Togetherness is the key

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SHEFFIELD Steelers’ skipper Jonathan Phillips wants his team-mates to get closer together - literally.

The injured captain believes skaters are not being as supportive to the team-mate with the puck as they should be.

Phillips believes a slight mental change will solve the problem - and put Sheffield back on track after a wobble in form.

His side are currently five points behind leaders Belfast Giants in the Elite League, but have three games in hand and still have a chance of getting through to the Challenge Cup semi finals, despite back-to-back defeats against Nottingham Panthers.

Phillips said: “We are working hard on the puck, we just need to be a little bit smarter off it.

“Our decision-making has been a little bit off, we need to support players better. We need to make it easier for the guy with the puck, so he can make a five feet pass rather than a 15 feet one.”

Phillips, who hopes to return to training ice in three weeks after major knee surgery, admits that recent defeats to Panthers have been a body blow.

“Over the last two games it is fair to say they have been the better side but it is early in the season. We can learn from those games and come back stronger.”

Asked what the main difference was between the sides, Phillips replied: “About £3,500 a week? I don’t know, you hear rumours about how much teams are spending but we just have to think about getting it right ourselves.

“Every team has a bad patch and hopefully we have had ours. But on the other hand any team can beat any team in the this league, Edinburgh Capitals are betting better and if we don’t play well we will get beaten.”

Improving Capitals made it four wins from five games last weekend, beating Fife Flyers at home and Hull Stingrays away.

Edinburgh have only just ended a 39-game winless streak and are clearly now ready to try and make progress up the division.

They put seven past bottom side Fife, Richard Hartman scoring three times with Peter Holecko and Rene Jarolin both on target twice.