‘Changes are not out of the question’.
That was the short response from Fife Flyers directors this week over the possibility of making the roster changes head coach Todd Dutiaume believes are necessary to mount a challenge for silverware.
Flyers have made a solid start to the Elite League campaign and currently sit fourth in the table.
But after a run of three consecutive defeats, Dutiaume insists “one or two” improvements are required for the team to realise its potential.
“It’s not for the lack of trying on our part,” he said.
“We have a good hockey club here. We’re not sitting where we have been for no reason - we’re quite capable of turning it on.
“But a lack of consistency has hurt us, and sometimes a small shake-up is all a team needs to realise their potential.
“We’re not in 10th place saying this. We’re looking for a positive shake-up - not a desperate one - and that’s an important distinction to make.
“We know we have the core of guys here that we can accomplish something with but like any team we can improve.
“Given our inconsistencies, and the fact that we’re quite capable of good performances, that little nudge will definitely send us in the right direction.”
The urgency to draft new players stepped up a notch this week with Ryan Dingle and Justin Fox picking up injuries - to add to long-term absentee Shayne Stockton - with both struggling to be fit for the visit of Belfast Giants on Saturday.
“It’s easy for me to say we need a guy in but we need to bring viable players to the directors,” Dutiaume added.
“The weak £ means you’re paying over and above for what you would maybe consider an average hockey player and there’s not a ton of guys available.
“Pickings are slim, and we’ve looked at a couple who we had deemed unviable, but ultimately the team probably needs a wee shake-up.”
With other EIHL teams swift to make changes, the perception among frustrated fans is that Fife are standing still – but Dutiaume stressed that finances play a part.
“This is a two-tier league,” he said. “For some, the budget is unlimited and there are guys out there if you can afford them, but at 14 imports, and we’re carrying 15 right now, where does it end for us?
“I will defend my bosses on this. They’ve been saying this is a concern of theirs for years.
“It was a concern for them at 13, it definitely is at 14, and if it continues along this route, I think that the club’s position in this league is in jeapordy.
“It can’t be something you endlessly throw money at. Running a club of this size takes significant funds and people don’t realise the cost involved in hockey.
“It’s not just 14 imports salaries - it goes way further than that.”
After a long idle spell on the bench, Jamie Wilson and Stephen Gunn both returned to the ice in the 3-2 defeat in Nottingham on Sunday due to the injuries to Dingle and Fox.
The pair are in line to feature again this weekend and Dutiaume has called on them to take their chance.
“It’s up to these guys whether they step up to the mark and accept the challenge of fighting for a regular spot in the line up,” he said.
“It’s not good enough to go out there and just play, you have to show desire for the spot.
“We don’t need them to go out and try to score three goals or skate end to end.
“We just need them to play simple hockey.”