NEIL CLARK looks set to sit out another game as Sheffield Steelers turn out tonight at Coventry Blaze - but his team-mates won’t forget him.
Clark is clearly considered the most expendable import in a group which carries one more than the Elite League quota. Coach Ryan Finnerty said Clark would “most likely” be dropped tonight, again, but he’d consider the position afresh for the two other weekend games, at Fife Flyers and Edinburgh Capitals.
Team-mates admit its hard to find the right words to say to the Canadian forward.
Colt King, who could be said to be holding down the wing slot Clark would most favour on the top line, said: “We all feel for him. Absolutely. Everybody has been in this situation. I have sat out games where I have been healthy enough to play. If you get that chance to get back in the line up you have to be ready for it.
“It is unfortunate but he has taken it in his stride, he shows up for practice every day and is working out off the ice.
“It is great to see him not going into a shell and moping. He understands but it is a tough spot for anyone. You definitely want to help and contribute.
“I wish we could have him in our line-up because he is an effective player. But we have such a talented group...”
Team-mate Matt Stephenson agreed: “I’ve been in that position too; it’s not fun. He has been awesome though, I can’t say how classy he has been. He comes in with a smile and the guys want him in our room. Others might have had a terrible attitude, but he’s been positive and helps where he can.”
Meanwhile, Sheffield tonight want to replicate the last two periods of effort shown during last weekend’s Coventry home win. But a win away won’t be easy, says Stephenson.
“They are well coached and their players stick to the system,” he said. “Coventry will be ready this time. They have got guys who can do some damage and their goalie makes some unreal saves.”
Coach Finnerty added: “We have done well in our rivalry with Coventry so far, we seem to be one of their bogey teams like Nottingham have been ours. They were tired last time, after a busy schedule, but this will be different.”