Ice defence must make Capital gains

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First the good news: Sheffield Steelers may trail the early Elite League leaders by five points, but they have three games in hand.

And while Steelers nose-dived 5-2 at Cardiff Devils on Sunday, it was their first defeat in six regular season games.

Sheffield Steeler: backs to the wall.

Sheffield Steeler: backs to the wall.

Tomorrow night they have the opportunity to put that loss to the back of their minds when they play next to bottom club Edinburgh Capitals, who are on a three-games losing streak.

Capitals will not be a rested, either, they face Nottingham Panthers tonight.

But on the other hand they were only beaten by penalty shots at Coventry on Sunday and are a different proposition to previous Edinburgh teams. Sheffield coach Gerad Adams is expecting a more physical team than we have seen from north of the border.

But while Adams will be interested to see Caps for the first time this season, he will be more focused his own team’s defensive play: they have leaked in 11 goals in their last three games.

One of his pivotal players Gord Baldwin admits that, defensively, Sheffield can “look a bit sloppy at times” when players are not on the same page.

And certainly, in the first period in Wales, that was the case. But he believes the British contingent in the team - led by the likes of Jonathan Phillips and Jason Hewitt - will be a galvanising force in the weeks ahead.

“We really feed off all the British guys coming back” Baldwin said on video at thestar.co.uk.

“They are the core, they make our team run if it wasn’t for them...well, they keep everybody together and they make us what they are. They make everybody on the ice go on the right page.”

As for Capitals, he said: “I don’t know much about them, we haven’t played them but its nice to play new teams. They are probably going to come in and play a hard game so we have got to approach that with one of our better efforts.”

Concussion victim Pascal Morency was back on the ice today for the first time in over a month.

“I was good to see him out there” said coach Gerad Adams “the good news is that after the skate he felt good.

“It has been a slow process getting him back to where we are right now. There isn’t a chance we will see him either tomorrow or at the weekend (v Hull at iceSheffield)

“We will sit down with the medical team on Wednesday and see what they suggest, we are in their hands. We won’t rush him back though. We have waited this long so another week won’t hurt us.

“This is a good day though, one we have waited for. He had a big smile on his face and just having him out there gave us all a boost.”