Edinburgh Capitals have signed Czech forward Jaroslav Cesky on a short-term contract as cover for Martin Cingel, who aggravated an upper body injury in training and will not play in the two games this weekend.
The 35-year-old winger has spent the last five seasons playing in the English Premier League, scoring 154 goals and averaging 1.5 points per game. Cesky was released by Peterborough Phantoms last month and has since played two games for Cardiff Devils, who Edinburgh play at Murrayfield on Sunday (face-off 6pm).
Capitals joint-owner Scott Neil said: “He will fly up this morning and train with the boys today. Martin has been bothered with an injury and as the week progressed it’s flared up and he will not be fit to play this weekend.”
Cesky, who, prior to his time in the UK, spent his entire playing career in North America, comes to the club after Neil received a glowing reference from his cousin, evergreen Manchester Pheonix player-coach Tony Hand. “I’ve heard good things about him,” Neil continued, “and he will be with us at least until Martin recovers. We are entering a vital stretch of games and we felt it was important to do everything we could to put a full-strength team on the ice.”
After four straight defeats, injured Capitals captain Cingel admits his team are in need of a winning run and is looking for that to begin tomorrow night when they travel to Tayside, in a game televised live on Premier Sports, to face-off against Dundee Stars, currently second in the Elite League.
Cingel said: “A purple patch. That’s what we need if we want to make the play-offs – five or six games in a row where we pick up points. We still have some tough games. We play Coventry away twice, and we still have to go to Sheffield and Cardiff. I think this team has it in them to go to these places and get something. Last year we beat every team in the league at least once, and even this season we’ve beaten everybody apart from Sheffield and Cardiff and I’m looking for that statistic to change on Sunday.
“We need to keep battling hard because every point matters to us. If you look at the table realistically, everybody’s already out of sight apart from Fife and Cardiff and the three of us are fighting for that final play-off spot”.
Cingel is under no illusions that picking up a positive result in the Dundee Ice Arena will be no mean feat.
He said: “We played against them in a pre-season friendly and after that match I said ‘that team’s going to finish in the top four’. The league table doesn’t lie. Everybody has found Dundee a very difficult place to go to this year.”
“I believe when you beat one of the top teams it gives you a tremendous confidence boost and you can go on a run. Hull picked up a scrappy win and then went on to win six in a row and now they are four points out of second place. We have the capacity to do something similar and it’s what we need.”
Cingel admits last Sunday’s 7-2 home defeat by runaway league leaders Belfast Giants – which included six Giants goals in the opening 20 minutes – was sore to swallow, but with short-benched Edinburgh only able to ice three fit defencemen, to remain competitive with a team 17 points clear at the top of the table was always going to be difficult.
“It was hard to take,” he said. “They are a really good team, the best we’ve played this year by miles. To lose the first period 6-1 doesn’t happen too often. We have to take it on the chin and move on.”
The two players missing from the Belfast defeat, former Czech international defenceman Michal Dobron and utility player Neil Hay, both took a full part in training and barring any reaction will play tomorrow.