Nowhere to hide as Finnerty threatens axe

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Sheffield Steelers coach Ryan Finnerty will be ruthless - if he feels he has to be - to rectify last Sunday’s embarrassing slump in form.

The nature of the 4-2 loss to Nottingham Panthers at Sheffield Arena was so comprehensive that it posed the question whether his team was really good enough to defend the Elite League title won last year.

Finnerty, in the aftermath, resisted questions about changes, saying no significant staffing alterations should ever be made on the basis of one result.

It is highly likely, however, that he is privately contacting agents to check on any available quality players. You could sense the player coach’s frustration even while the game was ongoing. He seemed to bench import Chad Huttel for more than one period, for instance.

Finnerty, however, will not speak about individuals.

On the general issue, he said: “This was a 100 per cent reality check. I am not the type of coach to baby players if they are not working hard. All I ask is that they come to the rink and work hard - if they do, positive things will happen.

“But against Nottingham, we had no momentum at all and we lost battles everywhere. There will be no hiding place for any player who does not work hard. Either they are in line or they are not.”

Finnerty suggested half of the team failed to put a decent shift in against Nottingham, who are now in second position behind leaders Belfast.

“That doesn’t mean we are going to make changes, but definitely our radar is always out there,” he said. “ We win as a team and lose as a team. There were so many negatives, but we have to pull together.”