Belfast Giants turn to Dalgliesh to ease woes
Belfast Giants coach Doug Christiansen has handed a short-term contract to Scottish forward Ross Dalgliesh as his injury crisis grows deeper.
Christiansen, who last week added former NHL player Brad Smyth to his roster after Brandon Benedict was ruled out for months rather than weeks, has turned to Dalgliesh with five names now on the list of absentees.
That left him in the impossible situation of having just four defencemen and four forwards while trying to stay at the top of the Elite League table.
Benedict and Colin Hemingway won’t be seen in Giants jerseys until Christmas and they have been joined by Rich Seeley, who played less than a period of Thursday night’s win over the Dundee Stars.
Jeff Mason is out for a month and the only good news is that Mark Garside isn’t likely to be out for any longer than the next fortnight.
Twenty-two-year-old Dalgliesh will make his Giants debut in tomorrow night’s return game in Dundee.
“We’ve brought Ross in on a short-term contract, but he is by no means a panacea,” said Christiansen.
“He gives us another body, but he hasn’t been playing this season so I don’t know what he will bring to the team just yet.
“He is a player that I know well because he played for me in Edinburgh and he was in Nottingham last season.”
It’s another Scot who has been excelling for the Giants and with so few options in front of him, much will depend on the performances of goaltender Stephen Murphy over the next few weeks if the Giants are to extend their stay at the top of the Elite League table.
Murphy was outstanding in the exhibition game against the Boston Bruins a couple of weeks ago and he has continued that consistent for in the league.
“Stephen Murphy has been our best player over the last few games,” said Christiansen.
“Night after night he is consistent and unflappable.
“On Thursday night against Dundee, while we were 1-0 down, he made on particular save that I would call a ‘two point save.’ If he hadn’t made it and kept the score at 1-0 I don’t think we’d enough left in the tank to come back.
“As it was we scored, took the game to a shoot-out and he was unbeaten in that as well to help us take the points.”
With so many players missing Christiansen dipped into the local youth sector to beef up his team on Thursday, with Jordan Scott-Brown on the gamesheet for the first time.
“Jordan has been training with us and he’s a good player that we are trying to develop,” said Christiansen. “He didn’t ice on Thursday, but he earned the opportunity to dress and in different circumstances he would have played.
“In a 1-1 game it isn’t the best place to put a young kid into but he will be a help to the team in years to come.”