STEELERS coach Ryan Finnerty hopes Shawn Limpright’s form will pick up from where it left off, when the domestic action resumes next weekend.
The 31-year-old Canadian forward and most of his team-mates had to sit out while Sheffield’s GB contingent were on duty in Japan in the highly-successful Olympic qualifyers.
The pause in domestic play must have been disappointing for Limpright, who has started to blossom recently, recording five points in his last three games.
“Shawn has been getting better and better,” says Finnerty. “In the last couple of weeks, he has got back to being the player we knew he could be.
“He is very popular in the (dressing) room but the fans, perhaps, won’t always recognise what he contributes.
“You have to watch him closely to appreciate what he brings: he is calm, makes very few mistakes, is very patient and has an important role defensively.
He always protects the puck down low and doesn’t get knocked off it. He always seems to make the right play even when he’s under pressure. If you are open, he will find you with the puck.
“You will be seeing him more on the Power Play and key situations and that is his reward for being 100 times better than when he first started and had to settle into a new team and a new league.”
Finnerty likes to have “all-rounders” in his team.
“You have to have guys who are good in all three zones and do the little things well” he said, referring to Limpright, who has been on an all-import line with Steve Goertzen and Tom Sestito.
“And while Shawn is good defensively, he is up there with anybody in points in the last few games.”
Great Britain will travel to Latvia for final qualifying ahead of the Winter Olympics 2014 in Russia - 7-10 February 2013. GB will play Latvia, France and Kazakhstan.
They are now ranked 21st in the world and will be the lowest seed in their group with Latvia ranked 11th in the world, France 14th and Kazakhstan 17th.