Fife Flyers head coach Todd Dutiaume is back on the player hunt after admitting that import forward Brady Ramsay is unlikely to return.
Ramsay initially signed as an extra import but returned to Canada last week to attend to family matters after making just four appearances for the Kirkcaldy club.
With Russ Moyer also injured, it left Flyers short-benched for the weekend matches against Braehead Clan and with a demanding fixture schedule to come, including six games in the next fortnight, Dutiaume is keen to find a replacement for Ramsay as soon as possible to help his side in the push for silverware.
On the Ramsay situation, Dutiaume explained: “I feel it’s not something that’s going to sort itself in the short term so we’re currently on the look out for another body to possibly bring in.
“If a guys pops up that fits in and complements this group it will be up to me to once again go to the well and ask for some more.
“We’ve certainly had discussions with our contacts about potential players but nobody is packing their bags right now.”
Moyer is making a speedy recovery from an ankle injury picked up against Nottingham Panthers a fortnight ago with the player already off crutches, and hopeful of joining in a light skate at the end of the week.
This weekend, however, may come too soon.
“He’s making steady progress and is hopefully going to train at some point this week and we’ll be able to make a decision from there,” Dutiaume said. “We’ve moved on significantly with a process now in place that injured players can get a scan the next day. If he figures it’s severely damaged, but we can prove it’s not, mentally that helps a player and he can immediately get onto the recovery process.”
Dutiaume admitted he is feeling ‘enjoyable pressure’ as he looks to close in on the club’s first conference title, as well as aiming for a highest ever finish in the Elite League table ahead of the play-offs.
“This comes with a whole different set of pressures but it’s more enjoyable pressure,” he said.“You come to the office excited, not with an attitude of needing to fix or change something. It’s all about player management and the encouragement of consistent performances night in, night out.”
Flyers split the weekend points with Clan to maintain a four-point lead in the Gardiner Conference as a 3-2 loss in Braehead on Saturday was cancelled out with 5-2 win on home ice on Sunday. A noteable difference on Sunday was the presence of Josh Scoon in the line-up, which enabled Fife to roll three lines after double-shifting imports and rotating 2.5 lines throughout Saturday’s defeat.
Dutiaume explained the decision-making process.
“On Saturday, we went with what I reckoned to be our best line-up on the night,” he said.
“Over the course of the night I saw some guys looked fatigued, and some guys just didn’t look like they had their stuff, so I made a decision to start with nine forwards on Sunday , based on the line-up they posted as well.
“They had a line I figured Josh was more than capabale of competing against and competing well, and he faced that line all night and I thought he did well. I was going to cut down when required, but he had a great hockey game, especially for a guy who has had next to zero ice time. He waited patiently for when he was called upon and did a great job.”
Whether Scoon continues to be utilised in the line-up remains to be seen.
“That’s needs to be judged on a night-to-night basis,” Dutiaume added. “It’s difficult at times because the pace of the game changes and you need a guy of Charlie Mosey’s speed against some lines.
“I say that with deepest respect for what Josh did on Sunday. It was a fantastic performance and the guys were extremely pleased for him. They are a great group that gets along well. There’s no outsiders on this team, and I’m rooting for Josh.
“If he goes out and shows he can compete like that night in, night out then he forces me to play him and that’s what I want. I want guys to force me to make tough decisions rather than easy ones.”
Flyers head into a three-game weekend starting with a trip to Belfast Giants on Friday. The side return to Fife Ice Arena to face Coventry Blaze on Sunday before crossing the Forth to meet struggling Edinburgh Capitals on Sunday.