EDINBURGH CAPITALS completed a wretched weekend with a 5-0 home defeat to Elite League leaders Braehead Clan at Murrayfield last night – a result overshadowed by the pre-game sacking of defenceman Joe Grimaldi for what club co-owner Scott Neil described as “wholly unacceptable behaviour”.
Grimaldi amassed 67 minutes in penalties for an incident during the third period of Saturday’s 6-1 loss at Nottingham Panthers, including a check to the head, thereafter spearing and throwing his helmet into the face of Panthers forward Max Parent, who, in retaliation to the initial hit on team-mate Evan Mosey, challenged Grimaldi to fight.
The club announced the news that Grimaldi, who joined the club in the summer from the Italian side Valpellice, had been released prior to last night’s face-off.
Neil said: “You learn by your mistakes, we hold our hands up and I’m sure that even Joe – who no doubt is a talented hockey player – knows that his behaviour was wholly unacceptable.”
The league’s Department of Player Safety is currently reviewing the incident and Neil admits he does not know what punishment will be dished out to the club.
Neil continued: “It’s inexcusable. A lot of people won’t have seen anything like that before and it’s hard to determine what will be taken from it. We’ll need to take our medicine and move on.
“The initial hit I don’t think was too bad. The spearing ... I don’t really think there was an attempt to hurt the player.
“The one thing that I’m not sure about is the helmet throwing.
“There was an incident in Coventry last year where a player threw his helmet and only got a one-game suspension.
“I really don’t know what to expect to be honest, but one thing’s for sure, we need to build up confidence in the squad again as everyone’s on a bit of a downer.” Edinburgh will now be restricted to a maximum of 11 imports for the duration of any suspension served on Grimaldi, and the severity of the ban will determine whether Neil moves for a replacement prior to the door closing on player transfers at the end of the month.
Asked whether the club were in a position to add to the squad before the end of the month, he said: “Perhaps. Right now we need to settle the team down that we have, find out what the ban is and then we’ll see where we stand.
“Even though we’re going through a very bad run, the guys we have in the dressing room have proven that they can win in this league – and it’s paramount we find that form again. “Just a few weeks ago we were talking about how we had built up momentum, but we seem to have lost it as quickly as we found it.”
Meanwhile, last night Edinburgh couldn’t live with the intensity of red-hot leaders Braehead who, with their comfortable 5-0 victory open up a four point gap over Sheffield Steelers at the top of the table.
Capitals’ Callum Boyd – who brought the crowd to their feet when he went toe-to-toe in a fight with Clan heavyweight and double goal scorer Leigh Salters – admitted that it’s been a very difficult weekend for the club.
“It’s not been the best, said Boyd. We need to find a way to get the puck in the net.
“We’re creating chances in every game – we just can’t put them away.
“We’ve had a tough time recently, but the vibe in the dressing room is good and we can turn this around.
“I’m glad my fight gave the fans something to enjoy, but we’re working hard to make this right, and once we click then things will come good again.”