Despite coming off the back of two defeats last weekend, Edinburgh Capitals player-coach Michal Dobron is confident his players will ensure the race for a play-off spot goes right down to the wire.
Edinburgh travel to Dundee Stars tonight sitting bottom of the ten-strong Elite League, six points behind Coventry Blaze, who currently occupy eighth place and the final play-off berth.
Dobron refused to say that tonight was “must win” for the Murrayfield outfit. However, realistically two points is a necessity against ninth-placed Stars in the Caps’ only game this week.
“In our situation, all our games are important, not just tonight,” said Dobron. “We won in Dundee the last time we played and, if we concentrate on our game and cut out the mistakes we have been making in the defensive zone, we can win there again. Dundee are a good team with some good skaters and skilled players, but we know how we need to play against them. It’s just a matter of concentrating on that.”
For Dobron, concentration is the key ingredient that has perhaps been missing too often for his team this season. It was lacking once again in last Saturday’s 7-5 loss at Braehead Clan. Edinburgh followed that up with a much more solid all-round display at home to Sheffield Steelers on Sunday, but were beaten 3-0 by the visitors.
Dobron said: “Last weekend, I would say we were involved in two very different games. In Braehead, we didn’t play well. We gave them seven goals. We made it easy for them. I told the guys after the game if we score five goals in Braehead – or anywhere – we shouldn’t be losing hockey games.
“Sunday we played much better, especially defensively, but couldn’t convert our chances.
“We are a young team, who are learning game by game, and you’ve seen when we manage to focus for 60 minutes we pick up points.”
“Of course, the play-offs are still there for us. We have 13 games left and there are only a few points in it. We will keep fighting until the very end and we’ll see where it takes us.”
Edinburgh have no injury worries ahead of tonight’s clash and, with Caps carrying an extra import this season, Latvian defenceman Rihards Grigors looks set to miss out as he did over the two weekend defeats.
Grigors, who moved to Scotland last year, and lives and works in Livingston, has iced in 25 games this season. He hasn’t looked out of place, leading to some fans questioning that, if Edinburgh have the luxury of a full-strength squad to pick from, should Grigors – signed as injury cover just a week before the start of the season – automatically be the man to miss out?
Asked whether he would consider using Grigors ahead of another import, and whether he had any concerns over the form of any of Edinburgh’s players, Dobron said: “We signed Ritchie (Grigors) as an extra import. Right now we are at full strength. We will not be making any changes for tonight’s game.
“Hockey is a team game, it’s not about individuals. The first thing is always to make sure we play well as a team. Only as a result of that will individuals within the team play well and have success.”