Sheffield Steelers centreman gives damning assessment of his EIHL 2021 series contribution

Matthew Myers massively underperformed in his 16 games with Steelers and rarely showed his true worth.

By Bob Westerdale
Monday, 10th May 2021, 11:01 am
Updated Monday, 10th May 2021, 12:01 pm
Hard-hitting:  Matt Myers about to throw a punch; pic Dean Woolley
Hard-hitting: Matt Myers about to throw a punch; pic Dean Woolley

That seems a brutal assessment of the Great Britain centreman's association with Sheffield in the EIHL 2021 series.

But it was made none other than the man himself - a player who is clearly his own worst critic.

Myers competed on Sheffield's partially-complete fourth line, for most of the tournament, as well as on special teams.

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It took him a while to get going and the majority of his displays were not an accurate portrayal of his abilities, he says.

"I thought I massively underperformed if I am honest for the first three quarters of the regular season" he said.

"I had a lot more to offer and I didn't do that.

"Me and Alex (Graham) were playing on the fourth line without another (regular) winger and that makes it very difficult.

Myers and team mates; pic Dean Woolley

"When Bally (Bálint Pákozdi) came in our line did start to get better, but it was such a short series that before we'd started to get better it was over."

Myers' form improved in the play off portion of the series.

"Play off games suit my style of hockey" he declared. "I am no good at these 6-1s, these 8-1s, I want the intense games where it's 2-1 3-2, where every mistake counts.

"That's where I play my best and in the semi finals and finals that's where I played my best hockey.

Matt Myers in action for Sheffield Pic: Mark Ferriss

"Overall was I happy? Not really.

"I just wish the season had been longer because I was getting better and better."

Myers underlined how not being on a stable line has a negative effect on any player's performance.

"Alex is a younger guy with all the skill in the world but the two of us together - with somebody coming in and out - meant we could never really get on the same page.

"You play less minutes like that. And the fact is that the more minutes you play the more you find your groove. Rather than fewer minutes with a mix-match with lines all the time. That doesn't help chemistry.

"When we had a stable line, me Bally and Alex, it was much better."

Myers, 36, added: "When I came in I wasn't planning on being the number one leading scorer.

"It's not all about points - it was about putting up performances night in and night out. And in the first three quarters, when I was on during goals-against all the time, it was hard work to get going. But at the back end I think I played my best hockey."

Myers won 106 face offs for Sheffield, losing 65 and ended the tournament with a -1 on the plus-minus statistics.

He scored one goal (against Coventry Blaze) and three assists.

Those assists came in the last five games, when his form was improving.

"One hundred per cent the fans did not see the real me" he stressed.

"We didn't see what I could offer Sheffield and can offer whoever I play for next season.

"I am in good shape and looking forward to playing next season. Whoever that is for, I am going to bring a lot more than I did in this series."

Myers, who is out of contract with his previous team Cardiff Devils, stated: "In fairness to Foxy (Steelers' coach Aaron Fox) I played regularly on special teams. That's one of the top parts of my game where I think I do excel.

"Winning faceoffs and on the power play or penalty kill; that is a strength of mine.

"I had said to Foxy: 'I am not expecting to be number one centre but I have got a skill set that can compliment all your top guys and on the special teams.'

"I really wanted to show that and I don't think I showed that as much as I could have."

On a positive note, Myers said he connected quickly with members of the Sheffield squad and enjoyed his time living in Gleadless.

"It was easy fitting in. I know I have been playing in Cardiff but I am not an outcast!

"This is professional sports at the end of the day everybody moves around. It was just like joining a new team and I really enjoyed it."

Myers said he had an enduring affection for both Cardiff and Nottingham Panthers, where he played for years.

But if he was offered a deal for 2021-22 at Sheffield: "I certainly wouldn't rule it out. During my exit meeting with Aaron, I said I'd like to keep in contact and see how things go. There needs to be something that works for them and me and my wife and if it does I will 100% consider the option.