Sheffield Steelers: Update on Ben O'Connor and Marco Vallerand as casualty list grows
Ben O’Connor has joined the list of casualties at Sheffield Steelers, giving fresh cause for concern for boss Aaron Fox.
The offensive defenceman iced in the 2-3 loss to Nottingham Panthers on New Year's Day but was clearly feeling the effects of his injury, noticeably pulling out of one contest to chase down the puck.
"He is playing through some stuff at the moment," admitted Fox.
"He is giving us what he can at the moment. He is definitely not 100 per cent. He is one of those guys that doesn't like to sit out and watch hockey games.
"He tries to find a way. But you can tell he was bothered by it."
Marco Vallerand was an absentee from the line-up, although it was nothing to do with the concussion he has suffered recently.
"He is going through some lower body stuff that affected him (at Nottingham on New Year's Eve) he couldn't get through that game."
And in the home leg of the New Year series: "There really was no reason for us to risk it with so much hockey coming up. We don't want to lose him for a month here we are hoping to lose him only for days."
Steelers' defeat to Panthers at home dented an impressive series of victories.
They looked a weary bunch, on home ice.
Fox took some of the positives out of the loss, saying he was proud of the way his men fought back from 0-2 down to take the game to overtime.
He complimented Nottingham on their performances, too.
"We were short (in manpower) pretty much most of the third and when we weren't short we were all over them.
"We pushed back really hard there.
"It was good to find a way to get a point.
"Guys are stepping up, guys are playing injured."
The coach agreed his team had been running on empty recently.
"It has been a nice run here - I don't expect us to fall off a cliff or anything like that."
He said the second half of the recent Manchester away game had been disappointing, as had some of the win at Nottingham.
While Steelers were losing at home, at least they got one point more than Cardiff Devils, who lost 5-0 at home to Coventry Blaze.
They are now three points ahead of the Welsh, at the top of the EIHL table.