Fife Flyers coach Todd Dutiaume has hit out at the slackers who have contributed to the team’s slow start to the season.
Flyers have collected just one point from the first four EIHL games, which came via a penalty shots defeat at home to Sheffield Steelers on Saturday.
It was a spirited display against last season’s play-off champions, but Flyers were quickly brought down to earth with an 8-1 thrashing in Sheffield on Sunday.
Dutiaume put the two contrasting performances down to a lack of effort from certain individuals in the team.
“On Sunday we had a number of passengers and guys whose hearts just weren’t in it, and that’s a huge concern,” he told the Press.
“The reason we brought back a core of last year’s team was that we wanted to get off to a great start, and compete for trophies right off the bat.
“It could be an element of players being in a comfort zone and expecting things to fall into place without the hard work, but a few individuals are not in the greatest shape - that is evident out on the ice.
“Last year we waited and waited and finally came good at the end of January.
“That just won’t be tolerated this year. It’s an issue we will look to resolve immediately.”
Sunday’s heavy defeat came as two key players, Kyle Horne and Matt Reber, missed out through injury.
It has raised questions over whether Flyers should sign a 12th import, however Dutiaume insisted that an extra body would have made no difference.
“Is one guy going to turn an 8-1 game into a 3-2 game? No chance,” he said.
“If I had 11 imports and eight Brits laying it on the line every week and we still needed help, then I could make a better case for a 12th import.
“But if some of the existing guys are not bringing it, then I have a lot better case for replacing rather than adding.”
Horne and Reber are both doubtful for this weekend as Flyers put their league campaign on hold to face Dundee Stars in a Challenge Cup double-header.
Flyers are at home on Saturday (7.15 p.m) before travelling to Dundee Ice Arena on Sunday (6.30 p.m), while Dundee also play on Friday night at home to Coventry.
Stars’ roster had a near complete makeover during the summer after they lost a large portion of their Gardiner Conference winning side.
They have also had a rocky start to the season and player-coach Jeff Hutchins this week called for the ‘Stars nation’ to show patience.
“It’s great to start our Challenge Cup campaign against our closest rivals,” Dutiaume said.
“If they are a team asking for patience, hopefully we can take advantage of it with two good performances this weekend.”