Sheffield Steelers: Harsh but fair - Robert Dowd on criticism of side from coach Aaron Fox
Robert Dowd says his Sheffield Steelers' team benefits from a sharp word from the coach when they lapse from the standards that have made them successful in their 14 victories out of 22 games, so far.
Coach Aaron Fox has previously said that the team can be its own worse enemy by occasionally playing cute hockey - something that can lead to negative results.
Dowd, who is Steelers' top goal scorer with 13 strikes, accepts the side had been guilty of "trying to make the flashy plays, instead of just the simple chip-in and get after teams.
"I think we have had a lot of success when we have kept it real simple, and we've just been chipping pucks and wearing teams down," he says.
"I thought that's where really we have gone from strength-to-strength where as at the start of the year when we were not having much luck I think we were playing a little too cute.
"It creeps back in our game every now and again; so a strong word from the coach to get us back on the right track always helps."
Steelers, without import forwards Michael Davies and Marco Vallerand, who are both out suspended, travel to Cardiff Devils on Saturday night.
The Sheffield winger, said Cardiff remained a "fantastic team," despite results which included 5-1 reverse at Fife Flyers last weekend.
"I think this year a lot of teams improved over the Summer and did some very good recruiting, ourselves are included in that,” Dowd said.
"I think the League this year is going to be a hard-fought battle."
Dowd declined to discuss the level of punishment meted out to team-mate Davies, who is will miss his third of six games because of the EIHL sanction.
"It is tough but you have got to serve your ban; he will be here every day with the boys and keeping spirits up" said Dowd, who will make his 580th Steelers' appearance on Saturday, in Wales.
"Obviously he (Davies) is a great player and he will be a big miss for us out there, in those six games."
Steelers look destined to miss Vallerand, in particular, in Cardiff.
The top overall points scorer netted a brilliant breakaway goal against Devils in their one earlier contest this season, a match shaded 3-2 by the Welsh team at Sheffield Arena.
That turned out to be the only game that Vallerand has played in this season in which he scored and his team went on to lose.
Meanwhile Cardiff, who won 4-2 at Dundee Stars on Sunday, lost Finnish forward Mathias Sointu earlier this week, he departed after his five-week contract with the Devils came to an end, returning home aiming for a spot on a team in a higher league.