EDINBURGH CAPITALS’ SNL assistant captain Chris Blackburn was delighted to win two of the four trophies last season – but believes his team could be better.
The Caps missed out on the SNL title and the play-offs although they did win the Scottish and the Autumn Cups last season.
And Blackburn believes even at this early stage in the season and the closeness of their opponents, he reckons something as little as a dropped point could be fatal.
He said: “In such a close league it’s massive to get a good start. As we’ve seen in previous years, a dropped point at the start of the season can decide who lifts the trophy.
“We learned a lot last season and it was always going to be difficult carrying on from what we achieved during the 2013/14 campaign.
“There was still positives, bringing home the Autumn Cup and winning the Scottish Cup for the third year in a row, plus we made the final of the playoffs and also battled in the league right up to the last couple of games.
“If it wasn’t for winning the Grand Slam the year before, you would consider that a successful outing, one that most teams would be delighted to achieve.
“But we know we can do better and with that, I’ve not been surprised at how we’ve started at all. When we’re firing on all cyclinders, the talent we have throughout the team can win games.
“We just need to make sure that we continue that form going forward.”
The Caps return to action after an idle weekend to host Dundee Comets on Sunday at Murrayfield, with Kirkcaldy Kestrels level on points with them, although Scott Neil’s men have a game in hand.
Comets could find themselves up there if they overcome Kilmarnock Storm in the first of their weekend double header on Saturday.
But Blackburn is taking nothing for granted when the Tayside men come to visit on Sunday and knows all about their strengths.
And he reckons the league overall has improved in recent years, helped by the influx of young talent coming through among all the teams.
He added: “The Comets have always been up there since I’ve played. They’re a difficult team to play against and I know they’ll be coming for the win on Sunday.
“I feel we’re playing some of the best hockey we’ve played in the last three seasons at the moment and that’s important.
“Plus it’s vital for us to look forward and not in the past as this is the first time we’ll face the Comets this season and I’m sure it will be an exciting match.
“But overall, I believe the SNL has vastly improved over the last few years. Three different teams have won the league in the last three seasons, which shows that teams are getting better.
“Also, the gap between the top and bottom of the league has reduced over the years, making things more exciting for all involved.
“The teams are made up of younger players than before which is great for the sport. I think it’s important that if a kid has the talent, they should be involved in the SNL as soon as possible.
“Ideally we all want the SNL to be a development league, one where talented enough players can get some experience before moving into the Elite. There’s still a long way to go, but it’s moving in the right direction.”