I'm about to see just how strong my Giants really are, says Derek Walser
Derrick Walser is relishing the opportunity to fully evaluate the strength of his Belfast Giants squad as his injured players near full fitness.
Defenceman Jim Vandermeer and forward pair Steve Saviano and Alex Foster all missed last Saturday night's defeat at the hands of the Fife Flyers, but the trio are hoping to be on the ice tonight for the Challenge Cup rematch - the Giants' first home game of the season.
Michael Quesnele will also make his debut in defence after the former Coventry Blaze ace signed on Monday and he will face his old club tomorrow night in the first Elite League match of the season.
And that's when Walser will get a full picture of the ability of his team.
"I believe that we have improved with what we have brought in, but I can't say that others haven't," said Giants player-coach Walser.
"I like the group and what I like is that I can see where we are going.
"It was difficult for me last year, I didn't know the league, but I knew what I wanted to bring in and Steve Thornton and I have worked well together to get onto the same page and identify the players for the roles that we wanted.
"I can't really evaluate the team as a whole just yet because of injuries.
"I just don't know exactly where we are at, but I am looking forward to finding out."
Walser put last weekend's 5-2 loss in Fife down to "one bad period" and now wants his team to be more resilient when things don't quite click.
"We have to learn how to play through those spells and come out of a bad period only giving up one goal rather than three," he said.
Walser has also confirmed that Adam Keefe will captain the team again this season, his fifth in a row with the 'C' on his shirt.
"Everyone who knows Adam Keefe knows that he is a captain and I didn't even look down the path at anyone else," said Walser.