Sheffield Steelers: Nottingham defeat 'won't end good feeling at Arena'

Sheffield Steelers' Russian signing Nikolai Lemtyugov isn't about to let Sunday's defeat at Nottingham Panthers bring down the high-spirits at his club.

Wednesday, 4th September 2019, 11:22 am
Updated Wednesday, 4th September 2019, 6:25 pm
Nikolai Lemtyugov

The 33-year-old winger says it is vital that positivity remains coursing through the dressing room and they shrug off the effects of set-backs.

Lemtyugov is not your every-day Steelers character, the club's first Russian has an off-beat and amusing personality.

He likened arriving for his first spell at an EIHL club as opening the door to Narnia, CS Lewis' fantasy world of magic and myth.

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After playing in three pre-season games and two in the Challenge Cup, the forward says: "We have great guys, great team. Many funny guys, I like fun.

"It doesn't matter if you lose or win, just being in positive to the locker room.

"If you lose and come in so sad, you go down more and more."

Lemtyugov, who line up against Coventry Blaze on Saturday in League curtain-raiser, played in South Korea and Zagreb last year.

The East Asia episode was an eye-opener for him: "Korea is a very good country.

"We live now in 2019 - they live in 2030, I think! They are next level."

Zagreb though had been a "bad situation" because of money problems at the club, he said.

Before that he had suffered a serious spleen injury playing for Avangard Omsk, in Siberia.

Lemtyugov described the medical emergency that followed as: "50-50 in life."

But that drama is well behind him now as he gets used to a "new country and new rules" - including driving on left side of the road.

"Many guys in other teams in Russia now they call me; 'Hey how was it - we come or maybe just stay?' His reply was that he likes it in the UK, especially now his wife and two sons had arrived.

Robert Dowd wasn't seeking to hide his disappointment after Steelers fell at their first road-game hurdle.

After beating Panthers, at home 8-4 on Saturday, they collapsed in the return Challenge Cup leg, going down 5-1.

"It was a reality check," admitted the Great Britain winger.

"They played well, had tightened up defensively after Saturday night, and this is a loss we have to take in the Cup.

"We didn't create as many chances...we weren't firing on all cylinders."

The only positive was that the scale of the loss was a reminder not to get too ahead of themselves, said Dowd.