For me season 2009-2010 was one of if not the best season in the clubs history to date. It all started with the return of Player Coach Doug Christiansen for what was his third season at the helm. What better way to test his new team with an early season tournament here at Murrayfield named the Gardiner Cup. It included the Caps, Belfast Giants and two AHL sides Hamilton Bulldogs and Toronto Marlies. Caps and Giants faced Marlies and Bulldogs respectively with both AHL teams winning and moving onto the final which Hamilton finally won. NHL Superstar PK Subban playing for Hamilton was the pick of the bunch as he started out in his early pro career.
From the previous campaign top Brits Ben O'Connor, Mark Garside and Kyle Horne all returned. Along with ever presents Neil Hay and Jordan Steel. Hay had probably his best ever season as a Cap being asked to play on D and receiving special praise from his coach for his efforts. Scott McKenzie signed from Romford of the EPL and had a fairly good year. British enforcer Andrew Sharp was brought in to add toughness to the team and youngsters Mark Paterson and back up goalie Craig Holland made up the British contingent. Three former NHLers were signed in sharpshooter Owen Fussey, starting netminder Cody Rudkowsky and solid Dman Chris Allen. Fussey was a quality addition he was strong as an ox and deceivingly quick, finishing top goal scorer with 38 markers. Goalie Rudkowsky had class and you could see why he had played one game in the show with St Louis Blues. Allen sadly failed to impress and was released after only 18 games. Top scorer for the season was flying Canadian Simon Lambert. Along with Fussey they tore teams apart and he finished up with 88 points to his name. Canadian Dman Mark Smith proved to be Mr Consistent in he first year on these shores. Returning captain Martin Cingel again lead the way although he had an injury plagued season icing in only half the games. Christiansen himself had to stop playing after the opening league game when he picked up a serious knee injury. This was a huge blow but Doug called on his old buddy Jeff Hutchins who came in after a bad start at Sheffield Steelers. Dan Welch and Marc Lefebrve both had EIHL experience from previous years and they came in mid season and fitted in perfectly. Young first year pro blueliner Mike Beynon was another who struggled with injury and we never really seen the best of him. Small but feisty Canadian Sean Perkins who had played half a season the year before winning player of the year decided again to come back after the call went out to him to return mid season thanks to the fans offering to pay for his flight and wages. Lithuanian Darius Pliskauskas only lasted 17 games in his second spell with the club in three years. He moved onto Romford Raiders in the EPL.
The league campaign finished with the Caps placed in 6th place just two points behind 5th placed Sheffield Steelers. In February the Caps were fighting for 4th spot but a few injuries and slight loss of form saw us slide down the standings. Each night though we had a chance to win beating all the top teams at one point throughout the year. We finished with 22 wins from 56 games. Coventry Blaze won the title by a point to Belfast Giants. Simon Lambert finished 3rd in the league scoring chart with 31 + 47 = 78. Owen Fussey was voted best newcomer to the EIHL and he also was named in the 2nd All Star team. Into the Play Offs the team went for the third year in a row under Christiansen. We faced Nottingham Panthers with the first leg ending in a 4-4 tie here at Murrayfield. Sadly the trip to Nottingham did not go to plan and we lost 5-0 in the 2nd leg. Belfast went on to grab the Play Off Trophy. The Challenge Cup was again poor for the club finishing 3rd in the four team group, failing to qualify. Nottingham beating Cardiff to pick up the prize. The league did hold a 20:20 Hockey Fest in Sheffield which saw all eight clubs participate. All games on the same day, 2 periods, running clock, 4on4. The Caps lost 1-0 to Newcastle in the Quarter Final in a tournament Sheffield went onto win.
Individual club awards saw the impressive Owen Fussey winning Players Player of the Year and Player of the Year. Neil Hay won the Coaches award with Mark Garside Best British Player. This was to be the end of the Doug Christiansen era in Edinburgh but he brought three great years to the club.
Top scorer Simon Lambert had this to say “I was really impressed with Owen Fussey. I was fortunate to play with him all year, and he was probably the best player I played with. He was fast, he hit hard, he had a good vision, and his shot was like a rocket. It made my job way easier. I loved Edinburgh, I still consider it one of the best cities I have visited. It is charming because there is a lot more to discover once you get past the standard touristic attractions, which are themselves very interesting by the way."
Marc Lefebvre played for the Caps that season, he gave this interview: https://soundcloud.com/user-452609960/marc-lefebvre
You can read interviews from past players from the 2009-10 season and all other years at my website - www.eastycatchesupwith.wordpress.com
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