EDINBURGH CAPITALS player-coach Riley Emmerson is hopeful key forward Paul Zanette wil return for this weekend’s crucial Gardiner conference match-up with Braehead Clan.
The Italian international forward has missed the last nine games with a lower body injury but is in contention to play at Murrayfield on Sunday (5.30pm). In Edinburgh’s only match of the weekend, Emmerson is looking to simplify his gameplan against the Glasgow outfit, admitting Capitals were not at the races in Wednesday’s 6-1 loss at Sheffield Steelers.
A frustrated Emmerson claimed his short-benched side – who have only iced a full-strength squad in two of their 31 games played this season – were mentally rundown. He said: “We weren’t taking care of the puck in our last match against Sheffield and those turnovers really cost us.
“We’ve been playing short for a month and a half now and I think it’s really starting to take its toll.
“Guys are mentally rundown and we checked out before the game even started on Wednesday. We went over our gameplan, we knew how we had to play, but just didn’t execute. We were trying to do too much ourselves. We really need to simplify things against Braehead and go from there. The aim is to get as close as we can to a mistake-free sixty minutes and that starts with keeping things simple and getting pucks deep.”
Caps have struggled away from home this season with only two wins from 16 games. They will be relieved to be back playing at Murrayfield where they have fared far better, winning nine of their last 11.#
Emmerson continued: ”Once we get our players back, we’ll be fine but it’s concerning that we’re losing so many points on the road.
“We’ve been doing great at home – which seems to be a common theme – but the league is so close that we’re going to need to keep up this home form and learn to take some of it on the road with us.”
Sunday’s game will feature the club’s first-ever “Teddy Toss”, with soft toys thrown over the plexiglass and onto the ice – traditionally straight after the home team’s first goal is scored – donated to Forth One’s Mission Christmas appeal.
Emmerson continued: “If we can get off to a good start and get our teddy toss going in front of a big crowd it should make for a great atmosphere and that can really help us.
“Hopefully, we’ll have Paul Zanette back in the line-up as well. It’s going to be a game-day decision for him. He’s a heart-and-soul guy for this team who does everything.
“It would be huge to have him back. He’ll give us a bit of a spark and offer a ton of leadership as well.”