Flyers may draft in extra import
Fife Flyers defenceman Matt Nickerson has been warned to tone down his act after landing in hot water in his first match for the club.
The giant American, brought in to be an enforcer on the ice, was ejected from Saturday’s match against Cardiff Devils after picking up a match penalty for fighting.
Nickerson missed Sunday’s win in Edinburgh due to an automatic one-game suspension and the Elite League has since banned him for further three games after reviewing footage of the incident.
Flyers head coach Todd Dutiaume has warned Nickerson over his future conduct.
“The coaching staff let Matt know what we expect of him,” he told the Press.
“A big part of his job is to be a presence out on the ice but he can’t be a presence back in the dressing room.
“Something that people haven’t seen from Matt yet is that he can play the game. He’s not just a guy who goes out looking for trouble.
“We need a bare minumum 20 minutes playing time from him every night so he’s going to have to find a way to stay on the ice.
“We’ve spoken to him and I believe we are on the same page.”
Dutiaume accepted that Nickerson’s ban was warranted, but he wants the same level of strictness shown against others who break the rules.
“Over the last two seasons we’ve seen a lot worse and guys get a lot less,” he said.“I’m certainly not adverse to the league taking a stance on it as long as there is consistency.”
Nickerson’s ban has been compounded with injuries to both Jordan Fulton and Thomas Muir, while Dutiaume himself remains sidelined after breaking his knee-cap last season.
With options thinning, the Flyers coach admitted that the club could look to draft in an extra import to give the roster more depth.
“We’re looking at how long my situation is going to take,” Dutiaume said.
“We don’t want to sit one import down all year because once injuries and suspensions kick in that becomes difficult to sustain.
“I’ve got an appointment with the surgeon about my knee on Monday so we should know more after that.
“I don’t see why we wouldn’t bring someone in to cover - we certainly can’t wait until November.”
Flyers face league and play-off champions Nottingham Panthers at Fife Ice Arena this Saturday before travelling south to Coventry on Sunday.
“Panthers have had fantastic start to the season while we’ve taken a while to find our feet,” Dutiaume said. “However, I think Sunday’s win went a long way to helping guys gel and get some confidence.
“I don’t think we played great but so far practice is going well this week - the guys are looking better.”