Ruthless Sheffield Steelers will do ‘whatever it takes’
Sheffield Steelers will always be ruthless when it comes to their pursuit of championships - and players will pay with their jobs if the club falls short of that ambition.
Martin St. Pierre became the first - and hopefully the last - Steeler to have been released after inconsistent team form and results, this term.
His exit brought echos of last season when players came and went and there were three coaches at the helm over the campaign, in Paul Thompson, Mark Matheson and Tom Barrasso.
Aaron Fox re-designed the new-look roster in the summer, but felt he had to make a change when St. Pierre failed to be as creative for Steelers as he had been in the world's biggest leagues.
St. Pierre's release caused consternation in the Steelers' dressing room, even if some of the veterans are used to seeing such decisions taken before.
"It is always a shock," said forward John Armstrong, who carries affectionate memories of St. Pierre's work over the years in north America.
"He is a guy that I followed his career all the way through, he's played in the OHL, I watched him when I was young.
"He is a really good player, he played in the NHL, played in the KHL, it is surprising to see a guy like that go.
"But I understand it. I understand that this organisation needs to win and they will do whatever it takes to do that."
Armstrong does not know whether the decision was solely based on St. Pierre's form - or whether included in it was a management desire to to send a warning shot across the roster.
"Maybe it is a statement, I think the Steelers have always made it clear and the organisation and management has made it clear that mediocrity is not acceptable.
"We need to be one of the best teams in the league so you have got to expect them to make changes if you are not doing that."
Armstrong hopes Steelers' two losses last weekend will consigned to the past and they can beat Nottingham Panthers away and at home, Saturday and Sunday respectively.
This weekend's series were: "Huge games; that's the beautiful thing about this league you can't give up too many of regular season games, especially at home, so we had a couple of costly losses and we have to bounce back" said the centreman.