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Kelman backs Courtney as Giants face a shake-up

By Stuart McKinley

Published 25/09/2007

Ed Courtenay has been given carte blanche to make whatever changes are necessary
Ed Courtenay has been given carte blanche to make whatever changes are necessary

Ed Courtenay will get the full backing of general manager Todd Kelman in making whatever changes he wants to the Belfast Giants team after five straight defeats.

Coach Courtenay has threatened to axe players in the wake of one of the worst losing streaks in the club's seven-year history.

It is only six weeks since Courtenay completed the assembly of his team for the new season, but early results haven't gone the team's way and they have won just once in six outings so far.

Seven new faces have come in and the run of defeats has been put down to those players taking time to gel with those already on the team, but Kelman says it is now time for the excuses to stop.

"I will back Ed all the way in whatever he wants to do," said Kelman, who retired from playing at the end of last season to take up the GM position only to return to the ice after two games of this campaign.

"After the results we have had players have to look in the mirror and ask themselves have they been good enough so far.

"You can only use the excuse of it taking time to gel for so long, sooner rather than later you have to look at why you are losing games and then look to put things right. We need to be winning games and Ed will do what he has to do to get us winning."

Kelman has played four games in the absence of Slovakian defenceman Roman Gavailier.

He was initially expected to be out for up to six weeks, but hope remains that he will be fit to face the Nottingham Panthers at the Odyssey on Friday night as Kelman is keen to step out of the line-up as quickly as possible.

"It is hard to say when exactly Roman will be back," said Kelman.

" The original diagnosis was that he would be out for between three to six weeks. It is three weeks this weekend and Roman looks in good shape, so will see what the doctors have to say about him.

"A general manager shouldn't be playing too and no other general manager in the league would be in this position."

"If things move quickly then there could be new faces on-board as quickly as Friday night's game against the Panthers and Kelman claims that there will be no shortage of players available to Courtenay.

"Training camps in the NHL and the AHL are just breaking up and there are guys in there who won't have got contracts," he said.

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