Using video footage to scout opponents and review their own performances has played a big part in Edinburgh Capitals’ recent good form, according to Michael D’Orazio.
Capitals are preparing for a “huge” game at Coventry Blaze tomorrow before completing their weekend with a home match against Manchester Storm at Murrayfield on Sunday (face-off 6pm).
Edinburgh sit six points outside a play-off place, the last of which is occupied by Coventry, although Caps have four games in hand over Blaze with 20 Elite League matches still to play.
By winning two of their last three games, Capitals look like a team who have turned a corner and, judging by the whooping and stick-banging heard in practice this week, they sound like one too.
D’Orazio said: “It’s a big game for us. We’re going to have to be up for it. We’ve been preparing all week and we’re looking at some video of them which is something we’ve been doing of late and it’s been working, so we’ll keep doing it. The boys are upbeat and hopefully we can get it done.
“The video footage is something we brought in a couple of weeks ago. We’ve been trying to correct our ‘D’ zone for a while. When you’re giving criticism to a player right after a mistake there are emotions involved and sometimes it can work against what you’re trying to achieve. So sitting back and watching from another angle, you actually see it, there’s evidence of what you’re doing and it helps you learn not to make those same mistakes again.
“We’re plying some good hockey right now, defensively especially. Their high guy has been an issue in our defensive zone for a long time. They’ve been hitting that guy high in the slot and getting goals that way. We’ve now got a system in play that eliminates that player. When everyone works towards the same goal, it’s amazing what you can achieve.”
Edinburgh will have the luxury of a full-strength squad tomorrow, but D’Orazio expects Blaze to be a much tougher opponent than the team who lost twice at Murrayfield earlier this season. They now boast two of the hottest players in the league, cousins Barry Almeida and TJ Syner, who were added to the squad after a disappointing start to the campaign from Danny Stewart’s men.
D’Orazio added: “We have a lot of first-year pros here who have never played in that rink before, so there’s going to be an adjustment to make in the first period which might take five or ten minutes, but after that we should be fine.
“It’s going to be different without our fans there. We hear them all the time behind our bench, and they are our heartbeat. At the same time, we’ve got to go there and silence their crowd right off the bat. The first goal is important. If we manage that, we get some confidence and get rolling.
“It’s a huge game. We need those two points. If we get them, it will make things a lot easier. It will go down as a failure if we lose, but regardless of the result it’s not the end of the line for us. We still have a chance of the play-offs and we’re going to keep pushing for it.”
D’Orazio, who was signed on a two-year deal in the summer in conjunction with his Masters in Business at Heriot-Watt University, has quickly earned a reputation as a leader on the team, cutting an imposing figure on the Edinburgh blue-line and weighing in with seven goals and 22 assists in all competitions this season.
D’Orazio explained: “I speak up a lot in the locker room, I always have and have been a leader in every team I’ve played on. I like to voice my opinion. Sometimes guys like it, sometimes they don’t.
“We have a job to do out there on the ice and when it’s not being done someone has to step up and say something. It’s always constructive and they all know that, and we always work things out as team-mates. That sort of stuff is kept in the locker room and, in my experience, helps brings teams closer together.”