Ice hockey: Caps coach wants fans to smile again

Michal Dobron, far left, will be missing for the Caps this weekend. Pic: SMP
Michal Dobron, far left, will be missing for the Caps this weekend. Pic: SMP
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Edinburgh Capitals player-coach Richard Hartmann has urged his team to go all out to put a smile back on their fans’ faces by ending a ten-game losing run this weekend.

Ahead of a double header with Gardiner Conference title-chasers Dundee Stars, Hartmann admitted the task would be made even more difficult without defensive lynchpin Michal Dobron who, after missing last week’s 4-3 loss to Braehead Clan, will be sidelined for at least another week with a knee injury.

Edinburgh, nine points adrift at the foot of the Elite League, travel to Tayside tomorrow, before the two sides clash again at Murrayfield on Sunday (face-off 6pm), and Hartmann said: “We want to play hard for the fans and prove to them that this season has not gone the way we wanted, and make them proud to be Caps’ fans again.

“The position we find ourselves in is not where we should be and we need to show that out on the ice.”

“Of course, Michal is a big loss for us, but it is just impossible that he will be able to play this weekend. I’m hopeful he will be fit next week, but I can’t be sure.”

With the two teams still to play each other four times this year, Edinburgh-based Stars’ player-coach, Jeff Hutchins, promises that struggling Capitals will not be taken lightly as he looks forward to two games he believes could put his team, currently two points behind Conference leaders Hull Stingrays but with four games in hand, in a strong position as they push to be crowned conference winners.

“Last year we found ourselves in a similar position, and perhaps we were guilty of looking at our games in hand as points on the board, which obviously they are not,” said Hutchins, who moved yesterday to replace the recently departed Jerry Pollastrone with the signing of Canadian forward Jack MacLellan. “We’re all well aware that winning both games this weekend puts us in a stronger position.

“Edinburgh plays a patient style that’s different to the rest of the teams in the league, some nights it works for them, other times it doesn’t. They have proven that on their day they can beat anyone and, if we go in there and take them lightly, they usually come out on top.

“I’m really pleased with the MacLellan signing; he’s a skilled player and a very good replacement for Jerry.”