Dave Simms column: Sheffield Steelers praying for no more injuries
Another week and another new face for the Steelers with confirmation that Marek Troncinsky will coming in, initially as injury cover for Aaron Johnson and Jonas Lewing.
Troncinsky arrives with a boatload of experience, almost 100 games in the KHL and 600 in the Czech Extraliga, a very good league where he was the most offensive defenseman a season-and-a-half ago.
Reports are very strong on our new arrival with the scouting feedback suggesting he will bring some grit and presence as well as an offensive upside.
The injury jinx has hit hard and Steelers owner Tony Smith had no choice but to dip his hand into the well once more for cover, as both Johnson and Lewing are expected to be out for six to eight weeks.
Troncinsky will arrive in time for the big game on Sunday against the Nottingham Panthers.
A win should cement a place in the quarter-finals of the cup for the Steelers, thus avoiding the dreaded play-off game for a position in the final stages of the competition against Coventry, Cardiff or Guildford.
Steelers go into Sunday’s game in good home form against the Panthers.
In the last five games against our nearest and dearest rivals Sheffield have won all five.
This includes the comeback victory a few weeks ago.
Steelers were 3-0 down at the end of the first period, tied 3-3 by the end of the second and 8-4 victors by the end.
Sunday will be another of the club’s 4pm face-offs.
The decision by the club to change their Sunday start times has been a huge success.
Time to get the kids home, bathed and to bed on a School night. Everyone’s a winner!
It looks like Tomas Duba will start this Sunday’s game.
At the beginning of the year we wondered if Duba or Kantor would take the majority of the games.
Duba’s form has been excellent recently and he seems to have edged Kantor out of the number position.
Kantor is a top quality goalie, so expect him to fight back and take advantage of a start when it comes shortly.
For now we have to ride Duba for as long as possible.
One massive positive for the Steelers has been the form of Eric Meland.
Signed from Austria late this summer as a utility player, Meland has become one of the team’s leading lights in terms of ice time and performances.
When he started the year on the wing he excited and contributed offensively.
With the injuries he has slotted back on to the blueline like a hand in a glove.
Right now, he is as about as valuable player as we have.
As much as I like seeing Meland on D, I can’t wait for the day when he returns up front and our six D are reunited together and injury-free.
We also then are able to play four lines and I think this team was built to play four lines.
That’s when we will see the strength of the entire unit. I hope for two wins this weekend but I pray for no more injuries.
Head coach Aaron Fox put the old unit of Vallerand, Connolly and Dowd back together last weekend.
The Steelers need to generate offence and this is a line that can certainly do that.
Those three have a history of damage against the Nottingham Panthers, so long may it continue this weekend.