Player-coach Richard Hartmann is adamant his struggling Edinburgh Capitals side are making progress ahead of tomorrow’s Elite League clash away to Gardiner Conference rivals Hull Stingrays, but warned fans not to expect a dramatic change in fortune overnight.
With the new ice hockey season two weeks old, Edinburgh have lost all four of their matches, including a 10-3 home defeat by Sheffield Steelers last weekend and Hartmann said: “The guys have been working hard and I’m seeing signs that we’re starting to loosen up a bit, pass the puck better and move faster. I watched the tape of the Sheffield game and I thought we actually battled hard for 60 minutes, but didn’t get the basics right and when that happens you’re not going to beat anyone.
“Our players need to start believing that the system we play works. I can’t just wave a magic wand that will make us a better team overnight, but once we start to believe in ourselves, our game will change completely.”
Hartmann knows his troops will be in for a tough time at the Hull Arena, but revealed he will not be asking his players to keep an extra close eye on Stingrays’ star man Jeremie Tendler.
The sharp-shooting Canadian led the league in scoring last season and this year already has five goals in four starts.
Hartmann explained: “I’m not a fan of singling out a guy like that because the game is never just about one or two players. We need to focus on not just one man, or one line, but the whole team. Yes, there might be a guy who scores the goal, but they are all working together and that is what you need to stop. We don’t need to be scared of anyone, we just need to concentrate on our own game and we’ll be all right.”
The Capitals complete their weekend with a Challenge Cup game at Murrayfield against Dundee Stars (face-off 6pm), which could see the home debut of new Edinburgh signing Les Reaney after the club received confirmation that the Canadian’s visa application had been successful.
Capitals co-owner Scott Neil said: “Les was notified last night that he will receive his visa within the next 72 hours. There’s a chance he could even get it today, and if that’s the case we’ve sourced flights that would get him over in time for one, if not both, of our games this weekend.”
Edinburgh’s only other doubt for the weekend, home-grown forward Jordan Steel, who injured his shoulder in the season opener against Belfast Giants, will make the journey south with the rest of the squad for tomorrow’s game after team medical staff rated his chances of being fit enough to play as 50-50.
Steel said: “I’ve been back training this week, and I’ll receive some treatment today, but to be honest it’s still feeling a wee bit sore, so we’ll see where we are. I hate sitting out, and sometimes it can be difficult to watch the guys from the stand, but the Doc reminded me it’s a long season and it’s better to miss a few games at the start and let it fully heal than to come back too early.”
Meanwhile, new Czech signing Tomas Horna, who scored his first goal for the club in Sunday’s 4-2 loss to Nottingham Panthers, revealed he is looking forward to the season ahead after he almost quit the game through injury.
The forward, who has played five times for his country, said: “In my first few games here I know we’ve played some of the country’s top teams and the level of hockey has impressed me. Playing in the UK is a new experience for me and it will take a little time for me to adjust to the British game.
“My career stalled a couple of years ago when I picked up a couple of bad injuries and I almost gave up hockey completely. I’m better now, and I’m just happy to be back playing and looking forward to helping the team play good hockey in any way I can, as well as hopefully scoring a few goals.”