Caister suspension blow for Flyers

Jeff Caister
Jeff Caister

FIFE Flyers could be without three key imports for the visit of Sheffield Steelers on Saturday.

Defenceman Jeff Caister will serve a one-match suspension for racking up three 10-minute misconducts for abusing match officials.

With fellow D-man Zach Carriveau struggling to shake off a sickness bug, and captain Casey Haines out injured, Flyers could be up against it.

“It’s not ideal, especially considering the opposition, but we’ll get on with it,” Dutiaume said. “We’ve got three southern teams in a row, and points don’t came easy from these guys.

“After losing on Sunday, we don’t want to find ourselves on the back of a four-game skid.

“All the guys have to show up. We’ve had some success against Sheffield at home this season, but they are an improved squad.

“They are hungry and fighting for that top spot so they are not going to roll over for us.

“We have to come out with the kind of performance that has already produced some big wins at home.

“It’s going to be tough to turn around but the guys know that - and they will respond.”

Dutiaume could certainly do without Caister’s ban and he urged the temperamental Canadian to avoid clashing with referees in future.

“Jeff plays with an edge - and we like that - but he’s been getting frustrated with the standard of refereeing,” he said.

“In North America the officials are evaluated all the time and he feels it’s a bit too loose over here and nothing happens when there’s dubious calls.

“Sometimes decisions go your way, sometimes they don’t. I don’t see the benefit of yelling at a ref because they rarely change their minds.

“Jeff will just have to learn to keep it shut when decisions go against him.”

Carriveau’s illness may clear up in time to allow him to feature this weekend, but Haines will not be rushed back.

“Casey has a great attitude and wants to be in line up but we’re not going to rush him and lose him for the season,” Dutiaume explained.

“It’s day-to-day but it seems like he’ll need at least one more week to recuperate. Once he gets to a point where he can take the pain we should be able to play him.”

Off the ice, Dutiaume is also wary that the end of the NHL lock-out has created a number of vacancies at big-spending European clubs.

However, he is confident that he will avoid a repeat of the Matt Siddall situation, who left the club at short notice midway through last season for a bigger money deal in Croatia.

“If someone’s talking to another team we’ll probably be the last to know,” he said.

“But we’ve given our guys a very stable, team-orientated place to play and we hope that no matter what happens, players will honour their contracts, as the club will honour theirs.”

After taking on Sheffield in Kirkcaldy on Saturday evening, Flyers face long trips to Cardiff on Sunday, and Belfast on Wednesday.

Despite the tough schedule, Dutiaume is confident the team can bounce back from a disappointing effort against Braehead on Sunday past.

He said: “We don’t want to get too down about it, thing’s don’t go perfect in a season. Sunday was a calamity but I’ve got faith in the guys.”