SHEFFIELD Steelers new attack-minded defenceman Steve Birnstill hopes to bring a flavour of NHL legend Brian Leetch to the British game.
Birnstill has looked a quality signing for the champions - his forward movement from the blue line promises goals and assists aplenty this season. And the 25-year-old American aims to give a glimpse or two of the type of game he admired so much from Leetch, who played 18 seasons with New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Boston Bruins.
Birnstill said: “When I was growing up I liked watching Leetch, he’s one of the best to have played the game.
“He is the reason that I play the way that I do. I tried to be like him when I was a kid and while obviously I am nowhere as good
“I try and do some of the things that he could do.”
Birnstill says his game is built on pace and opportunity.
“I try to move the puck up to the forwards and move my feet as fast I can,” he said. “I am not a very big guy, I am not very physical. I am not a big hitter and I am not a fighter.
“But I can bring some offensive ability to the game so I just try and help out as much as I can.
“That has been my game for a few years I kind of move the puck, jump in and try to find an area” said the New Yorker.
“When you have got a guy like (Jeff) Legue on your right it’s pretty easy, if you give him the puck he is usually going to score.
“Try not to jump in too much, obviously. Against Steeldogs (4-3 win on Tuesday) it was a little bit different, but (generally) you have to try and not do too much. Finner (coach Ryan Finnerty) tells me to keep it simple and try to do that. He tells me do my thing but make sure I am smart.
“I try to stay back but if I get my chance to jump in I will and see if I can help score a few goals.”
Birnstill, man of the match in the iceSheffield win over Steeldogs, will lead the defensive corp tomorrow in Steelers’ home game against Dundee Stars at the Arena (7pm.)