Adam Keefe: I'll still fight it out for Belfast Giants
Published 21/12/2013 | 01:30
Adam Keefe has admitted that the Elite League's new disciplinary crackdown has led to him changing his game.
The rules won't, however, blunt the Belfast Giants' captain's competitive edge as he goes about trying to win back the league title.
And that means he will be up for the fight against the Coventry Blaze at the Odyssey Arena this evening if that's what it takes to win the game and maintain their seven point lead in the table.
Keefe had a running battle with Coventry's Benn Olsson throughout last season and he has also gone toe-to-toe with Mike Egener in the past.
After fighting with Fife's Mike Nickerson and Sheffield tough guy Tim Spencer last weekend, Keefe is ready to go again.
"Any time we have played Coventry over the last few years it's been a physical game so I don't think it's going to be any different this time," said Keefe.
"They have a few guys back from last year and we have some too, so we will all know what to expect.
"There will be a lot of banging around and we have to be prepared to match them in the physical battle.
"If that means dropping the gloves then then I'll be ready. We have to compete and we have to try to win the game and that's part of my job."
Keefe started the season on fire and led the team in scoring after the first few games.
Two separate suspensions ruled him out for a total of seven games, killing his momentum – at least in terms of statistics.
Hungry to still be making an important contribution to the team, Keefe has adapted and is now a smarter player.
"Anytime you miss matches it can be difficult to come back and play at the same level," he said.
"The team gels while you are out and you don't just get the same feeling once you return.
"I have been happy with my contribution to the team, although I haven't scored as many goals, but that's not what I am here to do.
"I'm here to help the team win in whatever way I can, be it by winning a fight, making hits, setting up goals or scoring them – it doesn't matter to me.
"The way the league is going though, with Moray Hanson (Elite League's Head of Discipline) dishing out suspensions you have to look at the way you play.
"You can't go around putting in hits on guys who are vulnerable – and there are different ways of being vulnerable.
"They could have their head down making them vulnerable or or they could be tight against the boards.
"It is right to take anything that might cause an injury out of the game."
The only injuries that Keefe is setting out to inflict is by damaging the title hopes of rival teams.
After tonight's clash with Coventry the Giants head to second placed Dundee tomorrow evening and then there is the home and away double-header against Braehead Clan – who are currently third – next Friday and Saturday.
And winning is all that Keefe is interested in.
"We're going out every night to get two points," he said.
"Whether it's home or away it doesn't matter and it doesn't matter how we get them.
"Whether it's in 60 minutes, overtime or in a shoot-out. If it's by one goal or four goals, a pretty win or an ugly one, as long as we get the two points it doesn't say on the table how we got them."