Sheffield Steelers: More changes may loom after home-form lapses

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Doug Christiansen appears to be accepting the notion that team he built to win the Elite League may not be able to pull off the task.

He has not explicitly said as much - but he has acknowledged that he may have bring in new players, despite the chopping and changing already done since this topsy-turvy season started.

Danny Meyers was praised by Steelers boss Doug Christiansen

Danny Meyers was praised by Steelers boss Doug Christiansen

Sunday’s defeat at home by Belfast Giants (six home losses out of 12 tells its own story) meant the Irish league leaders created a seven point advantage over Sheffield in the league and a eight point lead in the Conference.

While some of the British players, notably Rob Dowd, Danny Meyers and Jonathan Phillips put in some excellent shifts, some of the imports looked inferior to Belfast’s.

Speaking on video at thestar.co.uk, Christiansen acknowledgted it had not been “the start we wanted” in terms of form.

“There is no doubt in my mind that for us to accomplish our goals, we have got to improve our home record” he said.

“Overall I think our consistence has to improve as a hockey club, your habits have to be consistent, your decision and your energy levels have to be consistent. For us as a team that is an area that we have to improve, if we can do that we can be a very good team.”

He wants his players to win personal battles for loose pucks, “go to the dirty areas, find a second effort, when you have an opportunity to drive to the net”.

He pinpointed the effort and selflessness of d-man Danny Meyers as an example to others: “He went down to block a shot, twists and turns reaches reaches all way around behind himself to knock a puck pout of the zone, you see the passion you see the energy level that’s what we are looking for.”

Asked about the possibility of going into the player-market again, he replied: “Given the circumstance, Tony (Smith, the owner) and I are going to have to sit down and find out what our options are, it’s too early for me to comment.”

But he did add: “I haven’t had the chance to talk to him about our ability to bring players in...”

Christiansen stated that “Every single player on our team could be more consistent” - and he will need to find that magic formula before next weekend, when they play back to back matches against Nottingham Panthers, probably without injured goal sniper Stefan Meyer.

But he said of the upcoming Panthers clashes: “We need to play as well as we possibly can. If we do that hopefully the results will come.”

Braehead Clan ann Nottingham are both two points behind third-placed Sheffield, but with four games and three games in hand, respectively. But leading pair Belfast and Dundee Stars have both played one game more.