EDINBURGH CAPITALS co-owner Scott Neil has no interest in seeing his club being potential “spoilsports” in terms of Braehead Clan’s Elite League title ambitions when the two sides meet in two games this weekend.
Ninth-placed Edinburgh – due to having less regulation-time wins than their rivals – are now five points out of a play-off spot with as many games of the season remaining.
Braehead, meanwhile, trail Sheffield Steelers by just a point at the top of the table as they look for their first piece of competitive silverware since they were formed in 2010. In doing so, they’d become the first Scottish club to win the Elite League title.
Neil, speaking ahead of tomorrow’s game at the Braehead Arena and the return fixture at Murrayfield on Sunday, said: “I’m not looking for Edinburgh to be spoilsports. I’m looking for Edinburgh to still be in a position to make the play-offs going into our final games of the season next week. These are huge games for both clubs just at opposite ends of the table.”
“Fife (Flyers) and Hull (Stingrays) are still catchable if they slip up and, come Monday, I want us still to be able to say that. If we can go into next weekend’s games with Dundee Stars in a position where it’s still mathematically possible to make the play-offs, you never know what can happen. All we can do now is put points on the board and see if we can ask the teams above us a question.”
Neil, who as a player won British league titles with Murrayfield Racers and Sheffield Steelers, continued: “We are big underdogs both in terms of these two matches with Braehead and to make the play-offs so we have nothing to lose whereas Clan have a lot riding on these games if they are to win the league. I know from experience as a player, when you’re in the hunt for a championship it’s not easy to get over the line. Let’s see how much pressure we can put them under.”
Despite sounding in bullish mood – Caps have only beaten Clan once in seven attempts this season – Neil admits the 2014-15 campaign has been a disappointment and believes the team he and player-coach Richard Hartmann put together have under achieved. He added: “Next season is in the back of our minds but right now we’re a ninth-placed team and for the team we put together this year I think we should be in the play-offs and not find ourselves in this position.
“For a number of reasons we’ve not been consistent enough. We’ve played in bursts whether good or bad and, when we got ourselves in a good position earlier in the season, lost to teams we shouldn’t have and that momentum left us.
“We have an assessment to make and, looking ahead, we need to improve – no doubt about that. We don’t want to be fighting for a play-off spot like this every year – we’ve just got to get better.”