Edinburgh Capitals head coach Dmitri Khristich insists his team will continue to battle against adversity against Braehead Clan at Murrayfield on Saturday in their one and only game of the weekend (face-off 6pm).
Short-benched Edinburgh’s injury crisis shows no sign of abating, with Juris Upitis, Sergei Banashkov, Dylan Anderson and team captain Michael D’Orazio all likely to miss out, whilst a game-day decision will be made regarding Dillon Lawrence, who underwent surgery to repair a broken nose this week.
Weary Caps rounded off a winless stretch of nine games in 15 days with a spirited 4-3 home defeat to Belfast Giants last Sunday and Khristich said: “The players that played all those games, they’re very tired. All they can do to recover is be smart and take care of themselves properly. We have what we have, and we’re preparing for the Clan game as usual.
“It’s difficult though. On Wednesday, we had only ten guys at practice – the others are either injured, working or at university. When it’s like that we can’t really work on tactics, just two-on-two, or three-on-three battles, which in fairness is something we have to get better at and needed to work on. “Our team is facing a lot of adversity right now, but we will deal with it.”
Capitals’ quirky training schedule – practice is as late as 9pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with afternoon sessions on Wednesdays and Fridays – clearly irks Khristich, who continued: “That’s a time for amateurs to practice not professionals. Tuesday, we’d not long turned the clocks back and it felt even worse. It was like everybody was getting ready to go to bed and we started to practice. Again, this is a reality we have to deal with and so far we’ve not succeeded very well.”
The only solace Capitals fans can take from what has been an horrendous start to the season is perhaps these tough times are bringing the team closer together, evidenced by Sunday’s performance, pushing Belfast all the way despite having five imports out either injured or suspended. However, for the good of the club this cannot be allowed to continue and team co-owner Scott Neil has promised replacements for Taylor Stefishen and Julius Nyqvist, who quit Murrayfield last month. Speaking to the Evening News last week, Neil was hopeful of announcing new faces in time for next weekend’s away double header at Guildford Flames and current Elite League champions Cardiff Devils.
It’s obvious Khristich is desperate for reinforcements but, with the season now in full swing, he admits it’s a difficult time to bring players to the club, and that the final decision on when and who that will be is not his to make.
Asked how the search was progressing, Khristich said: “I’ve talked about it (with Neil) and, yes, we need to make some changes. I’m involved in the conversation but I’m not the one who’s getting hold of these players. It’s a better question for someone else.
“It’s difficult because the players we know already have jobs, and we’re looking at guys that for one reason or another are not playing just now. I can’t give you a definite answer, the one thing I will say is we need players here, and I want them here.”