Christiansen urges Belfast Giants to turn around losing streak
Doug Christiansen last night challenged his Belfast Giants players to show that they can respond to adversity once again by turning their current losing run into a lengthy winning streak.
Having come through a period where coach Christiansen was just about able to ice the minimum number of players, with half a dozen players on the injured list, and still maintained their lead at the top of the Elite League table, the Giants have now lost three times in four games at a time when players like Brandon Benedict and Mike Hoffman have returned to action.
Christiansen labelled the latest of those defeats, Thursday’s |3-2 reverse at the hands of the Newcastle Vipers, as ‘incredibly disappointing’ and ‘probably the most disappointing of the season so far’, but he saw enough in the performance and the attitude of his players in yesterday’s practice session to suggest that there is a determination to arrest the slump.
And he wants that to start at home to the Hull Stingrays tomorrow evening (5pm face-off).
“One of the most disappointing things about the defeats against Braehead and Cardiff was that we didn’t accomplish a lot of the things that we wanted to,” said Christiansen.
“Against Newcastle we set out to be physical, to be team-tough and to play behind their defencemen. We did all those things and the only problem was that we just didn’t score goals.
“We had offence, we had efficiency and we restricted them to six shots in the last two periods, which is amazing in this league. When you do that you give yourself a real chance of winning games, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen.
“Every team will have a tough stretch during the season, the concern is how long it lasts. We have to go out on Sunday and stop the bleeding.
“I know that this team is capable of winning a lot of games in a row, but there has to be a start to that.
“This team has had to deal with more than their fair share of injuries and come through that adversity, now it’s time to show that we can come through adversity again and we’re all in it together.”
Christiansen is well aware that the fixture list throws up three successive contests against the Nottingham Panthers after tomorrow night.
Managers and coaches often trot out the line about taking one game at a time. Given that the Giants are in need of getting back on track before facing the Panthers there is no doubting the validity of that statement when it comes from Christiansen.
“The Nottingham games are so far in the back of my mind that they’re almost not there at all. Hull is the only thing that we’re thinking about,” he said.
“The players were down on Thursday night but there was intensity and a jump in practice with guys pushing each other on which was good to see.”