Fife Flyers defenceman Craig Moore reaping the benefits of extra ice time
While nobody wants to see a team mate hurt, for one player, the current injury situation at Fife Flyers has presented an opportunity.
Kirkcaldy-born defenceman Craig Moore has seen his ice time rocket as a result of the injuries to Evan Stoflet, Scott Aarssen and Chris Wands.
With Flyers down to four regular D-men, Moore has been playing every second shift, and for the first time in his EIHL career, is featuring heavily on special teams.
And the 23-year-old has stepped up to the plate with some solid performances helping the depleted team close in on a play-off place.
“It’s a huge opportunity for myself and I’m trying to just grasp it with both hands,” he said.
“Powerplay, penalty kill, five-on-five, we’re getting 30-plus minutes a night, and credit to the guys on D, we’re all pushing and helping each other out.
“If one guy stays on a little longer you know you have to take a longer shift next to give him that rest. We’re just working together.
“I’m really enjoying it, and it’s an opportunity I wasn’t getting elsewhere and haven’t really had in the EIHL.”
The adversity also appears to have brought the best out of the team, with a return of seven points from the last 12 available, while running title challengers Belfast Giants and Cardiff Devils close.
Moore explained: “We want everyone to be healthy and playing, but when you’re short benched it gives you an opportunity to get into the game really quick.
“You’re on-off-on-off – there’s no time for breaks and very little room for mistakes.
“There’s pressure but guys have risen to that, and are battling and pushing for each other, but it will be nice when we get all the bodies back and run with a full line-up.”
Moore believes his is reaping the benefits of making the switch back to his home-town club from Cardiff Devils in December.
“Coming back here, more ice time was something I was really looking for,” he said.
“It wasn’t promised, but I knew there was an opportunity here to take that.
“It’s not quite what I had in mind - this is more than a little extra ice time - but I’m not complaining. I’m still young and want to develop so ice time is huge for me.
“My goal is to play GB seniors and to do that I think ice time is crucial, and I’m getting that here, but the main thing for me is to hopefully win a championship with Fife.”
Moore has particularly enjoyed his new-found role on the powerplay and penalty kill, although he accepts he may be nudged back down the pecking order if and when the team returns to full strength.
“I think I’ve done alright when I’ve been thrown in and given that chance,” he said.
“But I understand that guys on this team are brought in to do roles, and their role might be the PP guy.
“I’m just happy with the opportunity and want to keep going with it, but if the opportunity is not there I just have to keep working to try and get it back.
“I just want to come in every day and get better, and the added ice time with more responsibility just gives you that little edge to push. I’ve had to adapt my game and grow in areas that I haven’t previously had the opportunity to.
“Powerplay was something that was never going to happen in Cardiff – I knew that– but hopefully that’s now another element I can add to my game.
“The coaches here now see that I’m capable of it, and hopefully that keeps on going forward.”
Having had to bide his time throughout his early career, Moore is an example to the current crop of teenagers on the Fife bench, such as Reece Cochrane and Chad Smith, of the rewards that come with hard work and patience.
“For guys who are maybe not getting ice time they’ve just got to keep pushing,” he said. “It’s such a tough thing nowadays. There’s so many imports in the league and it’s a business at the end of the day.
“I was just really fortunate when I came back to Dundee that I got the opportunity which allowed me to prove my worth. It’s really tough for the guys not playing –I’ve sat on the bench in Cardiff and watched games and it’s not fun. Winning is fun but you want to be a part of it.
“I know how hard it is, but stick with it, keep working hard and eventually that chance will come, just take it and roll with it.”