Fife Flyers players are battling to save their jobs after head coach Todd Dutiaume confirmed that he is in talks with potential replacements.
Flyers are on a four game losing streak - winning just three of their last 12 - and the poor form looks set to prompt a shake-up of the roster.
Dutiaume has lost patience with his under-performing imports and told the Press this week that he is close to pulling the trigger.
“I just don’t get that sense of desperation that you really need to have to be successful in this league,” he said of his team’s recent performances.
“I don’t think it’s a confidence-thing - it’s just not being committed to the little things that make you successful.
“They are not always fun or glamorous things, but it’s the attention to detail that makes a difference in tight hockey games.
“If you’re not committed like that, then you’re securely in the bottom half of the table.
“You have to put the framework in place and demand that your players buy into it and commit to it.
“And once you recognise patterns and behaviour that doesn’t change, as a coach and as an organisation you have to look to possibly making changes.
“If the same mistakes are continually being made – that’s a problem. We work on it week in, week out and we see decent results in practice but they are not transferring to a game right now.”
Flyers have only dismissed one import in five previous seasons in the Elite League with Andy Contois released in late 2013 after scoring just once in 22 appearances.
Dutiaume said: “People can become very aware that we’ve only fired one import in five years, so maybe a comfort zone sets in – a change or two quickly changes that mindset.
“We’re constantly looking for changes.
“It’s a matter of pulling the trigger and identifying what’s going to make this hockey club better.
“These things can happen day-to-day, or week-to-week. You saw how long it took to get Nico Sacchetti in, but we were willing to wait for him for an extended period of time.
“But there are players out there ready to go, and we’re in the process of identifying the areas we need to improve on. We’ve certainly been in contact with players.”
After the disappointment of back-to-back defeats to Sheffield Steelers, Dutiaume is demanding points from this weekend’s Gardiner Conference double-header against Dundee Stars.
“This is a make-or-break time for this club,” he said.
“These are two big games in our conference and we’re on the back of a four game loser ,so if there’s any time for a sense of desperation from your team, you would hope they recognise the importance of this weekend, and come out up for it.
“By no means will showing up result in us winning the hockey games - Dundee are a good hockey club and are taking teams right to the wire every week. They are going to be formidable opponents.
“We’re really going to need to bring our best and find a way to start winning these hockey games.”
A possible factor in Flyers poor form has been injuries to key players with last weekend’s return of Ric Jackman and David Turon only coinciding with the loss of Justin Fox and Shayne Stockton.
“When you over-play players injuries creep into your line-up,” Dutiaume stressed. “This is probably the worst we’ve been hit by the injury bug and it takes its toll.
“You build up your week towards Sheffield and you work on your lines and your powerplay, and you have two players not cleared to go late in the week, and it throws it into chaos.
“It’s difficult when you rely heavily on your formations and systems to jumble things up at the last minute, especially when Fox and Stocks are key players in this line-up.
“By the weekend I could possibly have Fox back, but probably not Stocks.”
Flyers host Stars at Fife Ice Arena on Saturday (7.15 p.m) before travelling to Dundee Ice Rink on Sunday (6.30 p.m).