TODD Dutiaume is looking forward to getting the best out of his Fife Flyers players now that their place in the team is at risk.
The signings of Bobby Chaumont and Steven King last week means the Kirkcaldy side now has 20 players on its books, including 10 imports.
And player-coach Dutiaume (pictured) warned his charges that they will now have to fight harder for ice time.
“Guys can’t settle into their comfort zones now that there’s jobs on the line,” he told the Press.
“If you’re not performing there will be a guy on the bench who can step into your spot.
“You saw that against Edinburgh on Saturday. Guys sat out a few shifts and it helped us get the best out of them.
“The guys now face real competion for ice time - that’s the nature of hockey.
“When we’ve got a fully fit squad there will be big decisions made over who sits out.
“We’ve been crying out for a more depth, now we’ve got it and somebody will suffer, but it won’t be the team.”
Dutiaume has also admitted that there will be no more excuses for poor performances.
“We’ve been given everything we need,” he stressed. “The squad, the dressing rooms, the ice time - now we have to produce on the ice.
“It rests with the coaching staff and players to take responsibility for results.”
Flyers are currently without injured assistant player-coach Danny Stewart, who is suffering from concussion after he was knocked unconscious in a recent win over Hull.
He will miss this Saturday’s match as Hull visit Fife Ice Arena, but he will be again be utilised as a temporary bench coach.
“Danny and I are on the same page,” Dutiaume said. “We have extensive meetings all week and know exactly what we want to do with the lines.
“That allows me to shut off and just focus on the playing, which is a big help for me. I think I had my two best games of the year at the weekend.
“Combining coaching and playing is one of the most difficult jobs in hockey.Danny struggles with it as well when he plays.
“We would have had a bench coach at the start of the season if the right guy came along but guys of Danny’s calibre aren’t just walking around on the street.
“We’ll take the positive from Danny’s injury at the moment and use him as a bench coach.
“We would love to have a full-time bench coach but unfortunately it’s just something that hasn’t presented itself yet.”
Dutiaume also had praise for the weekend efforts of his third line – local players Josh Scoon, Steven Gunn and Steven McAlpine.
“Sheffied had six British internationals returning from Japan on Sunday night,” Dutiaume said.
“I had three joiners, a roofer, an instrument technician and two unemployed students.
“It made me laugh but my students and joiners really competed against these guys all night.
“Our third line wasn’t scored on at all, and not only that, they had an offensive threat. They’re looking good right now.”
Jamie Wilson is also likely to miss the Hull match through injury, while Jamie Smith has left the club to sign for Basingstoke Bison.
Toy appeal: Fife Flyers annual Christmas toy appeal takes place on Sunday, December 16, at the home game against Cardiff Devils. Supporters are asked to donate toys, which the players will collect at the end of the game on behalf of the Family and Community Support Team (FACST) who work, in conjunction with Gingerbread, with vulnerable and disadvantaged families in the Fife area. Alternatively fans can hand gifts into the rink office or into the Flyers shop on any match night. Only new toys/gifts can be accepted. FACST work with children of all ages therefore gifts for boys and girls from babies to age 16 are gratefully received.