Ice Hockey: Edinburgh Capitals have ‘one-shot’ to capture a big name

Edinburgh's Richard Hartmann's shot is blocked by Braehead's Garrett Zemlack
Edinburgh's Richard Hartmann's shot is blocked by Braehead's Garrett Zemlack
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Edinburgh Capitals team co-owner Scott Neil admits his side are no closer to signing their final import ahead of their first games in ice hockey’s Elite League this weekend.

Edinburgh travel to the East Midlands tomorrow to face off against Gardiner conference 
rivals Hull Stingrays, before the two sides return to Murrayfield on Sunday for the return fixture (face-off 6pm).

Caps’ player-coach Richard Hartmann had stated he was looking to bring in another player ahead of the league opener but Neil believes this year’s squad, despite two narrow Challenge Cup defeats last weekend, have proven they will be competitive within their Conference, and that they have enough strength in depth to wait for a “high quality” signing to complete the jigsaw.

Neil said: “It’s a long season, and this year in relation to our British players we have quite a lot of depth. Where we stand now it looks like we’re definitely going to be competitive with the other Scottish teams. It was disappointing to lose both games last weekend, but I thought they were both close enough that we deserved something from them.”

It had been widely believed that Edinburgh were looking for a top defenceman along the lines of their recent acquisition, Czech internationalist Michal Dobron, but early season form would suggest Capitals will have more trouble putting the puck in the net than keeping it out. In their opening four competitive games, Edinburgh have been shut out once, averaging two goals a game. While, at the other end, solid defensive displays, coupled with some good goaltending from new net minder Tomas Hiadlovsky, have encouraged the Murrayfield faithful.

Neil continued: “What we’re assessing now is what this team has, and what does it need? We’re looking to bring in a quality player, we’ll probably only get one shot at it so it’s important we make the right selection both in terms of what position he plays and what he can add to the team. Ultimately, there are still three or four types of player that we may decide will be the best fit for our team. There are a lot of thought processes behind this 
decision. If it was just a case of needing to sign a player to fill a slot, we would have filled it.”

Edinburgh have one injury worry for tomorrow night’s encounter and will hope young defenceman Willie Nicholson has recovered from a knock he picked up against Dundee Stars last Saturday. Both Neil and Hartmann have made no secret of the fact that after a two-year absence, qualification for the end of season play-offs is Edinburgh’s No. 1 goal, and as Hull, who now boast ex-Capitals defenceman Tomas Valecko, proved last April with a shock appearance at the Elite League final’s weekend in Nottingham, once a top-eight finish and play-off hockey has been achieved, anything is possible.