“Form is a tough word. It actually hasn’t been too bad and that’s tough to convince people of when you haven’t had the results.’’
Danny Stewart was talking about his Coventry Blaze team. He could easily have been describing Fife Flyers - the club he left in summer to take over at the helm in the Midlands.
The two sides meet in Kirkcaldy on Saturday night, and both are in desperate need of a win.
Blaze haven’t won in five. Fife are on the back of four losses, and a weekend of hockey in which their forwards failed to light the lamp at all.
There’s a lot at stake on Saturday - over and above the return of Stewy to the rink that was his home for five seasons,
“I won’t lie. When the fixtures came out, I had a little peak to see when I would be going back and I’m sure there will be mixed emotions after spending five really good years there,” he said.
“It’ll be weird seeing ‘Dutes’ and some of the other guys I played with on the other bench, but I’m with Coventry and my main focus is going up there and trying to get two points.’’
Both he and Dutiaume need the W.
It ought to be ‘way too early in the new season to be raising any concerns, but no coach likes to see his team go four or five games without a victory.
Dutiaume spoke this week of grabbing an ugly win to get the team back on track, while Stewy expanded on his view of form thus: “There’s some teams finding ways to win games, but we’re finding ways to lose them. Other than some mistakes, we’ve been playing pretty well and we’ve got to clean up the errors.’’
Blaze wants the points to make the journey home that more enjoyable - they host Dundee Stars on Sunday night - while Fife need them to get everyone in the mood for the trickiest of road trips to Edinburgh.
Caps have started the season with a zing, and their new-look squad has some hugely experienced, big players.
Flyers led 2-0 on home ice and still failed to close out the final ten minute sof the game. That left them open to criticism, but Caps deserved credit too for going the full 60 minutes to force overtime where they grabbed the sudden death winner.
Since then they’ve beaten Braehead home and away - Clan being another team to endure a false start to this new season - and their tails are up.
“It is vital we get the two points,’’ said Dutiaume. ‘’We are at the bottom end of the Challenge Cup group and it is crucial we get maximum points from our final games in order to have a chance for progressing to the next stage of the competition.”
And, more importantly, the fans, expect an improvement all round this weekend.
Saturday - Fife Flyers v Coventry Blaze; Belfast Giants v Cardiff Devils; Nottingham Panthers v Manchester Storm; Dundee Stars v Edinburgh Capitals.
Sunday - Edinburgh Capitals v Fife Flyers; Coventry Blaze v Dundee Stars; Manchester Storm v Sheffield Steelers; Cardiff Devils v Nottingham Panthers