Doug Christiansen took one of the biggest decision of his coaching career before last night’s hammering of Coventry - dropping leading scorer Jeff Legue.
The centreman was off-colour in Saturday’s defeat at Nottingham and paid the price for a run which had seen him score four in 18 games.
Legue, 32 and in his seventh season with the club, was disappointed but diplomatic at the decision: “What can I do?” he said.
Christiansen clearly values Legue - who wouldn’t? But he was surely sending a message that everybody has to compete for their place.
It wasn’t lost on Stefan Meyer who scored four last night.
Yet Coventry, who lost 3-1 at Braehead on Saturday, could have been ahead by a similar score in a confusing first period. They went ahead short-handedl, Shea Guthrie cashing in on a breakdown, at 12;15.
We’d seen that coming. On two previous occasions, Steelers had lost possession on the Power Play, Russell Cowley and Kelsey Wilson both bringing saves from Frank Doyle.
Blaze clattered the pipework too: Mike Egener the post and Cale Tanaka the crossbar.
But Steelers levelled at 14;53 when Gord Baldwin’s shot was deflected in by Meyer.
Steelers defence had seeped in 13 goals in the last three games, but they were strong and Doyle’s goaltending focus unbreakable in the middle period, providing the platform for two unanswered goals.
Meyer diverted a Chad Langlais shot in at 21;00 and then benefited from a smart pass from Steve Goertzen, burying near post for his hat-trick (29;07.)
While Meyer was excelling Danny Meyers did too, doing well in a fight with Gerome Giudice on the boards.
Sheffield saved the best to the last period, dominating all areas. Max Lacroix smashed in a slapshot on the move that was too quick for Mike Zacharias in Coventry net. And a neat finish brought a fourth for Meyers at 49;23.
n On Saturday, Steelers’ offensive guns were silenced at Nottingham.
A last period goal from defenceman Dustin Kohn followed by Jason Hewitt’s fourth strike of the campaign failed to impact on the five straight goals Panthers had accrued.
Sheffield’s lack of penetration cost them; they have now lost their last three road games. Jonathan Weaver and Leigh Salters scored early, followed by Petr Kalus before the livewire Robert Lachowicz - on his 24th birthday - notched twice.