Capitals can’t afford to ‘play pond hockey’

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Edinburgh Capitals forward Paul Zanette has revealed “a lot has been worked on” following last Sunday’s 11-9 loss at home to Dundee Stars.

Capitals prepare to welcome Cardiff Devils to Murrayfield tonight in their first outing since blowing an 8-5 lead and shipping six goals in a dismal third-period defensive display against Stars last Sunday night. The loss of two vital league points could be crucial in what is sure to be a down-to-the-wire race for an end-of-season Elite League play-off spot.

As the postmortem was conducted this week amongst the Caps’ faithful, the performance of the usually excellent netminder Carsen Chubak and a late 2+10 checking-from-behind penalty picked up by tough defenceman Kyle Flemington came under scrutiny. But Italian internationalist Zanette, who has missed the last six games with a lower body injury, is perhaps in the best position to offer his thoughts on the 
20-goal thriller because he watched from behind the bench.

“I just don’t think either team was good defensively, systems weren’t being executed and it turned into pond hockey and a “last goal wins” type of game, and unfortunately it wasn’t us.

“You cant blame individuals, it’s a six-man game. When a goalie gives up ten goals (Dundee scored their 11th goal into an empty net) you can’t say he played a good game. In his defence we didn’t give him any help starting from the forwards not back-checking and defencemen not having good gaps and playing soft in our end. Its a full team effort.

“We watched the video, we identified a lot of things we need to work on but also identified some things we did well. I thought “G” (Trevor Gerling), Rudy (David Rutherford) and (Nate) Fleming were unbelievable, they scored something like five or six goals and were only on the ice for one against.

“A lot of it’s just down to tightening things up. If we have a two or three-goal lead we don’t need to be stick-handling through guys, we just need to get the puck deep, fore-check and not take risks.

“There are a few things that are going to be changed, which we’ve been working on this week. I didn’t think as a team we were that bad but we had some breakdowns that cost us.

Edinburgh have struggled away from Murrayfield but have been impressive at home this season, winning eight out of their last ten games including a 6-2 win over Cardiff, who trail first placed Nottingham Panthers by two points.

However, the absence of Zanette, widely regarded as the club’s best two-way forward, through an injury picked up after he made a huge effort to return early from international duty to ice for Caps’ in their 7-5 win over Sheffield Steelers last month, is becoming increasingly costly.

“Things are alright, but its a sensitive injury,” said Zanette. “I’ve been doing my physio every day and I’ve been speaking with the doctor and although we have a couple of dates we’re aiming for we’re not rushing it.

“It’s an injury that can re-occur and if I do it again I’ll be out for the rest of the season so I wont be back till I’m 100 per cent. As a group we’ve been working hard to prepare for tonight’s game and also Sunday at Braehead, which are sure to be two tough games against two powerhouse teams.”