Dave Simms column: A special year for the Special One

Dowd in overseas action
Dowd in overseas action
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Robert Dowd is about to have his best ever season as a Sheffield Steeler.

In just two weeks and four games Dowdy has shown he has the desire to deliver a big year. I believe that Paul Thompson will drive Dowd more so than he has ever been driven before. The new Steelers coach will touch the right buttons to get the best from this incredible talent.

Dowdy is a driven man and he has the in-built self desire. He is a special talent and Thompson is the perfect coach to get the best from him. What will Thompson do differently to other coaches? I think Thompson is at his best when one-to one-with players. He will take the time to work with a guy who can make the team better.

Dowdy has delivered 27, 26 and 22 goals in his last three seasons in orange (add a 37 goal year in Belfast.) The ability is there.

He is in peak physical fitness - and when he is fit, strong and of clear mind he can achieve anything - skating hard, finishing checks, chasing down pucks.

In Sweden and Finland Dowdy’s back pressure was outstanding – he could skate with the Swedes and Finns and when Dowd is skating as hard as that he is a threat and a danger. Ever since Rob burst on to the scene scoring 23 goals in his first full season with the club in 2008-09 I have marvelled at his talent.

I’ve also been frustrated as I have always thought there was more, that here was a special talent. Doug Christensen took special notice that one year in Belfast and Dowd responded with goals galore and a contract move to Sweden. When Dowd returned I felt he wasn’t the same for either Christensen or Gerad Adams, I so wanted a coach to just grab Dowdy and work with him. From the moment Thompson took the job I told him that Dowdy was going to have a great year. Rob would have known that Paul expects big things and through the summer would work hard to be in great shape – and he did, and he is.

I think Dowdy knows Paul won’t accept second best from him. I think Paul knows that an on fire Dowdy gives the Steelers something other clubs don’t have.

They are a hand and a glove partnership. They both need each other to succeed.

Dowdy has flown out of the blocks and when he does that he excites us.

Rob is one of the few players in the league that can make you slide to the edge of your seat when he gets the puck and then stand and hold your breath as he creates a chance.

On Sunday Dowdy will need once again to be at his brilliant best as the Steelers take on JYP Jyvaskyla in the first of two home Champions Hockey League games at the Sheffield arena (the second being next Saturday against Swedish giants Frolunda.)

Can the Steelers make history, can they take a point or two of the Finish legends? Well if Robert Dowd has his say they might just do something very special.