Paul Thompson will get his first look at his old team Coventry Blaze this weekend...and believes they could give him something of a headache.
The Sheffield Steelers coach says Danny Stewart’s side has “totally upgraded” after falling short last year.
Thompson expects a highly competitive back-to-back series against the club he once guided to greatness.
“They are a very different team now compared to last year” he says. “They are playing with a little bit of edge like the old Coventry Blaze used to. They have skill and size, Danny has put a very good roster together.”
Blaze have had ups and downs in their pre-season so far, they lost to new Elite club Milton Keynes 4-3 but pipped them 5-4 24 hours later. They beat Manchester 4-3 on August 23 before losing 8-7 in overtime in Altrincham on Wednesday.
Steelers will look to Tim Wallace to unpick them at the Arena. He has been moved to centre, from right wing.
Thompson said: “I wanted Wallace on the puck more, making things happen and he did that at centre. He’s played both positions in the NHL, AHL and Sweden. He creates lots of chances, for people like Colton Fretter, who is on fire, scoring goals, playing well and healthy. Wallace can control a game and that’s where he will remain, now. It was always my intention to ease him in and give him games both on the wing and centre.”
n Blaze were under-strength at the Storm, in midweek, forwards Danick Paquette, Ross Venus and Adam Courchaine were all absent and the team were “down six regulars by the end of the game” according to Stewart.