Belfast Giants captain Adam Keefe targets big response after rap from Giants boss
Belfast Giants captain Adam Keefe has accepted his coach's assessment that the performance in last Saturday night's defeat in Manchester was unacceptable - and now he is determined to put things right.
Player-coach Derrick Walser didn't hold back in his summary of his team's display, claiming that the players were too relaxed as they slumped 5-1 to the Storm.
To make matters worse, it was their second 5-1 loss in the space of seven days. In between they suffered a penalty shoot-out defeat in Nottingham, but at least there was the consolation of coming away with a point.
Walser promised that there would be no relaxing in preparation for this weekend's Scottish road trip, when the Giants will face the Fife Flyers tonight before taking on the Edinburgh Capitals tomorrow.
Keefe insisted the team is ready to respond. "We've been working on playing fast and getting back to the basics," he said.
"We need to outwork teams and we were outworked on Saturday night in Manchester. It was unacceptable and we know that as a team - the players know it first and foremost.
"It's time to right a wrong and that's what we're looking to do. We've had a good week of practice and we're feeling good going into this weekend."
Picking up just one point out of a possible six has seen the Giants fall 13 points behind the Cardiff Devils in the Elite League title race.
They do have three matches in hand, but keeping the gap as low as possible until the number of games played levels out is imperative if the Giants are to make up that ground.
And winning in Scotland - which isn't as straightforward as it once was - is crucial.
"This weekend is a little bit tougher with the travel,' Keefe admitted. "Fife is a tough arena to go into - we will worry about Fife first and take it one period and one shift at a time and try to outwork them - that is the goal right now."
Meanwhile, Elite League chiefs have promised to come down hard after an increase in media and social media criticism of referees.
Fines will increase from £100 for the first offence to £1,000 and £5,000 for subsequent offences.
"Enough is enough this has to stop," said Elite League chairman Tony Smith.