It’s a question that’s perplexing every Sheffield Steelers fan, player and coach.
What exactly has gone wrong? The team won eight out of the first nine games of the season, but has now lost four out of their last nine.
Assistant coach Darrell Hay is a passionate as anybody in bringing to an end the recent inconsistency. “We were the top team in the league two to three weeks ago, what’s changed?” he ponders. “It’s us, we are giving up way too many chances, we are getting buried, but by the time we start digging ourselves out the hole, it’s too late”
The antidote is to go back to the basics which brought them success at the start of the term: “Being short and quick and winning races and battles which we haven’t done over the last couple of weeks.”
Hay says breakdowns happen too frequently when Steelers are on the attack. “We get in troubles by trying to do too much. We have to simplify, get pucks to the net, find second and third chances. You are not going to create a beautiful goal every time and you sometimes have to get those garbage-type goals, get those second and third shots when they are in the crease and pick up a rebound and battle.
“Every time (against Nottingham Panthers, Sun) we broke down defensively, they had an open guy and there was a glorious chance and they put it in the back of the net.” As for conceding, that’s a team issue, he says. “People will say, because you are giving up goals, it’s the defencemen’s fault. We subscribe to the theory that it’s the group effort.”