Sheffield Steelers’ teething problems will be solved

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Goalie Geoff Woolhouse says Steelers defensive corps are buying into with the team’s new defensive strategy.

Coaching staff have brought in a new blueprint for getting the puck away from dangerous areas. It’s not been a complete success so far, but that’s not for the want of trying, says the back-up netminder, currently out with damaged ankle ligaments.

Geoff Woolhouse - out injured, but has faith in defence

Geoff Woolhouse - out injured, but has faith in defence

“At the moment we’re struggling to come to grips with what Doug (coach Christiansen) wants but it’s a work in progress and we have extremely talented d-men and a good goalie so we will iron out the kinks.

“He is wanting to play a new system in the d-zone which I know a lot of the guys have not played before. But Doug believes it is going to work and the d-men have bought into it and it (defensive lapses) is something we are trying to rectify” Woolhouse said.

Woolhouse believes this year’s team has more skill if a little less physicality, compared with last year.

“I think we we have more creativity and a few more goal scorers this year. Last year we had more ‘corner players’ at times, they liked to get in the corner and be a bit more gritty - although that’s not to say this team isn’t. The (Tim) Spencer and (Jason) Hewitt line are willing to bang and crash as well so I think maybe we have a better balance this year.”

Steelers travel to Nottingham Panthers tonight, aiming for revenge at a recent 4-1 home defeat. Panthers have the most effective Power Play in the League (66% success rate) - twice Steelers’ average.

Tomorrow, they welcome Ryan Finnerty, Lee Esders and Chris Frank back to the Arena, with Braehead Clan. Their team’s form player of the moment is 6ft 4ins centreman Joël Champagne, who has five points in three games.

* Sheffield d-man Chad Langlais has been ruled out of action for three more weeks. He suffered an injury early in the season and it has not been healing at the rate we expected.

Chrsitiansen said: “Chad is a player we signed to make our powerplay better and increase our offensive production. We have missed him to date. However, I am pleased he does not need surgery. He will be working with our off-ice staff to get him on the ice as soon as possible.”