Our direction is right, says coach Derrick Walser
The Belfast Giants return to the SSE Arena tonight after controversially cancelling last night's Elite League clash with Sheffield Steelers at the venue to make way for a re-arranged One Direction concert... and do so with coach Derrick Walser making a strong defence of his missing players.
Already without injured trio Matt Nickerson, Chris Higgins and Johan Ejdepam for this evening's game against the Steelers, Walser's plan for the weekend - which includes a trip to Dundee tomorrow - were hit further when Darryl Lloyd and Craig Peacock were given one-match suspensions after video reviews of two separate incidents from last Saturday night's defeat to the Cardiff Devils.
Lloyd was banned despite the Giants sending in a second video, from a different angle, which they felt would clear the player of a slew-footing offence, while Peacock was deemed guilty of checking to the head.
Walser, however, believes that both players should be on the ice tonight and is now preparing to give the Department of Player Safety more work to do if he sees similar incidents in the future.
"I didn't just think that the second video cleared Darryl Lloyd, I thought the first one did," he said.
"In my opinion he does nothing wrong. His leg comes into the back of the other player's leg and he doesn't sweep his foot at all.
"For Craig Peacock, the Cardiff player looks round, he can clearly see that there is back pressure, but he didn't prepare himself for the hit and it wasn't high - it didn't put his head into the boards.
"I just hope that the league has set a standard now because I will be watching every game very closely and if I see anything that I don't like I will send the tape in.
"We can't have one team being treated like this."
While Steelers fans who had booked for a double-header in Belfast were up in arms after last night's cancellation to accommodate One Direction, Walser has described the decision as a blessing in disguise.
"It was no bad thing for us to have one less game given the injuries and suspensions that we have," said Walser.
"It is better than having to play three games in three nights when you are down some guys."