Edinburgh Capitals were turned over 5-2 by Braehead Clan at Murrayfield on Saturday night, the visitors thoroughly deserved their win to consign Edinburgh, in their only game of the weekend, to their tenth straight defeat.
Admittedly Caps are currently hamstrung by injuries and recent player departures, however, even at full strength something has been missing from the line-up this season, the Murrayfield men winning just three of their 18 competitive games to date. Poor defending, nervous goal-tending and misfiring forwards have all played their part in the horror run.
Coaching staff and club management alike have promised change and new faces, but frustratingly for all concerned, it will take longer than first hoped.
Capitals co-owner, Scott Neil, had been looking to bring in replacements in time for this weekend’s away double-header at Guildford Flames and Cardiff Devils. He was keen to replace Taylor Stefishen and Julius Nyqvist who quit the club last month, but has decided not to make any rushed decisions.
He said: “I’m more frustrated than anyone, we thought we were going to have a pretty good team this year but we need to dismantle it and put it back together in as simple a way as possible.
“I’m not pointing fingers, or blaming certain players, at the end of the day we’ve recruited this team thinking we’re going to have a strong squad, and the simple fact is we’re not competing. We’re not winning games and we have to address that.
“We’ve given them all a pretty big chance, currently we’ve been handcuffed with our injury situation and we’re obviously struggling because of that, but rather than just filling holes we need to sign the right players, otherwise we’ll be back in the same situation pretty quickly.
“We need to find a bit of backbone and toughness for the team, and see how the other guys respond to that. There are players out there, however, there is no one we’ve identified as yet who I think would turn this team round immediately.”
Saturday’s match, with Clan another club which has endured a poor start to the season, opened as you would expect with both teams looking nervous, and creating next to nothing.
The one difference between the sides was the speed of Clan forwards Brendan Brooks and Tyler Scofield. Brooks opened the scoring in the 15th minute after slicing through Capitals’ defence. The same player then laid on the second goal for the visitors, finished by Scofield at 17 minutes and three seconds.
Edinburgh looked to have got back into the game, scoring two goals 90 seconds apart midway through the second period, a power-play marker from Denis Trakhanov, his first for the club, and the equaliser from Marek Tvrdon who raced clear after being set up by Pavel Vorobyev.
However, just as quickly as they had gained parity, Edinburgh threw it away again. Brooks rifled a finish beyond Capitals goalie Pavel Shegalo, straight from a face-off win, and Clan’s Cameron Burt scored a carbon copy of his side’s first two goals to give them a 4-2 lead after 40 minutes.
In truth Caps already looked a beaten team in the third period, Clan out-shooting the hosts 12 to five in the final 20 minutes, and added a well-worked fifth goal, Caps again leaving Shegalo exposed, for Scofield to score.
Edinburgh assistant coach, Jock Hay, asked if had thought Capitals had turned in another lacklustre performance, said: “No it wasn’t lacklustre, but schoolboy errors cost us. Four stupid mistakes.
“It’s all down to our players watching the puck and not picking up their guys. Twice we were caught out with defenceman pinching-in up ice. If guys want to be playing at this level they can’t afford to be making mistakes like that.
“Offensively, we’re creating chances but we just don’t shoot the puck enough. We had good periods of play but they just fizzled out because we were looking for that extra pass, and obviously if you don’t shoot, you don’t score. But defensively is where our real problems lie, we are not going to win shoot-outs 6-5 or 7-6, we can’t win games like that in this league. It’s so important for us to start keeping things tight defensively.”