Gerad Adams has got a “tremendous headache” - but he’s not complaining.
Competition for places amongst his team is at its fiercest point since Adams took over as coach from Doug Christiansen last April.
The vying for a slot covers three forward and defensive lines and now the goaltending slot, where Josh Unice will be in no mood to give up the net to Frank Doyle, when he returns from injury.
Both netminders are likely to stay on the books until the end of the season.
One example of the competition is the situation Colton Fretter found himself in. He’d been a regular on the top line until shoulder injury struck. On his return last weekend, his slot had gone to Tomas Petruska. It didn’t do Fretter much harm - he scored twice against Dundee last Saturday. When Jeff Legue returns from illness, he might find himself on the third unit.
“Yes the competition gives me a tremendous headache, but it makes training sessions better and it carries through into games” Adams said. He is likely to keep Petruska with Mathieu Roy and Michael Forney saying: “Petruska has rejuvenated that line.”
Adams’ shares Darrell Hay’s view that the Christmas form dip may have made the team stronger. “The bad results were a slap across the face” said the coach. “They told us we needed to work harder and smarter. That worked for us and now we owe Nottingham Panthers (Sat) a game (after losing three times to them over the festive period.) “We have to have much higher levels of energy than we showed and be better in every aspect of our game. Every time you play them you have to make sure your special teams play extremely well.”
Adams says 6ft 4ins Chris Lawrence had been a big influence in Panthers’ wins over Steelers “He is a big centreman and a pretty good hockey player” and added that his side would also have to focus on d-man Colby Cohen.