Stingrays at Dundee: Ryan Hand can turn defence into attack
ENFORCER Ryan Hand says he will have no qualms about switching from defence to attack once Shane Lovdahl finally joins up with his Hull Stingrays' team-mates.
The American defenceman is still at home, waiting for his work visa to be granted.
Once he arrives, the 27-year-old will slot in on the blueline, with Hand moving up front to play alongside coach Sylvain Cloutier and Chris Sykes.
And Hand is more than happy to fit in with the Rapid Solicitors Hull Stingrays coach's plans.
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"It had been a while since I played on defence, but Sylvain asked me to play there while Shane gets here.
"Once Shane arrives we'll stay with five defencemen and I'll move up front with Sylvain, I'm pretty pumped up for that," said Hand.
"Up front I'll be able to make a few more hits, and that should get fans and team-mates in the game a bit more."
In Canadian Hand's book hitting is not restricted to putting in a physical challenge on an opponent.
Dropping his gloves for a punch-up is a speciality.
Having racked up 168 fights and accumulated 1,405 penalty minutes in his 393-game career in North America, Hand is no shrinking violet in the fisticuffs stakes.
So much so, he spent the close-season insisting he has more to offer than being a one-trick pony at the top of the goon stats.
The initial reaction to his signing on fans' forums also found his father weighing into the arguments.
So far, Hand junior has proved spot on with his assessment, with barely a fist raised in anger.
He can, indeed, play more than just a bit, chipping in with the opening goal against Cardiff.
Nevertheless, he's adamant there will be fireworks at some stage.
"I will have opportunities to get some hits in and drop the gloves and do my job," said Hand.
"I stick up for my team-mates. There are going to be times for fighting, for instance if we're down a couple of goals, or if the team is playing flat I can go out and spark them up, it's a momentum thing.
"Also, if people are taking liberties I'll go out there, I'm not shy of doing that. No-one scares me."
While home fans have yet to see how Hand measures up in the enforcer stakes, Dundee supporters could get a taste tomorrow in Scotland.
For Hand – having had the opportunity to suss out Nottingham and Cardiff in the Challenge Cup – the Stars are an unknown quantity.
"Obviously our fans were expecting us to get blown away against Nottingham, looking at their bench and ours, but I thought we did really well, and then we beat Cardiff," he said.
"I haven't heard much about Dundee, but I know we'll be competing with them for a spot in the league this year. We need to come out every single night and play.
"It doesn't matter who it's against, we want as many points as early in the season as we can."