The Sheffield Steelers players take to the ice again tonight, at home to Coventry Blaze, without head coach Doug Christiansen behind the bench.
The Steelers boss has remained in the United States after the death of his father the week before.
The Steelers players didn’t respond too well last weekend without Christiansen, picking up just one out of four points on offer.
Tonight’s game is the first of three in four days, with a difficult weekend up in Fife on Saturday before a home clash with Braehead the following evening.
The reality is that six points are needed.
Marc LeFebvre will once again be in charge, but the simple fact is that the players, probably as experienced a team as the club has had in years, have to take some self responsibility with their head coach away.
This is Britain, not North America; here, every league game matters. It isn’t a seven-month, 52-game warm-up for the play offs.
This is the main event, the league. A bad run here and the league championship could be over.
There is enough, or there should be more than enough experience and professionalism in the Steelers’ dressing room to firstly realise that, and secondly deliver the goods.
Last weekend was simply not good enough. My message would be: don’t look at LeFebvre, look in the mirror.
The Coventry side we face tonight is the same one that won in overtime on Sunday, and a reversal of that result is a must or Halloween will take on a whole new meaning.
Steven Goertzen is again an injury doubt. We missed him last weekend; on and off the ice, he is the most respected figure on the side.
Now that Ilpo Salmivirta has departed for France, every player has to give that bit extra.
Every fan has to cheer that bit louder, and every one of us behind the scenes must work that bit harder.
What message are we sending Doug Christiansen?
That this team, this club falls apart if he isn’t here?
Every one of us has a duty whilst he is away. A loss tonight and the pressure for him to return early will be one that none of us should be happy to accept responsibility for.
His place right now is with his mother and his family. We owe him, and them, that.
So, game seven tonight.
Win at all costs.