Bruce Boudreau, former coach of NHL Washington Capitals, once labelled Danick Paquette: “One of those guys that everybody loves to hate.”
The agitating Canadian wing may well find out exactly how much he is disliked on Saturday, when Sheffield Steelers entertain his present side Coventry Blaze.
In the sides’ last meeting at the Arena Pacquette caught Fitzgerald late, the Sheffield d-man damaging his knee as he fell on to the back of the goal cage.
Fitzgerald immediately fought Pacquet who prides himself as a player who gets “under people’s skin.” The Blaze man came off worse - and his ordeal may not be over yet.
Fitzgerald hasn’t said anything publicly, but the dressing room buzz is that Fitzgerald still feels he has some unfinished business. So keep your eyes peeled on a possible confrontation as ‘Fitzy’ was supremely frustrated the injury kept him out of following games.
Personal vendettas aside, Steelers will be hoping to improve on their third place League position, which they occupied at the end of the last season.
Coach Paul Thompson implied his team were a little withdrawn in the first half hour of Wednesday’s 4-3 iceSheffield win over Milton Keynes Lightning. It suggested a dip in confidence, although that was not explicitly said. Coventry may be experiencing the same.
They lost 4-7 to MKL in the Challenge Cup last Sunday after being shut out 2-0 at Fife Flyers the night before. Steelers were insistent they must not lose three in a row and Blaze will share that sentiment, so it should be a competitive contest.
Thompson’s men will try and keep a leash on Coventry captain Jordan Pietrus, who has scored four goals and four assists in six games. Their top goalscorer Marc-Olivier Vallerand has five goals.
FACTSPOT: Former Steelers Luke Ferrara has joined his old team-mates Ben O’Connor and Robert Dowd in the top ten British point scorers in the EIHL.
O’Connor leads the pack with one goal and 11 assists.