Davey Phillips hopes new Steelers era will put end to ‘selfishness’ which blighted last season
Davey Phillips hopes the newly-formed Sheffield Steelers' line-up will put an end to the 'selfishness' he suspects was part of last year's roster.
The Great Britain defenceman believes some skaters ignored the direction of then-coach Tom Barrasso in pursuit of bolstering their own statistics and marketability.
"It was a very disappointing season there has been a big change around in guys again," said Phillips, who turned 32 earlier this week.
"So far you can only go by what's on paper, but I think we have definitely upgraded from last season. Hopefully they are all going to pan out as good as we hope they are going to be."
The player said he hoped Steelers would be a sounder defensive unit admitting they "shipped in a lot of goals" in the previous campaign.
"Everybody could have probably done better, I thought we played a little bit too selfish - a little bit run-and-gun style," he commented.
"We were happy just trading chances really. I think people might have wanted to get their personal points...I don't know. We finished seventh place for a reason."
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Phillips said Barrasso did not want the team to play freewheeling, run-and-gun hockey: "The way he wanted us to play was definitely not that way.
"He really did his best to knock it out of us. He did his hardest but it might have just been in some people's natures to play like that."
This year's crop has to do better, he said.
"We definitely know we have to improve on last season; it was unacceptable and there is going to be no excuses this year."
Phillips said he admired the way new import Nikolai Lemtyugov had performed in training, ahead of this weekend's friendlies against HK Poprad.
"The Russian guy looks good. He is definitely going to be one to watch; you can tell he has played at a high level.
"He is good. I like the look of (Aaron) Brocklehurst, he skates really well and is going to be a good, smart player on the back end."