Stewart challenged by Blaze defensive issues
Coventry Blaze coach Danny Stewart revealed that his team was preparing to be more defensive when he set them up last summer, but admits that his challenges have been met.
Injuries, especially for the network guards, were a key factor, while Coventry, while becoming a free-goals team, continues to let them in at the other end.
But Stewart congratulated his players on being very competitive during the playoffs, despite the problems they encountered that hindered the defense of their game.
"It's never ideal to go through four goalkeepers in a season, but that sort of thing happens," he said. "As a coach in the Elite League, I will not stay here and be a victim. These are the kinds of challenges we face.
"Sometimes, to get in someone, you have to go and there is not much movement. I think we had a hard hand. Kevin Nastiuk retired two weeks before the start of the season (Miika) Wiikman broke his hand and (Miroslav) Kopriva was also injured.
"But I think it shows that we are where we are without stability in this position. That certainly affected us with the number of goals we dropped, but Matt Hackett grows up every game and we have every confidence in him. "
There have been 16 matches since a Blaze match saw less than six goals in a match, so if that kind of entertainment interests you, Coventry will not disappoint you.
They have scored 20 goals in their last six games and are fourth in the league (148 goals), but they also have the second worst defensive record (164).
Stewart revealed that his original idea was that Kevin Nastiuk, who had originally signed and departed from there, was more defensive and built in the background.
He adds, "When we created this team, we did not think that our offensive production would be our strength. We thought we would defend a lot better, thanks to a strong goalkeeper in Kevin Nastiuk and a first defense team.
"After a good Christmas run, we moved a little away from our game in January. Of course, it's always good to score goals, but when we cheat in attack, we tend to flee to the back.
"We are confident to move forward but forget our responsibilities at the back. We missed Justin Hache, suspended and suspended. He is a key player. I think that if we stay healthy, a full line will be the key to any success by the end of the season. "
Stewart was at Skydome on Wednesday to watch the British national team beat Dinamo Riga, KHL, 3-1, with two of his players, Luke Ferrara and Ben Lake, both on the scoresheet.
He hopes that both will participate in the last cup for the world championships in May and will save especially the praise of Lake, which ranks at the top of the LHIE scorers table after having integrated his form of scorer in the organization national.
"I was really happy that Ben and Luke scored goals in Britain's game on Wednesday," said Stewart. "They are two great kids and they were great for us this year."
"I really hope that they will be able to meet in the World Championship team and that it would be an experience of their lives.
"The Skydome was conducive to an excellent atmosphere. It turned into a hockey game much better than I expected. It was a good pace and I was really pleased to see both of them contribute to the scoring and perform well.
"Ben's pushed his game to another level this year and took advantage of the minutes he had. Some men are lucky and do not take it, but each week it improves, becomes effective. "
"When I signed it at the end of last season, I had already thought he would be leading the scorers. No, I must be honest, but it has been fantastic for us. "