Fife Flyers monitoring injuries ahead of final weekend of season
Fife Flyers are monitoring their injured players ahead of the final weekend of the Elite League season.
Three key imports – Scott Aarssen, Chase Schaber and Evan Stoflet – are all undergoing treatment but it remains unclear whether any will feature against Belfast Giants tonight (Friday), or in the Glasgow Clan double-header on Saturday and Sunday.
All three are touch-and-go for the play-offs, which start with the quarter-finals next weekend.
Defenceman Stoflet has been missing with concussion since the infamous Manchester Storm match on February 10, but Dutiaume confirmed he is now back in training.
“He’s been skating but he just wasn’t ready last weekend,” he said. “He really needs to get in and get some minutes in a game if he’s going to be ready for play-offs, otherwise he won’t be playing in play-offs.
“Limited minutes over the course of these three games, on top of two weeks practice, would go some way towards helping him out with conditioning and getting back into it.
“You can’t just step straight back into that pace after eight weeks off. He has to be ready, but we could use every body we can get.”
Aarssen lasted just a few minutes of Saturday’s win over Guildford Flames and is doubtful for the upcoming weekend.
“We have to see how he reacts this week,” Dutiaume added.
“It didn’t initially look good, but we’re going to remain hopeful. A guy of Scott’s quality we would inject into our line-up at any point, even at 80 per cent.
"I’m going to say he won’t play this weekend, but that’s hopefully me being overly cautious.”
Schaber has a concussion as well as a groin injury that requires surgery, but a return for play-offs has not yet been completely ruled out.
“Schaber did well on his baseline testing over the weekend, so he’s hopefully going to try skating, but he still has to do that without any ill-effects,” Dutiaume explained.
Dutiaume admitted that the injury situation, and the demands being placed on players, particularly in defence, is his biggest concern going into play-offs.
“I’m really riding them out right now,” he said.
“We’re using four guys back there, so we have to be cautious this weekend of wanting the wins, but not over-playing the guys and making sure we don’t blow them out before the quarter-finals.”