Smith: Stingrays just need 'couple of tweaks' to win
DEFENCEMAN Jeff Smith believes Hull Stingrays are just one or two tweaks away from turning their season around.
Smith's side are currently sitting on a run of eight defeats which has seen them slump to joint-bottom of the Elite League table.
The dismal streak has seen defenceman Tomas Valecko axed this week and replaced with fellow Slovakian Martin Ondrej.
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And coach Sylvain Cloutier has warned if results don't improve, more players can expect their P45.
Smith, though, believes Stingrays are not far away from sparking into life.
He said: "We are one or two tweaks away from being the team we need to be. Maybe with Martin coming in that will help tip the balance our way, we will see this weekend."
The Rapid Solicitors Stingrays host Gardiner Conference rivals Dundee Stars on Saturday, before travelling to Sheffield Steelers on Sunday.
Stingrays have already lost three times to the Stars this season, the latest effort only last weekend – a 2-1 loss on penalty shots.
The shoot-out defeat was Stingrays' fourth of the campaign – a complete turn-around from last season when they only lost two shoot-outs in league 54 games.
The failures have continued with all five usually reliable penalty-takers missing more than they are scoring.
Smith, though, believes he has the answer.
"It should be me, Clouts and Ryan Hand taking the shots," he declared with a smile.
Asked if he could stand the pressure and will be offering his services, Smith said: "I'd love the pressure.
"I've already volunteered. In fact, I ask Sylvain at least once a week!
"I even said to the linesman last Sunday 'put my name on the sheet'"
However, given Smith has yet to score a goal this season, Cloutier is probably in no rush to take up his defenceman's offer.
Instead, Cloutier will be hoping Stingrays can halt their miserable run, by winning in either regulation or overtime.
Smith is confident, providing Stingrays can find a cure for their woeful second periods.
Repeatedly this season his side have shipped two, three or four goals in quick succession, which has left them with a mountain to climb.
Nottingham last Saturday was the latest example, with four of the Panthers' goals in the 6-0 victory leaked in the middle session.
Smith said: "I thought we played really well in Nottingham in the first and third periods, but we had a brain explosion in the second.
"We will figure it out and get it sorted, it was just a brain explosion.
"We played a great game in Dundee. If we play the same way as we did in the first and third periods against Nottingham and in Dundee we'll start winning games, we just need to score more."