Fife Flyers: Six things we learned from clubs' three-game weekend
It was a tough weekend for Fife Flyers in their first ‘three on three’ series of the new seaon. Here are our six takeaways from the games ...
Crowds: When Belfast came to Kirkcaldy on September 26, the attendance was 1652. Last night it was 882.
It was Flyers’ only home game in their ‘three-on-three’ weekend series, so that 50% decline must be ringing alarm bells throughout the club.
Without exception, every single voice on social media screamed of frustration and called for change.
A snapshot of views: Poorest team seen in many years … didn’t attend … won’t be back … fans deserve better … regret buying season ticket.
Individual voices they may be, but they make up one powerful chorus - one the club’s directors cannot ignore.
A gate-based club without a healthy, consistent gate is one in troubling waters.
Changes: Post game on Friday, Todd Dutiaume spoke openly of the need for two or three forwards and a defenceman - but here’s his dilemma.
EIHL clubs set a limit of six changes this season.
If he gambles now and grabs the first player available to buy some time and space – and there are players available - and it doesn’t work out, he limits his options.
But if he waits and current performances fail to improve, his season will flounder and the pressure on the team grows.
Fife aren’t the only team looking for players to complete their rosters, but their need is far greater - and much more urgent.
The directors have to think big and go for the very best - the most experienced, grittiest leaders they can find.
MoM awards: Fife fans are picking their own team’s man of the match via Twitter.
At this rate they’ll be handing it to Shane Owen every single night.
The netminder is the rock Flyers are clinging to right now.
He’d welcome some decent competition for the accolade from the guys in front of him.
The incremental improvements shown thus far, however, have yet to chime with the fan base.
Goals: What Flyers would give for an Evan Bloodoff front of net right now.
The club has, as Dutes noted in his post-game media briefing, always had guaranteed offence thanks to guys like him, Bobby Chaumont, Carlo Finucci and so on during their EIHL era.
This season his forwards are marooned as the team struggles to get off the back foot .
Turning that round is imperative to the team’s immediate fortunes.
Pace: If Belfast Giants are indicative of what lies ahead, then the fans are going to see some fast-paced hockey this season.
Flyers have to get up to that speed, and quickly.
It was clear some players were burned more than once during Friday’s game, and left worryingly exposed on the big ice pad.
Conditioning can improve that, but if you ain’t got the wheels, then you’ll never catch an express train of a player flying down centre ice.
On the plus side: October’s schedule is dominated by the Challenge Cup – if Fife are going to stink the rink out then better to do it in this competition than in the league. As crumbs of comfort go, however, it’s pretty wafer thin …
Tenth place can start to feel very lonely very quickly, and can be very difficult to escape from.