Dave Simms' Sheffield Steelers column: Now is the time for inconsistent side to show what they are capable of

The Steelers are on the road this weekend with difficult games in Cardiff (Saturday) and Manchester (Sunday) this weekend.

By Dave Simms
Wednesday, 6th November 2019, 2:08 pm

Not the ideal games coming off a road loss in Guildford last week and especially not ideal having lost both Michael Davies (six games) and Marco Vallerand (one game) to suspensions.

You have to say that right now, despite being on the top of the table, the Steelers are throwing points down the drain.

Not because they are playing better sides, not that those sides have better players but because we are shooting ourselves in the foot.

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We are finding ways to lose games - games we should be winning.

Maybe that’s a result of having a new team with so many new players.

If the Steelers are serious about winning titles, or at the least qualifying for the Champions League, that has to stop because Cardiff and Belfast won’t be as daft.

They will find ways to win, not ways to lose.

There is no doubt that Aaron Fox has recruited a good team with good players but that team can’t win if we have players sitting in the press box or only playing for 40 out of the 60 minutes.

Harsh? I'm not so sure that anyone can really disagree.

It’s also not a knock, it's a general observation backed up by the stats of the games and the interviews post-game of both players and coaches.

I was looking forward to the trip to Cardiff on Saturday. They are the benchmark and who our sights should be set on.

With Davies and Vallerand in the team we match up well.

Now we drive down there still with a good side and a chance of victory, but also with one arm tied behind our backs.

Have DOPS done us over? Maybe. You can make an argument both ways, but we are now in November and we know what they are like. We know we can’t risks or push the boat out.

After Saturday we head to Manchester on Sunday, and a rink we have been beaten in twice already this year in the Challenge Cup.

Both games saw the now-departed Pavel Kantor between the pipes. It was perhaps those two performances that caused his demise.

Tomas Duba has been solid all year and he has a tough 120 minutes ahead of him this weekend.

Nothing would surprise you. We could go and win both games, bringing four points back to Sheffield.

It could also go the other way. That must be driving Aaron Fox around the bend that every night as he doesn’t know what he is going to see.

In life, consistency is something we all look for.

In hockey it is an essential.

The one thing the Steelers just have to do this weekend is play for 120 minutes. They just can’t switch off.

The crazy thing is that I’m rooting for them this time like I haven’t in a long time.

I like them, as people and as players. I think we do have guys that care but maybe not guys who have consistently been able to get the job done and get over the line.

I’ll be in Cardiff screaming my head off for them to give the coach a performance and play for 60.

The Devils are presently the best but I know we can compete against them.

You have already done it once this year and now is the time to do it again.