richard Hartmann is unsure as to how his side will react after a week and a half without a competitive game. “There are two sides to the coin,” he said. “It’s good for the boys to have some time to rest, and have some free time over Christmas; in my three years here it’s the first time we’ve been able to do that. But, although we’ve been practising, we’ve missed the intensity that you only get from playing competitive games.
“It’s not like the break has interrupted a great run of form, though. We had a good win over Dundee, but the day before that we had a terrible time in Hull. One thing’s for sure, Fife games always bring extra emotion and intensity and the Scottish guys get especially pumped up. We will need to be ready to give 100 per cent because if we don’t, they’ll take advantage.”