Edinburgh Capitals are preparing for an energy- sapping weekend of ice hockey.
The Caps are in Glasgow this evening for an Elite League Gardiner Conference match up with Braehead Clan – the first of three games in three nights. The teams return to Murrayfield tomorrow to do battle for a second time (6pm), before Edinburgh complete their gruelling schedule with a trip to Tayside on Sunday, facing off against the Dundee Stars.
Capitals’ assistant coach Jock Hay believes “everyone has a role to play” as his small squad, who currently prop-up the league of ten, hope to keep fresh and build on last Sunday night’s encouraging 4-2 home success against the Cardiff Devils.
Hay said: “We have three lines, just like everybody else. Obviously it’s important to play everyone so we keep everybody as fresh as possible over the three games. Hopefully Sunday’s win will give us the confidence to be more consistent.
“It’s been stressed to the players that they need to have the right attitude, not just for every game, but for every shift. Their attitude has to be spot on every time they jump over the barrier and hit the ice.”
Edinburgh have had some home success against the Clan, including a 4-3 overtime victory in September, but they have struggled woefully at the Braehead Arena, losing on every visit since the Clan were formed in 2010. It’s a streak Hay hopes to snap, but the task won’t be made any easier as new Clan defenceman, Italian/Canadian Davide Nicoletti, signed by the club only yesterday, makes his debut.
Hay continued: “It’s the same when we play most of the big clubs away from Murrayfield. We give them too much respect, and go in there expecting to get a bad result, and we end up not playing the way we should. They should have belief in themselves, and believe that they have the talent to make a difference in these games. We know the performance level is there, but we’ve only seen it in a few games. It’s trying to get them doing that for every game.”
Capitals’ Canadian forward Jade Portwood is still sidelined with a groin injury, but defenceman Willie Nicolson is now back to full training with the club after recovering from a shoulder injury and may feature this weekend.
Dundee Stars, coached by former Capitals’ sniper Jeff Hutchins, have had a solid start to the season, especially at home, where they have yet to lose in regulation time, and are expected to give a home debut to recent American signing Tim Kraus, whose arrival into the country had been delayed by Superstorm Sandy.
Hay, who has been involved with ice hockey in Edinburgh for more than 35 years, is only too aware of the importance of picking up points away from Murrayfield as the Capitals bid for an end-of-season play-off berth.
He said: “The difference (at the end of the season) is going to be what you can pick up on the road. Obviously it’s an important factor that you try and win your home games, and anything picked up away from home is a bonus.
“They may not be a flashy team but Dundee have been getting results and they have been very consistent in that respect. Jeff’s an experienced guy. When he played here he had a lot to say about team matters and offered a lot of good input.”