Edinburgh Capitals squad ordered to get low down and dirty
Edinburgh Capitals begin a run of seven Elite League games in just 11 days, starting with a home match against Sheffield Steelers at Murrayfield tonight (face-off 7.30pm).
Assistant coach Jock Hay has told his players they must be willing to “play hard in the dirty areas” if they are to overcome a disappointing start to the season which continued with two losses last weekend.
Hay believed Edinburgh lacked intensity in Sunday’s 3-1 home defeat by league leaders Manchester Storm and insisted that can’t afford to continue against second-placed Sheffield this evening.
Hay said: “There’s no intensity, there’s no aggression in our play. If you’re not willing to play tough as a team, you’ll be in for a hard time. You have to work hard to get the puck, and half our team are not willing to go the front of the net, the corners – the dirty areas – to battle for it.
“There’s not going to be any easy games for us this season, but Sheffield are always one of the top sides in the league. It’s going to be a tough game, for sure.”
Following Sunday’s loss to Manchester, Edinburgh’s Dylan Anderson – speaking to the Evening News – called on the club to bring in an enforcer after Caps failed to effectively combat Manchester’s simple, physical approach.
Edinburgh, who will be missing captain Michael D’Orazio, who left the game after a check-to-the-head on Sunday and Taylor Stefishen, who suffered an injury in Saturday’s 5-3 loss to Braehead, may be boosted by a return to action for Igor Valeyev who missed both games last weekend through illness.
Caps already have 16 imports in their squad, two more than the 14 allowed to ice in a match and, asked his opinion as to whether Edinburgh need to bring in some toughness, Hay continued: “If you have a tough guy that’s great, but he’s still got to be able to play hockey. We’re not the sort of club who can afford to pay a guy just to fight.
“A tough guy, who has decent skills as well, if we could bring in somebody like that it could be good. But we’re not renowned for making changes.”
However, Hay believes there is no need to ring the changes just yet to see improvement on the ice, which he feels can be achieved through a change in attitude plus hard work.
He said: “One guy is not going to make a difference to our team. One guy is not going to be able to win the puck in the corners and stand in front of the opposition goalie all night. We need to do that as a team. That’s the way we need to play. If we don’t we’re not going to have much success.
“We’ve got to compete for pucks. It’s not about going out and fighting people, it’s about toughness in your play. If there’s a puck to be won on the boards, you’ve got to battle for it, and we don’t seem to have enough of that at the moment.
“We’re quite happy to pass the puck about and stay on the outside, and not get our hands dirty in front of the net or in the corners.
“We allow the defenceman to face the ice the whole time. We need to turn them so their facing their goalie. That’s when mistakes happen. Again, to do that you need to work the puck down low and in the corners.
“We won’t come up against any team where you don’t have to work hard for your goals, and we’re not working hard enough.
“They’ve all got the skills and the tools to go out and do it. We’ve just got to get them believing that that’s the way they need to go out and play.”
• ANY Hearts, Hibs, Edinburgh Rugby or Edinburgh Monarchs season-ticket holder can buy a ticket for tonight’s game for just £5 on production of your season ticket at the box office. All child ticket prices are £1 tonight, and on Sunday, October 22 against Milton Keynes Lightning (face-off 6pm), as part of Capitals’ kids for a quid week.