Belfast Giants’ Player/Coach Derrick Walser has blasted his team after Tuesday night’s overtime loss at home to Sheffield Steelers.
The defeat left Giants fifth in the Elite League table, eleven points behind leaders Cardiff Devils, and Walser has promised changes if his players don’t improve.
“I thought the pace was a little bit down – you could see it with the numbers of games we’ve had,” said Walser.
“We tried to change some things. We changed the penalty kill to be a little bit more aggressive and did a decent job on that, but the third period was an absolute embarrassment.
“It doesn’t matter what system or what coach you have, you can’t put in an effort like that against a team you’re trying to track down and who’s beaten you five times in a row – it was embarrassing.
“They came out in the third period and won it – they deserved the overtime goal. They wanted it and we just sat there and watched them.
“I will clean house. I’m not scared to retire guys and put guys away. I want a team with effort and desire and right now we’re about 50/50.
“When we have the puck we want it, and when we don’t we’re unwilling to do the small things.
“I want guys with passion and it’s time for me to get ruthless. I’ve told them if they’re not willing to work and I believe I can find someone better, there’s always younger and hungrier guys out there.
Walser has already strengthened his roster this week with the signing of ex-NHL defenseman Jim Vandermeer, and he’s confident the Canadian will spark a resurgence in Giants’ fortunes.
“Jim is the complete package,” added Walser. “He can play, he’s tough, he knows how to win and he’ll do anything for a team.
“He’s going to help us, and he’ll be a leader in that room because he cares.”
(Image permission: Andy Gibson)