Doug Christiansen is preparing to throw Greg Stewart into the Belfast Giants’ bid for Play-off glory.
The former NHL player is expected to be unleashed on the Edinburgh Capitals at the Odyssey Arena on Saturday night as the Giants go in pursuit of the final piece of silverware this season.
Stewart has endured a nightmare since the beginning of February.
Firstly he was hit with a nine-match suspension by an Elite League disciplinary committee after two incidents in the same game against the Cardiff Devils.
Although that ban was reduced to six games on appeal he picked up an injury in his first game back three weeks later and hasn’t played at all in March.
He was one of half a dozen Giants players who stayed behind in Belfast at the weekend while their team-mates were beating Coventry Blaze and the Sheffield Steelers to win the Erhardt Conference.
Jeff Mason, Will Colbert, Colin Shields, Mark Garside and Daymen Rycroft are all expected to be in the reckoning to face Edinburgh this weekend too, with the winners heading to Nottingham for the final four a week later.
“I would expect almost all of the guys who missed the weekend to be ready to play against Edinburgh,” said Christiansen.
“There are very few times as a coach when I have been more proud of my players than last weekend.
“I got two 100% team efforts, our best players were the best players in each game and I had two goaltenders who played very well.
“Those guys should be excited after playing so well and the guys who had the weekend off and didn’t have to respond to an alarm clock should be refreshed and pushing all week in practice for a place in the team.
“Guys like Daymen Rycroft and Jeff Mason are guys you want in Play-offs, but there are places there to be played for and not everyone can play.”