Flyers ace still stuck in injury limbo

Chris Auger, Fife Flyers
Chris Auger, Fife Flyers
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Fife Flyers will continue to hunt for a new import forward after tests revealed complications with Chris Auger’s shoulder injury.

Auger has been sidelined since being knocked through the Cardiff Devils’ team bench door in a match at Fife Ice Arena on December 19.

The 27-year-old Canadian met a specialist on Monday, but further tests will be required before a decision can me made on whether Auger can return to the ice this season.

Flyers head coach Todd Dutiaume explained: “It’s going to take a little further investigation with the specialist but we remain hopeful that we could see Chris in a Flyers jersey this year.”

While the situation remains unresolved, Flyers will continue to pursue a replacement.

“Having Chris in limbo means we can’t switch off, so the search continues,” Dutiaume stressed.

“There’s not been a great deal out there that’s been of interest to us, and we won’t just bring someone in for the sake of it.

“People think you wave a magic wand and bring a guy in - it’s not that easy.

“There’s not a lot of guys available out there right now.

“For cover, Sheffield have gone back to Legue who is playing down in the EPL.

“Those guys would normally bring in a high-profile guy but they just aren’t out there.

“I know Belfast have brought in some guys for injury cover and they’ve gone to the EPL as well.

“So it’s not for a lack of trying. We’ve certainly been on the case, but you just don’t have the list of guys you have at the start of the season.

“We’re conscious of the signing deadline so we’ll keeping looking and moving forward.”

Kyle Horne’s shoulder injury also appears worse than first feared with Dutiaume adding: “Kyle is not going to be a short turnaround.

“He could be out of the line-up for a number of weeks - possibly more.”

Dutiaume has refused to let his players be carried away by Sunday’s 9-3 win over Edinburgh by insisting they need to cut out the mistakes.

Despite the convincing scoreline, the Flyers coach was less than enthused by aspects of the team’s performance, which followed a deeply disappointing 5-1 loss in Braehead the previous night.

Dutiaume is frustrated by the lack of consistency his players are showing and urged them to address these issues ahead of a crucial double-header against Hull Stingrays.

“We have our own issues that are costing us hockey games,” he said. “It’s inconsistency and little things that continually happen, and we have to hold ourselves accountable as players on the ice.

“The mistakes we make are consistent mistakes – a win, loss or whatever – we make those same mistakes all the time.

“We were fortunate that we had a big lead against Edinburgh, but these guys have got to start demanding consistency and put 60 minutes together.”

Dutiaume believes it comes down to the player’s “commitment on the ice”, adding: “It’s plain to see – when they’re on and doing what they’re supposed to be doing, we’re a good hockey club.

“As soon as we switch off and get a little selfish, or not do the stuff that’s made us successful, we become a very average hockey team and that’s frustrating for me as a coach.

“You can’t physically beg a player to go out and do it. These guys know it’s imperative that now is the time to put up or shut up.”

Flyers inconsistent form has allowed Braehead Clan to open up an 11-point lead at the top of the Gardiner Conference.

And while the Kirkcaldy side currently sit sixth in the overall EIHL standings, they are coming under pressure from the teams below.

This weekend’s opponents Hull are currently one place and three points behind Fife in the EIHL, but with four games in hand they are a serious threat to Flyers’ play-off aspirations.

“This weekend’s games can really swing our position,” Dutiaume said.

Flyers face Stingrays at home on Saturday (7.15 p.m) before travelling to Hull on Sunday.