Struggling Edinburgh Capitals go into the first of this weekend’s two games against biggest rivals Fife Flyers still without a replacement for recent departure and top scorer Marek Tvrdon.
Caps travel to Kirkcaldy today and face Flyers at Murrayfield tomorrow (face-off 6pm).
They are in serious need of some Christmas cheer in what has been a disastrous first three months of the season, having recording just three Elite League wins from 19 games.
Edinburgh have crashed out in the group stages of the Challenge Cup and are seven points adrift at the foot of the 12-strong table, despite recent wins over Coventry Blaze and Dundee Stars.
In short, Capitals desperately need the new signings fans were promised after three players – defenceman Julius Nyqvist and forwards Duncan Speirs and Taylor Stefishen – quit in October. Under-performing Russian, former KHL centre Alexander Islamov, was also released from his contract.
Edinburgh have since given a more prominent role to 21-year-old forward Michael Ireland, who began the season with their Scottish National League side, and brought back Latvian defenceman Nikita Kolesnikovs for a second spell with the club. However, the loss of Tvrdon, who asked to return home to Slovakia after hearing of a family illness, compounds the repercussions Capitals now face for failing to dip into the transfer market when the need arose.
Due to this year’s addition to the league of Milton Keynes Lightning and Guildford Flames, Edinburgh’s small squad will play at least 62 games across all regular season competitions, far more than any other European league of a similar standard. The Caps are currently on course for their third straight last-placed finish of the single tier Elite League and now have three fewer experienced professional players on their books than when the season got underway in September.
Earlier this month, the club announced that it us undergoing a “corporate restructure”, but fans have become increasingly frustrated at what they perceive as a lack of communication in terms of player recruitment and restructure and what it means in terms of the future of the Edinburgh Capitals.
Albeit, a spokesperson this week did give assurances to the Evening News and appealed to fans for patience until the process of the restructure is complete. Edinburgh are understood to be in the market for at least one new player, with it being a question of when, not if, he arrives.
Speaking ahead of today’s game in Kirkcaldy, Capitals’ defenceman Tyler Plews said: “We haven’t heard anything, as much as the fans really. It’s just a waiting game for us. Hopefully we get somebody in soon.”
Caps lost 5-3 at home to current league champions Cardiff Devils on Wednesday in a committed performance, bar a poor two-minute spell late in the second period in which they conceded three goals.
Plews continued: “We can definitely take positives from that game. We were 2-0 up, playing well and taking our chances, but we let in one soft goal and our heads went down a little bit.
“We’re still missing one or two guys, but we gave a soft one away and didn’t pick ourselves back up from it and that shouldn’t have happened.”
Plews, a product of the Fife junior system before joining Edinburgh at 17 three years ago, added: “I certainly pay more attention to them than any other team, but Edinburgh are my home team now.
“Fife look really good this season. They won against Cardiff, and recently down in Nottingham, they’ve got a great work ethic.
“We’ve had two good days of practice (since the Cardiff game), we just need to take each period as it comes and hopefully we’ll play well.
“It’s going to be tough but, whatever the result Sunday is a new day, we always play good at Murrayfield, and I’m looking forward to both games against them.”
Meanwhile, tomorrow’s match will see Edinburgh Capitals Supporters Club’s third annual Teddy Toss, with fans encouraged to bring a new stuffed toy to throw on to the ice after Edinburgh’s first goal, with all toys being donated to Cash for Kids’ Mission Christmas campaign.