Keep cool boys - temper warning to Sheffield Steelers players at Nottingham Panthers
Jonathan Phillips says no member of the Steelers' squad will moan if their ice time is cut in the pursuit of winning games.
Sheffield’s fourth line has not seen a lot of action later on in games, recently, which means players have been left on the bench.
But Phillips - always an advocate of the ‘team-first’ philosophy - says getting maximum points is the only thing that matters to the Play Off champions.
Ahead of Saturday night’s first trip of the season to Nottingham Panthers in the Challenge Cup, coach Paul Thompson will have a new player in Andreas Jamtin available, as he hopes to generate greater competition for ice time, among his ranks.
Phillips said: “It’s about the team winning at the end of the day and I think that is one good thing about how our teams have always been.
“You have got to know your role. And you do whatever you can in your role for your team to win.”
Panthers v Steelers encounters remain one of the most volatile confrontations in the EIHL fixture list - but the captain cautions against indiscipline which can cost penalty minutes.
“I’d say the rivalry is as intense (as it’s ever been) but the way the game has changed now you can’t go and take penalties. That kind of love-to-hate relationship is still there, those kind of bragging rights - the boasting of which team is better is still there.
“At the end of the day, it is about winning games” said the veteran Welsh winger.
“With the game they way it’s gone now, you take penalties, you are going to lose that game, especially against a team like them.
“It showed in the past where we have tried to have a kind of ‘old school’ rivalry and it just doesn’t work. You are going to lose the game.”
Phillips feels his side has played some “great games” so far but recognises they have conceded goals in quick succession too easily.
“It is still early doors here and maybe it was just a bit of fatigue setting into our minds before we really got going.”
He said, however, there were games when their skill and speed had taken control of the match.
Phillips has been delighted by the form of Canadian Colton Fretter, who has so far found goals easier to come by compared to previous seasons.
The said the right winger had battled to get back from injuries, finished his educational requirements and had concentrated on hockey. We are definitely seeing the best of how Frets can play and you see how dynamic he is.”