I think it was Pinc’s attitude and character that gave him the edge when the final decision was made. I think Pinc was a man that Thompson and Hay would rather have in the trenches with them. Pinc now has to make the number one position his own, show that he can lead and deliver. Transfer deadline is ahead. It’s Pinc’s job to lose if you like. The Steelers though aren’t the Co-Op, aren’t the Friendly Society, the goaltending situation is critical and we are all rooting for Pinc to deliver.
We are at the half way stage of the season. No trophies won yet. Big decisions ahead. Interesting times in 2016 I think.
Whilst Thompson will be monitoring the goalie situation day by day his immediate attention will turn to the medical room especially with a three games in three nights schedule ahead of us this weekend.
Both Mathieu Roy and Colton Fretter, the clubs one-two punch are on the treatment table. Roy missed the game on the 27th after picking up an injury on Boxing Day. Fretter played 30 minutes of the 5-3 loss in Nottingham before requiring attention. We haven’t seen the best of Fretter this year. From day one he has played hard for us but also played hurt. Being stood next to him on Sunday as doctors and medical staff treated him I could almost see tears of frustration in his face. Fret’s is old school. He wants it bad, he wants to play and be at his best – right now the body isn’t allowing that. Fretter is a top bloke, a true pro and I’m confident he will come through and deliver before the year is out.
I don’t think Mathieu Roy has played a game for us in his two year spell here without injury either. The game he plays encourages the opposition to take lumps out of him. The ice pack is Mathieu’s best friend. Have you ever seen a Steeler ever receive the punishment he does whilst stood in front of the net, a hack, a whack, a cross check. Night after night he takes it all. For him to miss the 27th he must have been hurting because he goes through the pain every night he plays.
The medical team are nursing three or four others as well – on Sunday in Nottingham a Steelers player failed to take a pass – a supporter behind me shouted something less than complimentary in his direction. The player concerned could hardly hold his stick after taking a slash the night before, his hand swollen, he could hardly put his glove on. Yet there he was with his team hurt and short handed out there fighting for our club. One of the guys has one knee double the size of the other, another one has a black foot that can’t fit into the skate without treatment after blocking shots.
Now, how would you plan your weeks training knowing that, with three games in three nights looming. On and off ice management is key for the Thompson and the Steelers. Bodies need to mend.
Before deadline date I’m sure the club will try and add to their roster. Darrell Hay’s inclusion has been invaluable, so has the performances of Rod Sarich. With Roy out last Sunday Hay came in and Sarich moved up front. Having someone like Sarich that can be so effective either as a D man or forward is a plus and a great tool for Thompson. Sarich gets better with age, I think that year off re invigorated him. Re triggered his love for the game. We are now seeing the benefit of that.
A word on Boxing Day – the largest ever crowd at an Elite League game, over 9.000 inside the arena what a night, what an atmosphere and what a result.
I still believe after 25 years that the Sheffield Steelers are the best kept secret in Sheffield – if you were inside that arena on Boxing Day you couldn’t have been less than impressed with the whole event. The Steelers are sporting theatre. High’s – low’s – emotion throws every minute. It’s a roller costa ride every night but we love it.
9000 people don’t just turn up. Every day the front office of the Steelers graft as hard as Mosienko, Dowd and Nelson do on the ice. There isn’t a bottomless pit though to spend on promotion and advertising. The club has to work within its limitations, has to be creative where possible to grab that headline, to get that soundbite to promote its self. Hopefully after Boxing Day we had 9,000 sales men and women preaching the gospel of the Steelers ahead of this Saturdays game against Manchester at the arena (face off 7pm)
Happy New Year Steeler fans – remember the future is Orange and 2016 promises even more good times ahead.