Capitals confident of flying start despite goalie hold-up
Edinburgh Capitals will begin the ice hockey season without the services of new starting goalie Travis Fullerton but co-owner Scott Neil is confident his team can still get off to a flyer against Dundee Stars at Murrayfield on Sunday night (face-off 6pm).
Canadian star Fullerton will miss the Challenge Cup group match as he waits for his work visa to be approved. However, Caps have completed the signing of Latvian defenceman Rihards Grigors, 24, following a period on trial.
Neil revealed the club are keen to add further to the squad as they look to build “competition for places and injury cover”.
He said: “We are looking forward to our first competitive match of the season, albeit we’ll be missing a big player for us in Travis Fullerton. He was at his biometric appointment on Wednesday so hopefully we’ll have him here soon. We’re confident in time for next weekend.”
Edinburgh now have 15 imports on their books, including SNL coach Martin Cingel, one more than the 14 allowed to ice in a match. However, it is understood the club are still looking to bring in an experienced defenceman.
When asked if further transfer activity is likely, Neil continued: “Yes, I think there are opportunities to do that but we’re also trying to put together as deep a squad as possible to provide injury cover and competition for places and one way to do that is utilise the skills of players who are already living in and around the city.
“I thought Rihards had a good weekend [last week] and showed a lot of commitment and a real willingness to battle. He’ll be in training with us as much as work commitments allow and he looks like he will be a useful asset for us when needed.”
Edinburgh, in their usual Challenge Cup qualifying group of Dundee, Fife Flyers, Belfast Giants, and Braehead Clan, have had a miserable record in the competition, never progressing from the pool stages.
Dundee, who have added to their squad since last weekend with defenceman Joey de Concilys and Italian international forward Tomasso Traversa, will be tough opponents for Caps, who can call upon the speed and skills of returning centre-man Garrett Milan after he arrived in the county earlier this week.
Player-coach Dobron said: “We played well last week (in home-and-away friendly defeats by Stars) but we need time to practise and work on drills. We are still finding out how we play together on the ice, we’re still looking at lines, but I saw enough to know that with a little bit of time we will be a good team. It won’t take long, two weeks maybe. The guys we have are all pros with a good attitude and they know what is required.
“We’re nearly there. I’m certainly happy with what we have. We are still looking for a defenceman, and waiting for our goalie, but we’ll soon be at 100 per cent and we’ll just get better and better.”
Summer signing Matt Tipoff is confident of an improved team performance on Sunday as the new-look Capitals completed their first full week of training together yesterday.
The Canadian winger said: “We will be fine on Sunday. We had two games right away which a lot of teams don’t do, so we came together in a short period of time and we were kind of thrown into those games.
“You could see in the first periods of both we did extremely well, but we lacked just a bit of structure which we didn’t have because we hadn’t practised together.
“So now we’ve had a week to practise that should help eliminate some of the faults you saw in the later periods and help us remain consistent throughout the game.”