Belfast Telegraph

Keefe seeks players' feedback on eve of make or break spell


By Stuart McKinley

Adam Keefe has taken steps to ensure that his Belfast Giants players are fully focused as they approach a run of six games in 12 days that could make or break their season.

The Giants coach is determined that everyone will have their minds firmly on the game ahead of crunch Elite League and Challenge Cup games packed into a period that is potentially season defining.

Keefe has held individual meetings with each of his players and hopes that the conversations will have an immediate impact, starting this evening when they lock horns with the Nottingham Panthers before a trip to the Sheffield Steelers tomorrow.

"I want to keep open communication with the players," said Keefe. "From being a player myself I know there are times when there are things in your head that eat at you or you don't know what the coach is thinking.

"The communication probably won't be instigated by the player so I want to get feedback from them about me too and to make sure I am aware of what they are thinking.

"I allow them to vent if it is needed and with a big stretch of games coming up the players can go in with a clear head having got anything they want off their chest and have their minds on what these games are about."

Keefe, however, has steered clear of opening conversations with players about next season.

He feels that could be a distraction as the Giants try to overturn the Cardiff Devils' three-point lead at the top of the Elite League table as well as preparing for a two-legged Challenge Cup semi-final with Nottingham, which will take place on the next two Wednesday evenings.

That won't stop the coach and the club's director of hockey operations Steve Thornton from working in the background to ensure that no matter what happens over the next couple of months, the team will be in the best possible shape to challenge again next season.

"I have regular conversations with Steve Thornton about next season, but it is not fair on players to start talking to them," said Keefe.

"You can end up getting into negotiations about money and that can take away the focus from the players.

"We do start planning our budgets and look at the university programme, but there is plenty of time once the season ends to engage in conversations with players."

Belfast Telegraph

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