Düsseldorf The ice hockey instructor is not fit again after his corona infection. The worries are far greater on the defensive. After the end of the season for Kyle Cumiskey, DEG is looking for a replacement – but nobody is there yet.
A Friday evening on the sofa is really nice sometimes. Especially if you don’t experience it that often because of your job. But if the ice hockey pros from the Düsseldorfer EG have their way, they could have done without it this week. “Every day training and only one game a week – that’s nothing,” says Bernhard Ebner, whose team is now experiencing exactly that. The culprit is the fact that the German Ice Hockey League (DEL) is again playing with 15 teams. One thing always has to be suspended, on the third day of the new season it was DEG’s turn.
However, this had an advantage: the coach Roger Hansson, who was infected with the corona virus, had two days longer to get back on his feet. But even those weren’t enough. When his team gets on the bus to Augsburg on Saturday, where the next game is on Sunday (4.30 p.m. / Magentasport), Hansson will not be there. The Swede’s strength is not enough for the trip and a DEL game behind the gang.
As bitter as Hansson’s failure is, the situation for his assistants Thomas Dolak and Daniel Kreutzer is nothing new. Last season they had to help out several times as bosses because Harold Kreis was absent. Since they won four of those six games. This season they are even at 100 percent, because they were already responsible on Sunday in Schwenningen and were able to celebrate three points. But that didn’t change the fact that manager Niki Mondt had to announce “bad news” two days later: The season is already over for defender Kyle Cumiskey, the 35-year-old tore a cruciate and inner ligament in Schwenningen. What was less surprising for fellow defender Ebner: “We had the suspicion during the game, we had to expect the worst.” Now that has happened, the already thinly staffed DEG defense has lost one of its most important men. Which, on the one hand, guarantees more ice time for the rest, but nobody thinks like that, says Ebner: “There will be replacements, and that’s necessary.”
But there is still no new one, although Mondt has been looking for weeks. Because even with Cumiskey there were only eight defenders – four of them under 25 years old. In addition, Niklas Heinzinger is also absent for Augsburg, with 20-year-old Justus Böttcher making his DEL debut. In the long term, however, more is needed, but the market is difficult. At DEG, they hope that this will change soon. The training camps in the North American NHL started this Wednesday. There are 50 to 60 players skating in each hall, and the squads get smaller every few days. And not everyone who doesn’t make it to the NHL wants to play in the lower leagues in North America, some prefer to come to Europe. So no one at DEG panics that they now have to appear decimated for a long time.
The game on Sunday would have come too early for a new defender anyway. Now the rest has to do it there. And after two opening wins against Ingolstadt (4:3 after extra time) and in Schwenningen (2:1), he has a lot of self-confidence. Of course, not everything was perfect so early in the season and with a new system, DEG lost a 3-0 lead against Ingolstadt, in Schwenningen they lagged behind too much in the second third. But what should the people of Augsburg say first? They also have a new coach, Scotsman (!) Peter Russell. And they have already twice gone empty-handed, first 2-1 in Iserlohn, on Thursday they had no chance at all when they lost 6-0 in Munich. What DEG could now feel: “They will do everything to make this game forgotten,” says Mondt.
To make matters worse: In between there was a 5:2 over the Kölner Haie. It’s no coincidence that the AEV performs better at home than away from home. Last season, Bayern scored 29 more points at home than away from home. Which also depends on your audience. So Bernhard Ebner says: “A strong team at home, a loud stadium and a new coach – that will be an interesting task.”