Leeds Knights rocked by further injury blow as centre Joe Coulter is sidelined
The 26-year-old assistant captain suffered damage to his rotator cuff in his shoulder towards the end of the 6-2 home defeat to Peterborough Phantoms on Saturday and is a further knock to head coach Dave Whistle, who already has one centre on the sidelines in the shape of loan signing Philip Edgar.
It leaves him with just two centremen in Brandon Whistle and Matty Davies for this weekend’s games against Bees IHC and Peterborough, unless he can somehow find a way to bring in yet another fresh body.
Coulter’s misfortune means Whistle will be definitely be without five players this weekend, as the Scot joins fellow forwards Edgar, Cole Shudra, defenceman Jordan Griffin and No 1 netminder Sam Gospel on the injured list. The Canadian hopes to have more positive news on Ross Kennedy (lower-body) and Adam Barnes (illness), who both missed last weekend.
“It just seems to be the way it is going for us at the moment,” said a frustrated Whistle ahead of Thursday night’s practice.
“I’ve never been on a team that just keeps getting injuries all at the same time. I don’t know what it is. Even when I played on teams for all those years, I’ve never been with a group who had seven out of 18 guys injured.
“Joe has been fantastic all year for us, so it’s another big loss for us. He’s a very important part of our third line and is a great all-round player. He works hard all the time, he’s a good leader on the ice.
“Him and Jordan Fisher, I find them doing a really good job penalty killing, they have got better and better at it as the season has gone on .
“They get in the shooting lanes, they make the guys pass it around so they don’t get too many shots from the high area. So they have worked hard at getting better at that and that is kind of their role on the team.
“It’s just a case of him resting and letting it heal - it could be anything from 2-4 weeks. So we’re going to see if we can get anybody in at short notice just to help us out this weekend.”
One option for Whistle could be a quick, one-off recall for forward Lewis Houston, who recently returned home to Scotland due to work and family commitments. The Leeds coach would be delighted if the 20-year-old could help out, even if it was just for Saturday’s visit to Elland Road from Bees.