Sheffield Steelers owner calls meeting with coaches after recent drop in form

Steelers' owner Tony Smith was holding talks with his coaching staff today (TUESDAY) to tackle a slide in form that has seen Sheffield lose five out of six games and tumble into third place.
Steelers' dressing room - criticism from the ownerSteelers' dressing room - criticism from the owner
Steelers' dressing room - criticism from the owner

The club proprietor was particularly upset with the way his players performed in the 3-5 loss at Belfast Giants on Friday.

And he is calling on them to "step up" and "stop taking nights off."

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Smith admitted: "I didn't see us going down to Belfast in the way we did, I thought we'd get something more than a point out of that weekend.

"I have got my coaches in today to discuss the recent losses. I need some answers because the fans are wanting some answers over why we are dropping points along the way. Everybody is accountable in this business and we have come off the plan."

Firepower over recent games was on the agenda, he said. Daniel Ciampini hasn't found the net in the last seven games, although he is the club's top points scorer has the best plus-minus for an attacking player, and is joint seventh across the Elite League. Martin Latal has one in nine, Brett Neumann and Danny Kristo have one in six. Sheffield's top league goal scorer Scott Allen has one in four.

"Scoring has dried up a bit and we rely on these guys, it's what they get paid for, to put the puck in the net and they are not doing it," said Smith. "It is as simple as that and we need to find out why. Is it the fact we are moving lines around to try and find the best formation? I genuinely don't know."

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Smith's ire focussed largely on the first-weekend performance in Northern Ireland."I didn't think we turned up to the races on Friday night. I was hugely disappointed with that Friday night performance. I thought we rolled over, a bit.

"We were second into the corners, second to the puck, we didn't have that fighting spirit whereas the following night it was an old fashioned game of hockey and we were a proper gritty Steelers' team giving nothing away.

"I don't know where the problem is or how we fix it right now but we are sitting down to talk it through.

"I don't think we have a bunch of prima donnas like at some football clubs, but it upset me when I don't think they are turning up and giving 100 percent.

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"The players need to understand you cannot take a night off - not at this club anyway. You really can't. There are no restrictions on the coaches, we give them everything. This club is a great place to be."They and the players don't want for anything. Now we need to be demanding 110 percent every night, no second best."Smith said there were "one or two fans who should give their heads a wobble" after remarks on social media. Posting 'Aaron Fox out' is a ridiculous statement" said the owner. "You always get some idiots who want to push against the tide, but overall I am not disappointed where the club is, we just need to be better in the league. Some of the comments after Friday, though, I couldn't disagree with, to be honest. We need to be the best and at the moment we are not quite there."