Walser puts faith in new boy Leduc for crunch showdown
Belfast Giants coach Derrick Walser will give new signing Jerome Leduc a baptism of fire by throwing him straight into the team's biggest weekend of the season, just over 24 hours after his arrival in Belfast.
The 24-year-old Quebec-born defenceman only flew into Northern Ireland yesterday after the Giants moved quickly to snap him up from Czech club Pardubice following the news that Alex Foster will potentially miss the rest of the season.
Leduc will have little time to get to know his new team-mates before facing the Cardiff Devils in what could be a pivotal weekend in the Elite League title race as the top two go head-to-head in a massive double-header.
Two regulation time wins for the Giants would see them go top, but should the Devils chalk up two victories inside 60 minutes they would open up a seven-point lead just 10 games from home.
Walser wants his players to ensure that there is no repeat of the most recent meeting between the teams when the Devils won 5-1 at the SSE Arena in the Challenge Cup semi-final just 10 days ago.
"Once game-day hits we've got to be all business," said Walser.
"If we go and compete on both sides of the puck we're going to have an opportunity to win games, if we don't we're going to be looking at another five goals against and it's something that we all know as a group we've got to fix.
"Our guys have got to come out on their toes. We didn't come out on our toes last time, I thought Cardiff came out on their toes a lot harder than us. We've got to be a lot more ready to go.
"We need more passion in our game, I think we lacked it in Fife. We must bring that back along with some determination.
"We went to Sheffield with determination and passion and we found a way and that's how we have to approach this weekend, like we're going on the road, backs against the wall and see what happens."
The Giants will also be without captain Adam Keefe for part one of the double-header this evening due to an automatic suspension imposed for instigating a fight in the final two minutes of last Sunday's defeat to the Fife Flyers.
Under the Elite League rules, assistant coach Rob Stewart must serve a suspension too as the named coach on the official game sheet when the offence occurred.