Sheffield Steelers head into their ‘derby’ weekend dates with Nottingham Panthers upbeat, despite injuries and a delay in the player signing stakes.
Andreas Valdix was due to have undergone an operation on his hand on Tuesday and will be out up to six weeks.
Yared Hagos took part in some light skating but remains doubtful after a concussion-style injury.
And the return of defenceman Jace Coyle, after 14 games with Quad City Mallards in America, will not now happen until mid or late December as the Canadian has issues to clear up at home.
It might seem a headache for Paul Thompson, but the coach is in optimistic mood after of Saturday’s away match.
“We are playing well at the moment and were the best team on both nights last weekend” he said, despite the loss at Cardiff Devils.
“Hagos was upset at the nature of his injury (a blind-side hit) and asked me if that sort of thing happens a lot over here. I told him it didn’t, the game has cleaned up a lot here, but he was unfortunate. The positive thing is that while he was angry at first he is a good professional and is totally focused on coming back.
“There are protocols to observe when you have injuries like he suffered and he’ll only come back when he’s ready.”
Thompson’s men hammered Panthers 8-1 on November 12. “They will want some revenge, ofcourse” he said. “They are getting some guys back from injury and have picked up a couple of wins - they’ve turned the corner.”
Nottinghamn star Stephen Schultz said his team circled Steelers games on the calendar.
“It is going to be electric, he said. “Fans are going to get into it - these are the games you want to play in.”