Fife Flyers open to changes but looking for answers from within

Todd Dutiaume, Fife Flyers head coach, on the bench  (Pic: Jillian McFarlane)
Todd Dutiaume, Fife Flyers head coach, on the bench (Pic: Jillian McFarlane)

Fife Flyers head coach Todd Dutiaume is not ruling out changes to the roster, but is hoping the answer to his team’s problems can be found from within.

Dutiaume is open to potential new recruits who could ignite the bench following a run of just one win in six matches that has dropped his team to eighth in the EIHL standings.

However, he is more focused on getting the best out of the players currently at his disposal and working with them to emerge from the current slump.

“If we can bring in someone to improve this team we will but, more important and relevant, because we need to produce results immediately, it’s about having them prepared like they always are and instilling some belief in themselves and each other,” he said.

“Self-belief is a strong trait in a lot of sportsmen and guys need to believe in their abilities. As soon as they have that grain of doubt in their minds, or worry or threat, at small periods of time it can heighten their senses, while at other periods of time it can be a distraction and affecting.

“They need to be pushed and squeezed but there’s also a psychological factor that comes into it as well, so it’s about just finding ways to get the best out of who we know we have.”

Flyers struggles in front of the net, with 38 shots against Dundee Stars on Sunday producing just one goal, has been a major factor in their poor run.

The team’s current average of 2.73 goals per game is the second worst in the league ahead of bottom club Manchester Storm.

“It’s been a strength of ours in the past where we’ve had three lines producing, sometimes all at once,” Dutiaume said.

“If one line wasn’t going the other two were picking up the slack.

“Right now, we’re just not seeing that production that we’re used to, and out of some of the same players.

“Players are gripping their sticks a little tighter than they normally would and are afraid of making a mistake rather than playing loose and confidently, which ultimately as a professional you want them to be doing and where they’re at their most natural.

“They’re getting opportunities all over the place, that’s the key, but we’re not converting.”

Dutiaume believes the recent 5-1 win over Cardiff Devils, which stands in isolation among a run of defeats, should be the standard bearer for his side.

“It’s about holding onto that because we don’t have some secret formula to it,” he said.

“The guys all know the effort level required to be successful in this league.

“We’ve seen it just in glimpses rather than for a consistent period of time and that’s something that we’re really trying to get a firm grip on.”

Flyers welcome Glasgow Clan to Fife Ice Arena on Saturday looking to end a run of three consecutive defeats to their Scottish rivals this season.

Dutiaume said: “With the rivalry these games always have a heightened sense of importance and we have to approach it as such, and make sure that we fight and claw for everything, because it’s pretty apparent that nobody’s going to be handing us anything at this point in time.”

Flyers then make the long bus journey to Cardiff on Sunday as they look to climb back up a tightly-packed EIHL leaderboard, with just six points between the Kirkcaldy side and first-placed Glasgow.

“That equates to me as a high level of competitiveness,” Dutiaume said.

“Make no bones about it, we’re on the wrong end of that stick right now, but it’s as competitive as ever, and who wouldn’t want to be in a league where anybody is beating anybody on any given night?

“Now we’ve got to start taking our fair share. We feel it will come. It just needs a wee nudge in the right direction just to get the train rolling.”

Defenceman Sam Jones was due to speak to specialist yesterday (Thursday) to determine the results of his knee scan but Dutiaume admitted an operation is likely, and that the player is not expected to return in the short term.