Lambert boosts Belfast Giants’ title bid
Doug Christiansen’s latest capture means that he now has a full line-up at his disposal for the first time since mid-September.
The Belfast Giants coach has seen his roster severely depleted by injuries over the last couple of month, but Christiansen would have wanted forward Simon Lambert even if everyone else was fully fit.
Lambert is a player that Christiansen knows well having been in his Edinburgh Capitals team last season and he is well aware of what the new capture will bring.
The 27-year-old Quebec-born shooter arrived in Belfast yesterday, despite a number of flights being cancelled due to snow and he will be on the ferry that departs to Scotland this morning for the weekend double header against the Edinburgh Capitals.
“Any time the opportunity to bring in a player of this quality comes up I think you’ve got to look at it,” said Christiansen.
“He was in an unhappy situation in Sweden and that has worked to our advantage.
“Simon is a fantastic player, he is fast and adds an element to our team in offence. He is definitely going to help us.
“We haven’t had a full line-up since September 18, so it’s quite exciting for me as a coach to be in this situation.”
Lambert’s 34 goals in 64 games for the Capitals last season earned him a move to Sweden, but when things turned sour in Scandinavia and the 28-year-old was delighted that Christiansen offered him an exit route.
“When my situation this season was not what I expected it to be, I contacted Doug to talk about where I was standing and what his plans were for the team,” said Lambert.
“It was not too long before we got to an agreement. What the Giants have to offer at this point fits me perfectly and I am really excited to join a team at the top of the standings.”
With the Giants spending the weekend in Edinburgh there is expected to be a large travelling support in Scotland, with many of those heading over also using it as a Christmas shopping trip.
“It will be great to have a good support fully behind us and I sure hope they have a really good weekend,” said Christiansen.
“We’re there on business though. Make no mistake about it, we are going there for the points and if we can share some seasonal cheer afterwards then great.”
If Lambert is Christiansen’s early Christmas present, then a late one is also awaiting him, with Brandon Benedict edging towards a return to action.
Benedict hit 16 goals last season, when he was also out injured for a spell and has had his leg in a cast since September. There was good news at the start of this week though when Benedict was given the all clear to return to the ice.
He isn’t yet in full training, but getting his skates on again is a big sign of progress and a return in the Boxing Day home clash with the Braehead Clan is now a possibility.
“We’re taking things slowly with Brandon. He’s been out for a while and there is no point in rushing him,” said Christiansen.
The news on Colin Hemingway, however, isn’t quite as positive. He has been missing for over a month now with a knee injury and will be out for a further spell.