Ceman: GB can take advantage of shot shy Danes

Dan Ceman worked in Denmark with SønderjyskE and is now head coach of Slovakian side Banska Bystrica (PHOTO: hc05.sk)

Former Dundee Stars coach Dan Ceman reckons Great Britain could claim a win over Denmark as they get set to meet in Kosice this afternoon.

The Danes have one win and one defeat from their two games and could be one contest Pete Russell has targeted to take points and help their survival bid in Group A of the World Championships.

And Ceman, who formerly coached in Denmark with SønderjyskE until moving to Slovakia with Banska Bystrica, broke down the strengths and weaknesses ahead of today’s clash.

“Denmark have the pedigree in these championships and can always get some of the NHL players back to score some goals,” Ceman said.  

“They’ve always had a good defensive structure, but they’ve got a new coach this year, who was the assistant coach previously.

“They had a succession of Swedish coaches for a while now, but now they have Dane in Heinz Ehlers so we’ll see if they change their direction. They’ve played defensively for years and I expect that will stay the same.

“Where GB could have success is the fact that Denmark don’t score a lot of goals.  If they can shut down the Regin line, they have a chance.

“It’s an uphill battle against anybody in Pool A, but maybe Denmark is a team they can knock off.  Obviously, GB need good goaltending and timely goalscoring, which would be help.”

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Ceman, a two-time Danish champion, picked out the key players coach Heinz Ehlers will look to as they look to improve their own points tally so far.

And the former Nottingham Panthers, Sheffield Steelers and Fife Flyers forward also weighed up the goaltending options and although Sebastien Daum has played in both games, there could be game time for a former Elite League player.

Ceman added: “I’d say the Danes are around the same level as Slovakia, perhaps a little more dangerous because they have some good forwards.  

“When I look through the line-up, they have Peter Regin, Mikkel Bødker and Niklas Jensen on the top line and Regin and Bødker both play in the NHL while Jensen is in the KHL for Jokerit.

“He didn’t quite cut it in the NHL, but I was always a fan.  Then you have Lars Eller, who, with Regin, could be first line centre.

“Without Eller, the talent drops off slightly scoring wise, but they have two good lines offensively, plus a couple of defencemen who play in the Swedish Allsvenskan who are pretty decent.

“They don’t score a ton of goals, but they’re good and there is talent through their line-up.

“In goal, Patrick Galbraith will be familiar to British fans because of his time at Nottingham Panthers, but I don’t know who will start as their number one, with Fredrik Andersen out.

Ceman played in Bracknell, Nottingham, Sheffield, Fife and Dundee before going on to coach Dundee Stars during his time in the UK (PHOTO: Banksa Bystrica)

“Sebastien Daum is the other goalie and he usually stepped in if Andersen wasn’t there.  Paddy had a great year in Denmark and was the best netminder in Denmark.

“But I think playing against guys that you know can be overrated.  You do something different, but if he is picked, he’ll do well as will Daum.”

Ceman also weighed up GB’s experience, insisting there’s no pressure on them and revealed how the prospect of the Championships in the build-up was an exciting one for Slovakian fans.

He said: “What I like from GB and the coaching staff is the belief they have in the team and they’re a close knit group who went through a lot last year to get themselves up there.

“Whatever they get out of this will be awesome and if they can stay up, it will be a fantastic achievement.  They can’t really lose and that’s the great thing about the situation.

“It might be scary to come up against big hitters like Canada, but what’s the worst that can happen.  They just have to focus in particular games, like against against France and I hope they can get at least one win from those.  It’s certainly doable.

“But the fans have been so excited about this tournament coming to Slovakia and that’s one of the things I love about being here.  They love their hockey.

“Our league generates so much interest and passion and I guess here, you’re either a football or an ice hockey person.  In Denmark, they love a variety of different sports, but it’s one or the other here.”

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