Edinburgh Capitals’ stand-in player/coach Michael D’Orazio should be offered the job on a permanent basis, according to one of the squad’s veteran players.
Netminder Kevin Forshall, who has been at the Murrayfield club for 16 years, believes D’Orazio has proved himself in the role since replacing former NHL star Dmitri Khristich in December.
Despite only chalking up four wins in 41 Elite League games and being faced with an exodus of players – seven have either quit or been released – D’Orazio has, to an extent, galvanised a squad shorn of confidence and lacking in the depth needed to compete with the best teams in Britain over a gruelling season.
However, the Canadian’s efforts have not gone unnoticed within the dressingroom and Forshall said: “To be fair, since Raz has taken over the coaching, he’s turned the team around with what we have left. He’s very technical, he knows the game and he’s good at getting across to the guys what he wants.
“He runs great practices. Under Dmitri we were always slowing things down, almost losing the momentum. I’m the least fit guy on the team and I would come off after practice not even breaking sweat, but now I feel like I need the shower and we’ve only just warmed up.
Asked whether D’Orazio should have his contract extended and build a team for next season, Forshall said: “I don’t know what his plans are. He’s been here two years now, maybe he wants to go back home to play or start a career. If we offered him the job, at least he’s had a wee taste of it.
“I think he would be a very good coach, especially if he had an input on who we bring in and he gets to work with the guys he wants, I think it would be good for the club.
“(In terms of player recruitment) I think we need to reset, take a different approach and get back to bringing over North American college guys who play hard and are here trying to build up their CV and go onto better things. The North American style suits this league, rather than the more skilled Russian style. When you play like that here you just get bullied off the puck.”
Things don’t get any easier on the ice for the Caps over the next 48 hours. They travel south to face Sheffield Steelers tonight before moving on to Milton Keynes Lightning tomorrow evening.
“Tonight and tomorrow are going to be tough,” added Forshall. “We’re obviously short of players anyway and have a few more out injured, but we’ve been down to places like Sheffield before with a short bench and beaten them. We just need to stick together and we have a chance.”